mozartcircle

Home » Posts tagged 'beethoven' (Page 2)

Tag Archives: beethoven

Advertisements

Interview January 2017: 10 Questions with L. McCawley

ag16aahd

Leon McCawley: Official Links
Leon McCawley Official Site: Leon McCawley
Leon McCawley: Leon McCawley at RCM
Leon McCawley: Leon McCawley Twitter (Official)
Leon McCawley: Leon McCawley Facebook (Official)

Leon McCawley: CD Haydn Sonatas & Variations
Leon McCawley: CD Mozart: The Piano Sonatas

Leon McCawley: Next Concert: Beethoven Concerto No. 3 (Gijon: 19 January 2017)
Leon McCawley: Next Concert: Beethoven Concerto No. 3 (Oviedo: 20 January 2017)

Leon McCawley: Next Concert: Mozart Concerto K. 491 (London – RPO: 23 March 2017)
Leon McCawley: Next Concert: Mozart & Schubert & Liszt (Grieg Museum: 26 March 2017)


1. Which considerations led you to publish a CD Album of piano music by J. Haydn and which criteria you followed in choosing the piano works by Haydn to be featured in your CD Album? What do you find particularly attractive and pleasing in the style and music by J. Haydn?

Haydn is a composer that I have always felt connected to.

I have been drawn to his piano music since childhood and performed his Sonatas and Variations in recital many times over the years. Since I had already recorded piano music of Mozart and Beethoven, I felt that it was the right time to add some of Haydn’s repertory to my discography.

On my recently released CD on SOMM recordings, I feature four Sonatas that demonstrate the myriad of possibilities for the 18th century keyboard and also include his most profound and deeply felt keyboard composition (in my opinion), the F minor Variations.

What pleases me most though about Haydn is his wit, humour and sunny optimism.

There is so much fun in his work and he explores extremities of the keyboard with great variety of dynamics and unexpected harmonic shifts.

ag16baic

ag16baicb

2. You have recorded piano works by Mozart, by Beethoven and by Haydn, works which have also long been part of your recital repertoire. In your opinion and according to your experience, what are the real elements of continuity and of innovation in the music and in the pianism developed and used by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven?

It is always interesting to make comparisons with these great composers and whether this is a distinctly natural progression.

Haydn was a great innovator for his time and without doubt paved the way for Beethoven, his pupil. The extremes of register, dynamic, tempo and unconventional treatment of sonata form were of a huge influence to Beethoven and you can see this with striking vividness in Beethoven’s Sonatas in comparison to Haydn.

Mozart perfected the sonata form that Haydn had mapped out so effectively so that every work published is a compositional gem; I would not want to alter a note of Mozart’s and his wonderful gift for melody inspired the great keyboard melodists of Schubert and later Chopin and Schumann in the Romantic period.

I feel his piano music strikes a perfect middle ground between the two composers. In his dramatic C minor Sonata K457 you can hear a youthful Beethoven (think of the Pathétique Op. 13) and his early Sonata K282 was surely an influence on Haydn’s charming late Sonata No. 59 Hob. XVI/49.

__________________________________________________
BEETHOVEN CDs (Leon McCawley)
__________________________________________________

Beethoven: Works for piano, 32 Variations, Patéthique & Les Adieux

ag16caica

Beethoven: Choral Fantasia

572032 bk Penderecki

3. In 1993 you won the highly prestigious 1st Prize in the International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna. What are your memories and impressions linked to that experience and what did it mean to you and your career, to win such a prize in the very city of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven?

I have enormously happy memories of my time in Vienna. At nineteen, to win a competition as prestigious as this meant so much to me.

I had not expected to win as I was one of the youngest competitors but was very grateful for such a wonderful experience, performing Beethoven 1st Piano Concerto in the Concerto Final in the beautiful surroundings of the Musikverein.

The competition prize included a Bösendorfer Grand Piano which I still cherish today in my practice studio some 23 years later.

