Barenboim on Beethoven 11: Beethoven’s Last Sonata I

A film by Christopher Nupen

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Daniel Barenboim — Presenter, pianist

Carlos Villa — Violinist

Kenneth Moore — Violinist

Herbert Downes — Violist

Norman Jones — Cellist

New Philharmonia Orchestra

Daniel Barenboim — Conductor

Program notes

If we had never heard Beethoven’s music before and decided to look at his final piano sonata, Op. 111, alongside his very first, we would be floored by the differences in tonal and formal expansiveness, motivic spontaneity, and compositional architecture—it might even seem unbelievable that the works had come from the pen of one composer. But Barenboim, having already taken us through middle-period Beethoven—the "Eroica—argues that the “unmistakable quality” of the late works represents “a logical development of his whole life’s work.” This chapter of Barenboim on Beethoven focuses on the final sonata’s first movement, “some of the tensest music he ever wrote” in which he proves himself “a master of small forms.”

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