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Beethoven and the Piano. Harpsichord and Clavichord --forerunners of the piano The fortepiano Beethoven’s playing A look at several early works for piano. Clavichord. Beethoven as a Pianist. Carl Czerny: “He was the greatest sight-reader of his day, even of orchestral scores.”

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beethoven and the piano

Beethoven and the Piano

Harpsichord and Clavichord --forerunners of the piano

The fortepiano

Beethoven’s playing

A look at several early works for piano

beethoven as a pianist
Beethoven as a Pianist
  • Carl Czerny: “He was the greatest sight-reader of his day, even of orchestral scores.”
  • Early in his career (1791): “Because he had not yet heard any great or celebrated pianists, Beethoven knew nothing of the finer nuances of handling the instrument; his playing was rough and hard” (Wegeler)
  • On improvisation: “His style of treating his instrument is so different from that usually adopted, that it impresses one with the idea that by a path of his own discovery he has attained that height of excellence whereon he now stands” (Junker)
slide21

“Ah, he is no man, he is a devil. He will play me and all of us to death. And how he improvises!” (Gelinek, in comparing Beethoven’s playing to his own)But Beethoven’s playing was also described as “rough” (Cherubini, 1805) and “not polished, and frequently impetuous, like himself, yet always full of spirit” (Clementi, 1807)But Beethoven, on Mozart’s playing: “He had a fine but choppy way of playing. no ligato.”

some terms
Some terms…
  • Sonata—a work for solo piano, or solo instrument with piano accompaniment
  • Movement—a self-contained section of a larger work (e.g., sonata or symphony). Sonatas usually have three movements—Fast Slow Fast
  • Sonata form
  • Rondo form—Musical form with a refrain. E.g., ABACABA
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Sonata in C Minor, Op. 13 (1797-1801)dedicated to Prince LichnowskyGrave—Allegro di molto e con brio Adagio cantabile Rondo: Allegro

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Sonata in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27 No. 2 (1801)dedicated to Countess Guilietta GuicciardiAdagio Sostenuto Allegretto Presto agitato