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What Does It Take To Perform The “Waldstein” Piano Sonata?

February 23, 2009

Alexander Panku performs Ludwig van Beethoven’, Sonata op. 53 in C major “Waldstein.” The “Waldstein” is one of the masterpieces among Beethoven’s Sonatas and in the piano repertoire in general.

In his words, “I have been playing this piece many times in concert and it is always a great challenge to recreate it; it is also a source of musical satisfaction and fulfillment. I would like to say a few things about the challenges of performing this piece.”

“This is a work that is intended for the accomplished pianist and musician. It requires, overall a complete mastery of the piano, and a high level of musicianship, and a comprehensive knowledge of Beethoven’s music and style. In order to analyze and attempt to explain this music in detail requires a very long essay if not a whole book.”

“1st. Movement: What I can say in a short essay is that the pianist needs a very high technical ability to handle all kinds of technical problems such as fast passages, repeated patterns, broken chords, mastery of the pedal and of various dynamics, just to name a few. Scale and arpeggio passages can be found throughout the movement.”

“Other technical problems are: the staccato broken octaves, the left hand prolonged repetitive accompaniment patterns, the broken chords in contrary motion from the development section, and the fast runs cadenza-like from the coda among others.”

“The technique required here involves a total finger control, speed, accuracy and equality, a very flexible wrist and a relaxed arm. In addition, as any experienced performer knows, the pianist has to listen very closely and be very sensitive to the many different sonorities and touches needed to perform this movement in a valid, convincing way.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2009 6:16 pm

    This is one of my favorite pieces. Of course I have only played it for myself and never in a concert setting. I am looking forward to reading more.

  2. April 13, 2011 5:04 pm

    Real brain power on display. Thanks for that answer!

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