Recital of Beethoven's sonata "Pathétique"

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Which movement should I perform?

I. Grave: allegro di molto e con brio
II. Adagio: cantabile
III. Rondo: allegro
Total votes: 17


Recital of Beethoven's sonata "Pathétique"

Postby Anonymous » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:01 pm

Hey everyone! I am participating in a piano concert at university next term and I want to play a movement from Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, op. 13, "Pathétique," however I cannot decide! So, I ask which of the 3 movements you would most like to hear if you were in the audience? Unfortunately, I do not have enough time to perform the entire piece.

Many thanks

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Postby techneut » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:43 pm

Always a bit of a shame to perform only part of a Sonata... Seeing as they are meant to be a unity. And maybe your audience would feel the same, when offered only one mvt. Can't you choose a single (non-sonata) piece of the required length ? One of the Rondos perhaps ?

But well if you must do one mvt of this Sonata, we can't vote for your audience ... everybody may have their own favourite. I say go for the movement that you like most and feel most comfortable with. But if you want to make a bit of impact, I guess it would have to be one of the outer movements.

Hope that helps !
Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
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Postby juufa72 » Fri Dec 15, 2006 6:55 pm

Sometimes isolating a movement is ok. Take for example all the recitals of pianists just playing the "Rondo Alla Turca" by Mozart. I believe that if you have to play just one movement from this sonata then I suggest the Rondo. I wouldn't play the grave section because if the audience members are there to see their sons or daughters (? or is this a professional recital?) then they wouldn't understand the complexity of playing the "grave" or "largo" or "lento" or "adagio" sections. Like television we people like to be impressed with flashy colors and loud music!

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Postby toki » Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:23 am

I would say most definitely play the first movement. I currently play this sonata myself and like it the best of all three movements. The second, although fairly beautiful, is just too short to stand on its own, and the third may be a bit too long and monotonous. The first is probably the best out of these, and fun to play to boot.

Yay for those parallel 8th note runs! When I first heard those two passages, I thought, "Oh man, there's no way I can do that with both hands," but now I can play it like nothing. I love the first movement of this piece. Like a lot of pre-romantic composers, I never liked nor hated Beethoven all that much until I started playing his pieces, and this was my first foray into his piano pieces. The first is definitely the best balance of slow, deep emotion and quick, exciting motion.

Play the first, you won't regret it.

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Postby MindenBlues » Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:53 am

I too played all three movements (this is the only Beethoven Sonata I played completely), and I like all three movements in their own certain mood.
So if it is not possible to play the sonata completely unfortunately, I probably also would take the first movement because here you can show everything - loud, soft, fast, slow playing. Technically seen, difficultier than the 3rd movement.
Perhaps some hints may be helpful:
- make sure to count the times really precisely in the grave beginning. Every jury member will count and check, you must realize that they know every note of this famous piece!
- take care for evenly sounding LH part on those alternating left hand notes, and practise it slowly first.
- there are some beautiful sections where you play with crossed hands in order to have the melody line always with right hand played. Try to express the melody, let the piano sing here!
- Good luck!

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Postby joeisapiano » Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:45 pm

Whenever I am forced to play a single movement of any multi mvt piece, I always lean towards the last mvt. and here's why: The composer wrote this mvt as the closing of the piece and it therefore makes more sense to applaude after it. It's not quite the same applauding for the end of the first movment as it is the last movement. There's always that feeling of finality.


Postby Anonymous » Sun Jun 17, 2007 4:34 am

Hey, great choice! I can say that because I'm also working on this piece currently. =) I don't know about you, but I've taken a bit of flak from certain people for choosing it, because it is one of the more well-worn sonatas. You know what, though? It's popular for a reason - people know it, appreciate it, and are able to connect to it emotionally. There's just that special something about it.
If I had to pick a movement, I'd go with the first. It's dynamic, and it's powerful. While it's true that the last movement closes the piece, I think that in this case, the first movement ends decisively enough that it would work.
All the best!

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