András Schiff is continuing his piano cycle “Last Sonatas”. This evening is centred on those works that were composed before the “opus ultimum”: Joseph Haydn’s heartfelt and intimate Sonata No. 61, Beethoven’s A-flat major sonata op. 110, alternating between sorrow and ecstasy, Mozart’s Sonata KV 570, combining polyphonic compositional elements and improvisatory joy, and Franz Schubert’s A major sonata, which suggests the inspired Lieder composer at many junctures.
Piano Sonata No. 17 in B flat major K. 570
Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major op. 110
Piano Sonata No. 61 in D major Hob. XVI:51
Piano Sonata in A major D 959
Introduction: 7:00 pm
András Schiff is considered a sensitive interpreter of the piano music of the Viennese classical period. His Last Sonatas cycle combines in three programmes the last piano sonatas by Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. This evening is centred on those works that were composed before the “opus ultimum”: Sonata No. 61 is the middle of the three so-called “English Sonatas” that Joseph Haydn wrote making the most of the Broadwood fortepiano’s new sound possibilities. To this date, it has not been clarified to whom he dedicated this intimate two-movement work. Possibly to his pupil and mistress Rebecca Schröter?
The A-flat major Sonata op. 110 is considered an autobiographical confession on Beethoven’s part: he was convalescing from severe illness, and its mood alternates between contemplative sorrow, rustic coarseness and religious ecstasy. In contrast, we know nothing about the origin of Mozart’s Sonata K. 570, which begins with a swaying unisono theme. Like Beethoven, Mozart too combines in his late piano sonatas polyphonic compositional elements and improvisatory joy in the most stunning of ways. Franz Schubert’s A major Sonata D 959 is a unique mixture of dramatic gesture, cantabile intimacy and impish playfulness. The melodic structure of the themes, particularly of the final rondo, suggests the inspired lieder composer at many junctures.