IMF Kutná Hora 2017

Sunday, June 7 / 4:30 p.m. / Church of St. John Nepomucene


The Birth of a Genius


The complete 32 Piano Sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) – Programme II.

Op. 10 Nr. 1, Op. 10 Nr. 2, Op. 10 Nr. 3 Op. 22

Read more

Regardless of the two-and-a-half century that will have elapsed later this year, in December, from the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, his music sounds very much as if it was written a couple of days ago. The essential instrument to him was the piano. This is amply evidenced by his output of five concertos for piano and orchestra, dozens of chamber compositions with piano and, apart from a plethora of variations, bagatelles and smaller-scale pieces, above all his thirty-two sonatas for the instrument. They will be presented here in their completeness, offering the audience a listening experience tracing the fascinating journey from early works by Haydn´s young, ambitious pupil, all the way to products of the final years in the life of a composer deprived of hearing. No two of these sonatas resemble each other. In their sum, they encompass the full scale of human emotions. Attached to the titles of some of them are attributes relating to their character or inspirational impulse: Pathétique, Les Adieux, The Tempest, and the like.

Beethoven was himself one of the most brilliant virtuoso pianists of his time. So long as he was able to, he performed his works, manifesting improvisational skills that were deemed peerless by his contemporaries. Beyond all this, he deserves a similarly high merit for influencing the development of piano as an instrument: he kept abreast of all the innovations introduced by leading makers, and took due account of newly invented features in his own compositions. He took advantage of the full range of the keyboard, getting as close as possible to the magnificence of the orchestral sound.

A listener doesn´t need to be formally trained in music to appreciate with the utmost immediacy the communicative power of Beethoven´s music. You are welcome here to fall under the spell of of music by one of the most passionate composers, in the brilliant interpretation of Konstantin Lifschitz.

Like the early Opus 2, so the trio of sonatas making up Opus 10 contains pieces that are mutually thoroughly disparate, setting in stark contrast moods of fiery passion, plain good cheer, and sheer musical brilliance. Here Beethoven reaches up to a new milestone, for the first time signalling to his contemporaries his standing as an innovator. In the Sonata in C minor, prefiguring the “Pathétique” in the same key, one will detect in its seminal shape the motif of “Fate” from Symphony No. 5. The following Sonata in F major is its exact opposite, ushering in a spirit of genial, insouciant music. The third number of the series, Sonata in D major, poses the greatest demands on the pianist, its first subject soaring up over two octaves. In its turn, Sonata in B flat major, Op. 22 will carry us further in time, beyond the year 1800, letting us into the world of a composer who had just introduced to the public his first symphony. Hence also the presence here of echoes of orchestral sound.

sleeve-note: Dita Hradecká / translation: Ivan Vomáčka

Complete 32 Piano Sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)

Konstantin Lifschitz – piano

Church of St. John Nepomucene, 4:30 p.m.

BEETHOVEN IIn Haydn´s Footsteps / Saturday, June 6

Sonatas Opp. 2 & 7


BEETHOVEN IIThe Birth of a Genius / Sunday, June 7

Sonatas Opp. 10 & 22


BEETHOVEN III / Pathétique / Monday, June 8

Sonatas Opp. 13, 14 & 49


BEETHOVEN IV  / Moonlight / Tuesday, June 9

Sonatas Opp. 26, 27 & 28


BEETHOVEN VTempest / Wednesday, June 10

Sonatas Opp. 53 & 31

BEETHOVEN VI / Appassionata / Thursday, June 11

Sonatas Opp. 54, 57, 78, 79 & 81a


BEETHOVEN VII / Monument / Friday, June 12

Sonatas Opp. 90, 101 & 106


BEETHOVEN VIIITowards New Shores / Saturday, June 13

Sonatas Opp. 109, 110 & 111