This is already the sixth part of the A Tempo Project, and it is all about one of the most famous works within the field of tempo research: Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Grosse Sonate für das Hammerklavier” in B flat major Opus 106. It is the only piano work by Beethoven for which Beethoven indicated metronome markings. These metronome markings were already in doubt in the 19th century. It is all the more significant that one of the most distinguished interpreters of the 19th century, Franz Liszt, gave an indication of the duration of the work in his own hand: “presqu’une heure” – almost an hour. That is more than twenty minutes (!) more than the duration resulting from Beethoven’s own metronome markings.
I wanted to explore this mystery, and I wanted to work out an interpretation that would reach Liszt’s duration. As a result, I studied the Sonata – in many ways one of the most complex works of the entire 19th century – for many years.
I am grateful to be able to present the recording now. We recorded the sonata at the Tonhalle St. Gallen, and I was able to use a very special grand piano for it: A Bechstein concert grand from 1921, which was once built especially for the pianist Wilhelm Backhaus. The instrument is completely original and still represents the sound that Franz Liszt already knew and loved in his time. Thus, the recording is a tribute to Franz Liszt in sound and interpretation.
As always, the recording is accompanied by a German and English introduction. All my videos are available on my YouTube channel.
Link to the main film
Link to the German introduction
Link to the English introduction