Preparing for the competition really propelled my interest in Beethoven further and the added icing on the cake of taking 1st Prize was a boost to my career as a concert pianist.

ag16daic

ag16daicba

ag16daicbb

4. You have produced a marvellous CD recording of the complete edition of Mozart’s piano sonatas 2005/2006 and in 2011 you have also performed the complete Mozart’s sonatas over one weekend at King’s Place (London) with great audience and critical acclaim. What led you to produce such magnificent Mozartian events in such a challenging context for a pianist and what are your pieces of advice and tips to those pianists who want to approach the repertoire of Haydn and Mozart and want to build a personal repertoire on their works?

The main reason for recording the Complete Mozart Piano Sonatas in 2005/6 was the desire to offer my own personal dedication and celebration of Mozart’s Bi-centenary of his birth.

It was also a timely dedication and admiration for my mentor of over ten years, the Russian pianist and fine Mozartian, Nina Milkina, who passed away in 2006 and had been a great source of inspiration to me, in particular for Mozart; incidentally she shares the same birthday as Mozart, January 27th.

Performing the complete Mozart sonatas five years later in London was tremendous undertaking; I enjoyed the challenge very much but I think will spread the performances over a season or two next time, that is if the opportunity arises again!

My tips to young pianists would be not to be afraid of projecting when performing Haydn and Mozart and try to have more of an operatic approach when dealing with cantabile and melodic line.

Also don’t treat this music with too much fragility; a full-bodied sound that is fully spirited and fully expressive will help to illuminate any interpretation of a classical sonata.

Learn all the repertoire, or as much as you can!

ag16daicb

ag16daiccb

5. Your favourite work by Mozart and your favourite work by J. Haydn.

It’s difficult to choose only one of each but here goes: Mozart’s Piano Concerto K466 and Haydn’s F Minor Variations.

ag16faic

6. Vanhal, Hummel, F.X.Duschek, J.L.Duschek, L.Kozeluch, J.G.Albrechtsberger… Do you have in mind the name of some neglected composer of piano music of the 18th century you’d like to see re-evaluated?

Not yet! I don’t find as much inspiration here as the three greats that we have been discussing.

There is so much to explore here that I feel I don’t need to delve any further just yet as I am endlessly fascinated by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

That said, I do like Hummel’s Piano Concertos and will be performing Hummel’s cadenzas when I play Mozart Piano Concerto K491 with Royal Philharmonic in London on March 23rd at Cadogan Hall.

ag16gaic

7. Name a neglected piece of piano music of the 18th century you’d like to see performed in concert with more frequency.

I adore Mozart’s Duport Variations and you don’t often hear them in concert.

ag16iaicca

8. Have you read a particular book on Mozart Era you consider important for the comprehension of the music of this period?

The Letters of Mozart are fascinating… but for full comprehension the best place to visit is the music where the worlds of these marvellous composers open up in your hands.

ag16iaic

9. Name a movie or a documentary that can improve the comprehension of the music of this period.

Miloš Forman’s Amadeus in 1984 was a wonderful film adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s play and the use of Mozart’s Requiem in the movie was particularly striking.

But again, I turn to the music and the scores for comprehension first and foremost.

af16laic

10. Do you think there’s a special place to be visited that proved crucial to the evolution of the 18th century piano music?

Undoubtedly Vienna!

… as this was the centre of keyboard development in the 18th century.

And it also was a significant place for my pianistic development too!

__________________________________________________
THE NEW BÖSENDORFER-SAAL IM MOZARTHAUS VIENNA
__________________________________________________

Bösendorfer-Saal in Mozarthaus
Since October 2010 the new Bösendorfer-Saal im Mozarthaus Vienna is running. It is the third one in the history of Bösendorfer and it is situated in the Mozarthaus Vienna. It’s a beautifully designed hall in the vaulted cellar of the very building of Mozart’s flat in Vienna, near St. Stephan’s Cathedral.

ag16kaic

Thank you very much for having taken the time to answer our questions!

Thank you!

Copyright © 2016 MozartCircle. All rights reserved.MozartCircle exclusive property. 
Iconography is in public domain or in fair use.

