Beethoven’s piano sonatas form one of the most important collections of works in the history of music. In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth, Gusztáv Fenyő is performing complete cycles of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in Scotland and Hungary, beginning in May 2019.
The young Beethoven took Vienna by storm as a virtuoso pianist, with astonishing improvisational skills, when he arrived at the end of 1792 to study with Joseph Haydn. Although he had been composing from an early age, his first published piano sonatas date from 1795, his last in 1822: significantly, the piano sonata was seldom far from his thoughts. Thus, more than any other genre of his output, the piano sonatas provide an almost complete view of the evolving nature of Beethoven’s creative life and take us deep into the boundless imagination, searching spirit and humanity of this towering genius.
Additionally, as Charles Rosen writes in Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, A Short Companion: ‘The pianistic repertoire supplied by the Beethoven sonatas was one of the principal causes of the shift of the balance of music-making from the private house to the public hall.’
While the sonatas are now standard fare in public recital programmes, the opportunity to re-visit the works within the framework of a complete cycle offers an added dimension of appreciation for listeners and performer alike.
Full details of Gusztáv Fenyő’s Beethoven 2019/2020 cycles can be found here.