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Beethoven Piano                                       27th Jan 2020 The Bear Club Map

We begin our survey of all 32 piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven. This epic adventure is a wonderfully ambitious venture for us here in Luton. Spread over some 12 concerts, with a range of internationally admired pianists, this will be an unforgettable musical experience.

Frenchman Patrick Hemmerlé opens the series with the early F major sonata. Here the composer is already beginning to challenge the restraints of Classicism. The rigour of traditional sonata form subverted by the anarchy of a recapitulation that begins in the submediant key! And what to make of the polarity of the final movement where elegant fugal writing is juxtaposed with a chugging rustic dance over a drone pedal. Beethoven is starting to break away.

Patrick follows this early work with the sparkling virtuosity of the legendary Waldstein, a quintessentially middle period work from the great maestro. It is more ambitious than anything that preceded it, the two volatile outer movements, with their experiments in texture and turbulent harmony, framing the still centre of an improvisatory Adagio molto that is over almost as soon as it’s begun – mysterious and unforgettable.

Patrick also offers youthful sonatas by Tippett and Ian Venables, this last a contemporary British composer whose work has been much enjoyed by our audiences in Luton over the past few years.

‘…at times Hemmerlé was visibly transported. Who couldn’t be? The music had cast its spell and a transfixed audience was loud in its acclaim as it called for more.’ Cambridge Independent



Patrick Hemmerlé

Ian Venables – Sonata in memoriam DSCH

Michael Tippett – Piano Sonata No.1

Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata in F Op 10 No.2

Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata in C Op 53 Waldstein