Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Apart from Bach, my other great piano related passion is Beethoven. A further frustration with being a guitarist related to the weakness in the repertoire's classical period sonatas. They existed but they were just not in the same league that was on offer by Beethoven and an additional reason I was keen to learn to play the instrument. So the other day, when I was again listening to the radio on my way to catch a few waves, my ears pricked up when I heard Brendan Ward talking about his book "The Beethoven Obsession". This fascinating book tells the story of how the greatest piano music ever written acquired an Australian voice, played on a revolutionary grand piano that shook up the conservative music establishment.
Gerard Willems, of the complete cycle of 32 sonatas, 5 concertos, Electoral sonatas and the unpublished Fantasia sonata on a very special grand piano designed and manufactured here in Australia by Wayne Stuart. Apart from being a most interesting read, ranging well beyond the recording of the works, it is a flag bearer for the excellence of the e-book. If you purchase this book to read on your iPad, which I highly recommend, you will also be able to enjoy the embedded links to relevant pictures and music examples distributed throughout the book dramatically enhancing your reading experience. This book has inspired me to now start work on my Beethoven journey and I have chosen the second of the Op 49 easier early sonatas.