Friday, June 12, 2015

Compare and contrast

One of the wonderful things about the modern Internet is the rich library of recorded music that is easily available.

I spent several fine hours this week listening to as many different performances of Beethoven op 57 as I could find.

And there are a lot of them out there to find!

  • Daniel Barenboim
  • Jonathan Biss
  • Arthur Rubenstein
  • Vladimir Horowitz
  • Claudio Arrau
  • Alfred Brendel
  • And on and on and on...

I was inspired to do this by listening to Biss's wonderful lecture series on Beethoven's piano sonatas; Mr. Biss has just released a new set of lectures including one on the 23rd sonata.

This, frankly, wasn't one of my most-loved sonatas the first few times I listened to it.

But Biss motivated me to spend more time with it, and to seek out different interpretations.

And being able to hear so many different performances, in such a short period of time, is a truly wonderful way to appreciate the richness of the work and the astonishing amount of depth and detail that each performer and each performance is able to find within it.

Even the same pianist reacts to the work differently over time. For example, there are several Barenboim recordings easily available, over a span of 30-plus years, from when Barenboim was still young and just emerging onto the world scene, through recent performances when he had a lifetime of experiences and reflections to draw on.

It's really a joy to live in such times, to have such things available.

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