Beethoven's Appassionata

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Every time I hear it, its prescience practically knocks me down. It doesn't matter if you're listening to Arrau or Ashkenazy or De La Rocha or whoever doin' it - even the most conservative approach to the Appassionata reveals melodic phrasings that're fifty years ahead of themselves, rich with jazz and pop flourishes but not in way that the folk-classical movement that came later would incorporate known melodies: these are more outgrowths of the recognizable lyricism within the composition, natural consequences of B's shepherding of the general transition from form-as-expression to expression-within-form. An unbelievable piece of music that has not aged even a minute; listening, I feel as though the world is still catching up to this one.

Banana Nutrament (ghostface), Sunday, 17 July 2005 16:27 (fourteen years ago) link

it is especially potent early in the morning because the more intense moments demand focus that your just-getting-up brain can't quite muster, and so you feel like you're listening to speed metal even though the tempo's moderato

Banana Nutrament (ghostface), Sunday, 17 July 2005 16:29 (fourteen years ago) link


The Ghost of Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, 18 July 2005 02:52 (fourteen years ago) link

Thanks for reminding me of this one. I need to pull out my Rubinstein version this evening.

o. nate (onate), Monday, 18 July 2005 13:52 (fourteen years ago) link

Legend has it that it was Lenin's favorite piece of music.

Jena (JenaP), Monday, 18 July 2005 14:00 (fourteen years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

Second movement is the best thing Beethoven ever did. It's his Your Silent Face.

Zelda Zonk, Saturday, 29 June 2019 13:42 (four months ago) link

def my favorite of his piano sonatas

Josefa, Saturday, 29 June 2019 15:11 (four months ago) link

not got anything interesting to add other than agreement.

calzino, Saturday, 29 June 2019 16:00 (four months ago) link

I hope I'm alive for a future that still involves physical media and me not, embarrassingly, putting away a classical composer record sleeve due to embarrassment from having some other schmuck decide the best way to advertise his virutoso in recreation is to also show you his face.

The general consensus with any record sleeves for Wagner is that Deutschland ist depicted, which is fine with me and everyone else in the room.

57mg/20floz, Saturday, 29 June 2019 16:42 (four months ago) link

is there a consensus on the best version of this?

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 1 July 2019 01:14 (four months ago) link

Gilels and Arrau are pretty lauded. People argue about which Gilels but the late Deutsche Grammofon one is well-regarded.

Quilter Ray (rushomancy), Monday, 1 July 2019 01:48 (four months ago) link

The Waldstein and Appassionata make natural siblings, both big formally explosive mid period masterpieces, but for me the Apps is far more performer-dependent - I have a hard time engaging with it unless the performance is absolutely stunning. The Waldstein has a magic which almost never fails and is the greater and more unfathomable piece imo.

Appassionatas that nail it for me: Richter, Moravec, Arrau, Claude Frank, Ronald Brautigam.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Friday, 5 July 2019 03:01 (four months ago) link

the Apps is far more performer-dependent


I'm especially fond of Stephen Kovacevich's take.

pomenitul, Friday, 5 July 2019 09:24 (four months ago) link

The EMI kovacevich? I like his Waldstein from that series but I can’t remember the appassionata

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Friday, 5 July 2019 14:06 (four months ago) link

Yep. I think he only recorded the Appassionata for EMI.

I haven't heard it in a long time but I seem to recall him getting Beethoven's controlled impetuousness just right.

pomenitul, Friday, 5 July 2019 14:11 (four months ago) link

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