Mikhail Pletnev performs Beethoven

Verbier Festival 2021

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Mikhail Pletnev — Pianist

Program notes

The Verbier Festival continues on straight from the gorgeous Salle des Combins with a remarkable solo recital: virtuoso pianist Mikhail Pletnev performs the very last and very first piano sonatas by Beethoven.

Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1 (written in 1795) broke with several compositional conventions of the day, written in a contemplative minor key at a time when major-key works predominated, comprising four movements instead of the usual three, and finishing with a ferocious Prestissimo rather than a lighter final movement. Twenty-seven years and countless watershed moments later, Beethoven composed his 32nd and final piano sonata. Following a mixed reception for its two-movement structure and its monstrous difficulty, it has since garnered a reputation as an essential work by an essential composer, with a lively and dynamic first movement and the contrasting Arietta, slow and peaceful, that leads into an increasingly complicated set of variations.



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