September 08, 2004

More Musical Thoughts

Last evening I was able to take some time to play some of my favorite Haydn piano sonatas. This afternoon, as I'm putting together some document request letters, I'm listening to Alfred Brendel playing Beethoven's early sonatas, Opus 2, Nos. 1-3, written when he was quite young and dedicated to Haydn.

The link between Haydn and Beethoven's musical ideas is perfectly obvious to my ear but almost impossible for me to explain. That is the most aggravating part about never having seriously studied theory - by not practicing the academic analysis of music I have not developed the vocabulary necessary to talk about it intelligently.

If you want an extremely intelligent discussion of classical theory (by "classical" I mean the works of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven), may I suggest the writings of Charles Rosen. Rosen has the ability to explain these things even to slacker dilettantes like me. Unfortunately, while I can follow along perfectly well as long as I'm reading, I lose it as soon as I put the book down.

Posted by Robert at September 8, 2004 04:59 PM | TrackBack

Brendel's not my favorite Beethoven interpreter (I disagree with his tempo choices a lot, and although no one can thunder like he can, I don't think he lightens up when he needs to)...but his work on Sonatas 1-3 is very fine indeed. (None of the foregoing, BTW, dampens my enthusiasm at the prospect of seeing him perform when he comes to Madison next spring.)

Posted by: Chan S. at September 9, 2004 01:22 PM

As a matter of fact, I haven't listened to this CD in several years. I sight-read Nos. 2 and 3 and prefer to do some things a bit differently than Brendel. (Or at least I TRY to, anyway.)

Still, I'm jealous that you get to see him in concert.

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at September 9, 2004 01:40 PM
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