Advertisements

Interview October 2016: 10 Questions with K. Woods

ag16aahd

Kenneth Woods: Official Links
Kenneth Woods Official Site: Kenneth Woods
Kenneth Woods & ESO Official Site: English Symphony Orchestra (ESO)
Kenneth Woods: Kenneth Woods at ESO
Kenneth Woods: Colorado MahlerFest
Kenneth Woods: Kenneth Woods Twitter (Official)
Kenneth Woods: ESO Twitter (Official)
Kenneth Woods: Kenneth Woods Facebook (Official)
Kenneth Woods: ESO Facebook (Official)

Kenneth Woods: CD Elgar Piano Quintet – Sea Pictures Top 10 Best Seller
Kenneth Woods: CD Hans Gal & Mozart Piano Concertos

Kenneth Woods: Next Concert: Haydn & Mozart (11 December 2016)
Kenneth Woods: Next Concert: Haydn, Mozart & Beethoven (21 December 2016)


1. Your recent CD Elgar: Orchestrated By Donald Fraser, Piano Quintet, Sea Pictures reached the Amazon Best Seller Top 10 last June! In his youth, in 1870s, Elgar himself arranged many works by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven for quintet and wrote his Harmony Music and Shed Pieces, which had a strong, yet personal, Mozartian writing, do you think that the influence of those composers on his music still emerges from his later works? And if yes, how?

Elgar is an interesting figure, because his own compositional voice is so strong and so consistent across his entire maturity. Composers like Shostakovich or Beethoven, or even Mozart, went through huge changes of style in their careers, while the differences between early Elgar and late Elgar are pretty small. The only composer I can think of who has such a consistent and recognizable voice is Brahms. Elgar’s voice was so strong, that even his orchestrations of other composers sound like Elgar.

This means it’s quite hard to spot the influence of other composers in Elgar’s music. His knowledge of Brahms, Beethoven, Wagner, Schumann, Mozart, Haydn and Bach (I’d say those are the composers who shaped his language and technique the most) is so deeply assimilated and integrated into his own musical world that one almost never thinks «Oh, that sounds a bit like…».

What Elgar ultimately learned from the Austro-German masters is a multi-layered approach to motivic development. There are thematic connections in his music that are very obvious, and there are those that are almost undetectable. In a piece like the Piano Quintet, there are obvious moments of cyclical structure, where whole themes return at the end of the piece which we know from the beginning and which are easy for anyone to spot, and then are tiny, microscopic relationships of intervals and ideas that are very important to the musical logic, which one can only really dig out with lots of analysis while looking at the score.

Haydn and Schumann were the greatest masters of this kind of layering, but Mozart excelled at it too.

ag16baic

ag16baicb

2. You are a well known promoter of Haydn’s music, also through your own blog A View from the Podium, what are your considerations on your activity on Haydn and on the importance of building a wider knowledge of his music, still, unfortunately, a bit neglected? In September you have conducted the beautiful Symphony no. 80 by Haydn, what have been your thoughts, while preparing your performance? Written in 1784, 2 years before Mozart’s Prague K504 and 1 after Linz, do you think this Symphony by Haydn somehow influenced Mozart’s late symphonic writing?

I think there are two main reasons why Haydn’s music is still mostly misunderstood or underappreciated by the general public. First, I think he’s been very badly served by performers and writers who have tried to tame him as both a human being and a musician. The banal image of the benevolent Papa Haydn is only a tiny portion of a complex and fascinating personality – he was a man of tremendous temperament, great tenacity, capable of great anger and passion, and someone who took great personal and professional risks throughout his career. He must have been a genius at dealing with people – think of what it took to keep that incredible orchestra together at Esterháza with all those great artists and strong personalities. The musical manifestation of this problem is that we keep Haydn’s music behind glass. Too many Haydn performances are too bland – everything is made polite and genteel. I think his music is overflowing with madness and genius. It’s not just gently witty.

Of course, Haydn, even well performed and well curated, asks a lot of listeners. It’s very sophisticated and endlessly modern music.

But I’ve found that if you strip away all the accrued politeness and gentility that has become attached to his music and play it with real commitment and total abandon, audiences hear it and are just stunned.

