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David Royko Psy.D

Beethoven - Very Minor Musings about his Piano Sonatas

I’ve been listening, via Metra and very large headphones, to Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas for the second time this month (pianist Andras Schiff), probably the first time in 25 years, since back when I got to know them. I don’t know if they sound any different to me as a 50something compared to my 20something self, but many movements catch me a little off guard.

Case in point - the largo slow movement from his early 3rd sonata (Op.2, #3). It’s easy (at least for me) to forget how great, and just plain beautiful and moving, Beethoven could be even in his first published works.

At the same time, and depressingly, it seems that Beethoven's receding into the realm of names people know are "the best," but have never actually explored. How many people have actually heard anything of Beethoven's except things that advertisers use in commercials?

What I hadn't been aware of until now is how, over the past couple of decades, Daniel Barenboim seems to have become the Herbert von Karajan of Beethoven sonata sets. (How many official Beethoven cycles have been released of Karajan's? More than Barenboim Beethoven sonata cycles?)

April, 2015