Becoming Liszt’s student: three Piano Sonatas by Beethoven

Volume VII of the A Tempo Project approaches the subject of tempo from a new angle. Following in the footsteps of the great Beethoven interpreter Franz Liszt, I present three Piano Sonatas by Beethoven. My renditions are inspired by instructions that Liszt gave in his masterclasses in Weimar in the 1880s. These masterclasses are well documented. It feels like joining the circle of Liszt’s students, as it were, through their very own eyes and ears! The interpretation thus follows neither a metronome number nor a documented duration, but takes purely musical aspects into account.

The center piece of Beethoven A Tempo III is the famous Moonlight Sonata in C-sharp minor. Liszt’s rendition of the piece was legendary in the 19th century. His pupil August Stradal hands down an astonishingly accurate account of what Liszt did in the spherical first movement, and also provides valuable information on the interpretation of the two following movements.

The equally famous Grande Sonate Pathétique in C minor is a wonderful example of how general musical aspects gleaned from the lore of Liszt’s Beethoven playing, can be applied to an actual interpretation.

Finally, in the Sonata Opus 90, it is a single and seemingly small cue that puts the tempo in a new light. This cue is the trigger for my entire interpretation of the lovely second movement.  Learn more on this in my introduction to the recording!

The three sonatas plus the German and English introduction are now published on my YouTube channel.

Playlist on YouTube