As far as Haydn’s influence on Mozart, it’s not an easy thing to describe in a few words. They were writing during an era in which the language of music was as standardized and codified as pretty much any time I can think of – the only parallels I can think of are movements in popular music, where certain formulae completely dominate the discourse for a while, like doo-wop, rockabilly or ragtime. Mozart and Haydn were fairly unique in taking a system of stock musical gestures and using them to create incredibly expressive and completely radical music. Both of them understood the power of expectation – how to create it and how to undermine it. Haydn provided the structural framework for Mozart by creating or perfecting the forms in which Mozart would excel: sonata form, the string quartet and the symphony.

But by the time you get to Mozart’s earliest mature symphonies like 25 or 29, you can see he’s a totally different character than Haydn. There’s a melodic brilliance and emotional directness one almost never finds in Haydn, but it lacks Haydn’s wildness and technical genius.

What’s touching is that they clearly understood and loved each other’s music without any hint of jealousy or condescension.

__________________________________________________
HAYDN & A VIEW FROM THE PODIUM (by Kenneth Woods)
__________________________________________________

Haydn’s Music- Bathed in Fire and Blood
Haydn in The Oregonian
Haydn the Yurodivy
Reading Haydn from Beginning to End
Haydn- more talented than Mozart
Haydn- smarter than Brahms
Controversy over Haydn and magic with Schumann
RCCO- Schubert and Haydn
Haydn the Subversive
Podcast- The “true” story of Haydn 59
Listen Again- Haydn Trumpet Concerto
Haydn- More fun than Mahler!
More Haydn
Haydn’s on- let’s cancel the concert and rehearse
Haydn

ag16caica

ag16caic

3. You have published also a really beautiful series of CDs with music by the Austrian-British composer Hans Gál. Among them, Gál’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra and, in the same album, Mozart’s Piano Concerto K482: what led you to create this special combination? You have in your repertoire also a few rare works from 18th/19th century like the Harmoniemusik after Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Figaro by Triebensee and Wendt: do you think this special charming type of works, which had also a specific social value when written, should receive more attention in Concert Seasons, in order to enrich them?

Gál is a special case.

Throughout the decade or so I’ve been working on his music with the Gál Society, one thing I got from them was their deep conviction that his music shouldn’t be assessed too much in terms of his biography.

There has been a lot of long-overdue interest in composers like Gál, whose lives were disrupted (or worse) by the Nazis. It’s important that we let their music be assessed on merit, and not presented with too much special pleading because of their personal tragedies.

With that in mind, we’ve always coupled his works (with a few exceptions, like our disc of string trios by Gál and Krása) alongside works from the Austro-German tradition that he saw himself belonging to. Generationally, he was closer (by far) to Mozart and Schubert than I am to Shostakovich or Mahler.

Hopefully placing his music next to Mozart’s helps us to better understand both composers.

As for the Harmoniemusiks– I think they’re wonderful!

I’m a great fan of arrangements in general. Mozart was, too!

Audiences love these arrangements, and it’s wonderful that one can showcase one’s woodwind section using some of the greatest music ever written.

Orchestras don’t feature their wind sections enough!

ag16daic

4. When you work with the orchestra, preparing a new series of concerts, what are your pieces of advice and tips to the musicians on approaching Mozart and on approaching Haydn?

On a technical level, I don’t think musicians think as deeply about meter and metric structure as they perhaps should in Baroque and Classical repertoire!

Understanding all the nuances of different kinds of impulses and strong and weak beats and bars is absolutely essential for giving this repertoire the right sense of variety and elegance. When you work with a good orchestra over time, you try to develop a shared understanding about how meter works in Mozart and Haydn (and Bach and Handel).

On a more spiritual level, Classical repertoire seems to bring out musicians’ worst tendencies to imitate other people’s performances and mannerisms. The HIP movement has made the problem even more common… it’s become shorthand for a set of performance habits which are mostly the result of a very contemporary aesthetic.

If I’m feeling naughty, I occasionally point out that the aesthetics of Ikea furniture and many period instrument recordings are basically the same. It’s all about clean lines, bright textures, standardized approaches. I would hope the study of performance practice would lead us to be more questioning and more radical, not to simply recycle the interpretations of a conspicuously brilliant generation of other conductors, whose aesthetics were obviously shaped by the British Cathedral choral tradition as much as anything else.

