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Beethoven Piano                                     15th Mar 2020 The Bear Club Map

Steven Osborne, regularly described as one of the finest pianists of our age, plays the three final Beethoven sonatas. These ground breaking works, written at the height of the composer’s powers, are regarded as some of the finest piano music ever written.

Classical sonata form, variation form, canonic and fugal writing – all these are explored in these three awe inspiring works. Demanding ferocious technical and analytical skills these sonatas show a composer in his early fifties still at the very height of his powers. They were written despite his worsening health with rheumatic fevers and jaundice making work at times impossible. The final sonata, in Beethoven’s fateful key of C minor, is presented in a perfectly balanced pair of movements. The first is in Classical sonata form, not unlike the Op 13 Pathétique sonata, the second an extended set of variations on an exquisite Arietta voiced in the relative calm of C major. Steven Osborne has rightly won international admiration for his performances of these three great masterpieces.

...what a world of sound and colour this pianist conjured up. Rarely do you witness such textural detail, so delicately balanced. This was a masterclass in the true beauty of pianism, delivered with an intelligent and instinctive musicality.

The Scotsman

The way in which the Op 111 arietta and its variations flowed imperturbably yet inexorably out of silence was breathtaking – poetry in sound, absolutely astonishing.


He sat on his revolving stool,... and in a few words brought to an end his lecture on why Beethoven had not written a third movement to op. 111. We had only needed, he said, to hear the piece to answer the question ourselves. A third movement? A new approach? A return after this parting – impossible! It had happened that the sonata had come, in the second, enormous movement, to an end, an end without any return. And when he said 'the sonata', he meant not only this one in C minor, but the sonata in general, as a species, as traditional art-form; it itself was here at an end, brought to its end, it had fulfilled its destiny, resolved itself, it took leave – the gesture of farewell of the D G G motif, consoled by the C sharp, was a leave-taking in this sense too, great as the whole piece itself, the farewell of the sonata form.

From Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann

Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata in E Op 109

Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata in A flat Op 110

Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata in C minor Op 111

Steven Osborne



© Ben Ealovega

Ticket price £16