Rzewski's " Appassionata"

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Rzewski's " Appassionata"

Post by Rach3 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:27 pm

I had not realized he "played " this Beethoven sonata.

Rzewski’s 41-minute “Appassionata” , with Rzewski's cadenzas :


Per the YT poster :

“Excerpts from an article on Rzewski: "No question, Mr. Rzewski likes to keep listeners guessing. When he plays other people's music, he can raise hackles by improvising cadenzas in the middle of such untouchable masterworks as Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" and "Appassionata" Sonatas. "I do it because I think it's authentic," he said. "It's what I think Beethoven would have done. A few years ago, after a concert at Bard College, a musicologist came up to me and told me very sternly that you could do that at parties but not at a concert. Usually people don't hire you at all if they think you're going to go in for such shenanigans. "And maybe they're right. My Japanese friend Yuji Takahashi, the pianist and composer, says: 'It's redundant. All the irrational stuff is already there, in Beethoven's writing.' I do whatever I think is right at the moment. One thing is for sure: You shouldn't prepare it. Improvisations have to pop into your head then and there, or there's no reason for them.""

I did listen. More " Marcia funebre doloroso" than " Appassionata."

Rzewski's 66-minute "Hammerklavier " is also at YT. I'll let someone else here listen, report.

John F
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Re: Rzewski's " Appassionata"

Post by John F » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:29 pm

Or "Dispassionata." I listened to the first movement only - hearing the sonata played at practice speed left me itching to get on with it. Rzewski's cadenza has some interest - it's quite traditional, unlike Rzewski's own music - but if he actually believes it's what Beethoven would have done, he's either ignorant or deluded. Possibly it's what Liszt might have done, though I haven't seen that Liszt made free with the music when he performed the Hammerklavier sonata; indeed, Berlioz wrote of the performance, "Not a note was left out, not one added . . . no inflection was effaced, no change of tempo permitted."

Rachmaninoff notoriously interpolated a long cadenza in his recording of Liszt's 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody. He didn't improvise it, he composed it.


This isn't Beethoven, of course, it's Liszt, and it's not a sonata, it's a rhapsody, an open or undefined form in which anything goes.
John Francis

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