It is one of the monuments of piano literature. The thirty-two Beethoven piano sonatas are some of the best-known works in the classical music repertoire: there is not a single compilation album of classical music which does not feature the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata, and the Adagio cantabile from the Pathétique has been used for many commercials. In the 20th century, many of the most famous pianists have recorded their own rendition of the works, notably Claudio Arrau, Maurizio Pollini, Wilhelm Backhaus, Paul Badura-Skoda, Alfred Brendel, Aldo Ciccolini, Wilhelm Kempff and Daniel Barenboim.
Well-known for his attraction to the works by Beethoven, Daniel Barenboim has recorded the complete Beethoven sonatas twice: the first time was at the end of the 1960s for EMI, the second time was in 1985 for Deutsche Grammophon. A gigantic project, in 9 or 10 CDs each time. The films displayed here show this same desire of Daniel Barenboim to embrace those 32 piano masterpieces. Shot in 1983-1984 in some of the most beautiful baroque palaces in Vienna (Kinsky, Lobkowitz, Rasumowsky and Schloss Hetzendorf), they also remind us of what a great pianist the youthful Barenboim already was in his fourties.