Why do so many performers ignore or downplay Haydn’s use of fortissimo… a dynamic he uses very sparingly? Why do so many performers end every phrase in Mozart with a diminuendo, even when it precedes a subito piano? Surely these kinds of habits are very destructive to the music… it robs it of drama, intensity, contrast and expression.

I felt like I started to blossom as a Haydn interpreter when I freed myself of any worry about whether other people would approve of what I was up to, or whether anyone else had done it before the way I thought it should go.

You’ve got to be honest with yourself about what you find in the score and try to be true to what you learn from it. Once an orchestra feels free to try different things, to make different, more dangerous sounds, everyone’s creativity and energy starts to flow.

Mozart and Haydn come to life when the performers are letting themselves really give their all to the music, instead of trying to imitate the sound of historic instruments, or conform to some emasculated idea of this music being terribly prim and proper.

ag16daicb

ag16daiccb

5. Your favourite work by Mozart and your favourite work by J. Haydn.

Mozart… It has to be the Requiem, which is a work I’ve been immersed in most of my life!

Haydn… It’s harder to pick one piece with him than perhaps any other composer, as there are so many works of such staggering originality and beauty, and whatever Haydn symphony I’ve just played always seems the most miraculous. If I had to pick one work, maybe the Oxford Symphony (no. 92): it’s a work particularly close to my heart and a piece I learned a great deal from studying.

ag16faic

6. Do you have in mind the name of some neglected composer of the 18th century you’d like to see re-evaluated?

Franz Danzi!

I was always fond of his Cello Concerto and it, and his other music, seem due for a re-appraisal.

ag16gaic

7. Name a neglected piece of music of the 18th century you’d like to see performed in concert with more frequency.

Any Haydn symphony before no. 92 that doesn’t have a nickname!

8. Have you read a particular book on Mozart Era you consider important for the comprehension of the music of this period?

Maynard Solomon’s biography of Mozart is both an impressive piece of scholarship and a touchingly human piece of writing.

I find it very moving.

ag16iaic

9. Name a movie or a documentary that can improve the comprehension of the music of this period.

Malcolm Bilson’s documentary Knowing the Score is a great, compact introduction to the world of performance practice.

af16laic

10. Do you think there’s a special place to be visited that proved crucial to the evolution of the 18th century music?

Vienna!
__________________________________________________
HAYDN, MOZART & BEETHOVEN IN VIENNA
__________________________________________________

  • Haydnhaus
Haydn’s final Vienna home, here Creation & Seasons were written.
Mozarthaus
Mozart’s only surviving Vienna home (1784-1787). Here the Piano Concertos K.466, K.467, K.482, K.488, K.491, the Haydn Quartets, Davidde Penitente & Nozze di Figaro were written.
Beethoven’s Eroicahaus
Here Eroica was written.
Beethoven’s Pasqualatihaus
Here 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th & Fidelio were written.
Beethoven’s Wohnung Heiligenstadt
Here 1802 works (ie. Tempest, The Hunt, Eroica Variations, Kreutzer) were written.

ag16kaic

ag16kaicb

Thank you very much for having taken the time to answer our questions!

Thank you!

ag16kaicc

Copyright © 2016 MozartCircle. All rights reserved.MozartCircle exclusive property. 
Iconography is in public domain or in fair use.

 

CD Spotlight October 2016: After Napoleon Cherubini & Louis XVIII (1819)

re16aahd

Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)

Beethoven adored Cherubini and considered him one of his
Models in Music. After Napoleon Cherubini became the official co-Director of Bourbons’ King’s Chapel (1815). In 1819 he wrote a Coronation Mass, a great masterpiece, that, due to the
political turmoils, was never
performed. Only in 1867 the score resurfaced and in 20th century a complete new edition was available. Agnus Dei is an unforgetable masterpiece.

EMI Records

cdsptlgt

CD Spotlight July 2016: Music from the French Revolution (July 1789)

re16aahd

Discover the French Revolutionary
origin of the theme of the Pastoral
Symphony
by Beethoven from
his friend Lefevre’s French
Revolutionary work
Hymne à l’Agriculture!
www.nimbusrecords.comre16bahd
cdsptlgt