Ludwig van Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Volume VI

András Schiff

Andras Schiff’s landmark Beethoven cycle, recorded live in Zürich’s Tonhalle, now reaches its sixth volume with music written between 1804 and 1810, including the celebrated “Appassionata” op. 57 is preceded by the F-major Sonata Op. 54 whose mood is, as Schifff notes, partly song-like, party heavily accented. The Op 78 Sonata takes us into a very lyrical as well as a capriciously playful world. The sonata Op.79 is incisive and extrovert and the “Les Adieux” Sonata “presents us with a wonderful portrayal of a spiritual state between farewell, absence and joyful reunion.”

Featured Artists Recorded

April 2006, Tonhalle Zürich

  • Sonata No. 22 F major op. 54
    (Ludwig van Beethoven)
  • 1In Tempo d'un Menuetto05:48
  • 2Allegretto07:07
  • Sonata No. 23 f minor op. 57 “Appassionata”
    (Ludwig van Beethoven)
  • 3Allegro assai10:28
  • 4Andante con moto06:38
  • 5Allegro ma non troppo08:51
  • Sonata No. 24 F-sharp major op. 78 “à Thérèse”
    (Ludwig van Beethoven)
  • 6Adagio cantabile - Allegro ma non troppo07:35
  • 7Allegro vivace03:08
  • Sonata No. 25 G major op. 79
    (Ludwig van Beethoven)
  • 8Presto alla tedesca04:57
  • 9Andante02:49
  • 10Vivace02:03
  • Sonata No. 26 E-flat major op. 81a “Les Adieux”
    (Ludwig van Beethoven)
  • 11Das Lebewohl. Adagio - Allegro07:19
  • 12Abwesenheit. Andante espressivo03:24
  • 13Das Wiedersehen. Vivacissimamente06:08
András Schiff’s Beethoven cycle, recorded live in chronological order at Tonhalle Zurich, continues to collect critical praise as it moves forward to the later “middle” period. Lorenzo Arruga, writing in Italy’s Il Giornale on Volume V (including the three sonatas Op. 31 and the “Waldstein”) billed it as “sublime and revelatory”, while Philip Clark (Classic FM Magazine) spoke of a rendering that “isn’t for the faint-hearted who like their Beethoven all cosy and neat”, particularly admiring “bold brushstrokes” and “vivid inner details”.

Egon Bezold in Klassik.com pointed at the “extraordinary representation of the overall architecture and expressive variety”, and Gramophone’s Jed Distler highlighted the “remarkable timbral distinctions, fastidious execution of turns and other ornaments, plus painstakingly differentiated accents, articulation marks and dynamics.” Michael Stenger commented in FonoForum: “Schiff achieves clarity and yet a magic of atmospheres which is far away from the tedious pseudo-objectivity many performers offer here. There is great explosiveness but still warm contemplation in the slow movements…Exemplary!” A much more general point was made by Carl Rosman in the International Record Revue: “There is in any case no other pianist on the major recording scene currently bringing such a new and refreshing perspective to these pillars of the repertoire.”

Volume VI, including sonatas from the period between 1804 and 1810, offers some of the most famous and widely-known works together with an astonishing variety of forms and concepts, a constellation which, once again, highlights the attractiveness of Schiff’s chronological approach: “It provides evidence of a progressive journey which comes to a temporary halt with the completion of the ‘Appassionata’ in 1805, before continuing again some four years later with the F-sharp major Sonata Op. 78. But Beethoven varies the design of these five sonatas in a wholly adventurous way. The ‘Appassionata’ is preceded by the two-movement F-major Sonata Op. 54, whose mood is partly song-like, and partly heavily accented. The Op. 78 Sonata takes us into a very lyrical as well as capriciously playful world. On the other hand, the next sonata, Op. 79, whose first movement is headed ‘alla tedesca’, is generally incisive and extrovert; and finally the ‘Les Adieux’-Sonata presents us with a wonderful portrayal of a spiritual state between farewell, absence and joyful reunion.”

Increased media attention is to be expected when Schiff’s Beethoven cycle on ECM New Series reaches the composer’s venerable late works this autumn. It will be completed with two separate volumes on single-CDs containing the sonatas opp. 90, 101 and 106 and opp. 109 to 111 respectively. Future Schiff-releases on ECM will include a new live recording of Bach’s complete Partitas. In 2008, Schiff will perform selected Beethoven-programmes in the US (in April and October), in England, Switzerland and Germany.

YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2023 December 06 tba Lugano, Switzerland
2023 December 08 tba Genf, Switzerland
2023 December 10 Casino Bern, Switzerland
2023 December 13 Salzburger Marionettentheater Salzburg, Austria
2023 December 15 BASF Feierabendhaus Ludwigshafen, Germany
2023 December 17 Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, Germany
2023 December 21 Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, Germany
2023 December 23 Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, Germany
2023 December 26 Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, Germany
2023 December 28 Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, Germany
2023 December 30 Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, Germany
2024 January 02 Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, Germany
2024 January 06 Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, Germany
2024 January 10 Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Germany
2024 February 01 deSingel Antwerp, Belgium
2024 February 17 Kulturpalast Dresden, Germany
2024 February 20 Isarphilharmonie Munich, Germany
2024 February 21 Liederhalle Stuttgart, Germany
2024 February 23 deSingel Antwerp, Belgium
2024 February 25 Konzerthaus Dortmund, Germany
2024 March 17 Isarphilharmonie Munich, Germany