In the 51st year since his first appearance at the Carinthian Summer Music Festival, Rudolf Buchbinder continues his decades-long exploration of Beethoven’s piano works.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Twelve variations on Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman C Major K. 265
Franz Schubert: Four Impromptus D 935 (Op. posth. 142) posth.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No. 23 in F minor op. 57 “Appassionata”
▶ Musical foretaste
This year, Rudolf Buchbinder presents Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, a work that was viewed with scepticism when it was first published in 1807 – “In the first movement of this sonata, he has once again released many evil spirits, as one is already familiar with from other great sonatas of his”, was famously grumbled by a critic in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung. Beethoven himself, however, considered the piece one of his best. At the very latest, thanks to an enterprising publisher who gave it the epithet “Appassionata” in 1838, it went on to become regarded as the epitome of pianistic virtuosity and expressivity.
The melody of the French folk song “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman” is known in German-speaking countries as the song “Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann”. In English, we are familiar with it as the tune behind “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”. In the original, a beautiful brunette confesses her love of a certain Silvandre to her mother. What begins as an easy-to-sing-along folk song becomes a succession of pianistic challenges and surprises in Mozart’s Twelve Variations – the longing for love included – that finally culminate in a virtuoso finale. Schubert’s last four impromptus are also considerably more complex than the term first suggests, denoting a short improvisation or a surprising idea. Robert Schumann even thought he recognised a four-movement sonata in the four individual pieces composed by Schubert about a year before his death.