As part of its Beethoven Awareness Month, New York classical radio station WQXR presents a marathon of all 32 Ludwig van Beethoven piano sonatas six two-hour intervals in The Greene Space on Sunday, November 20, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Among the myriad pianists performing the sonatas are Timothy Andres, Alessio Bax, Jonathan Biss, Jeremy Denk, and Jonathan Biss. Characterized by WQXR as an “Endurance Test,” a more fitting tribute to the enduring Beethoven would be difficult to find.
Both a composer and pianist, Andres was recently asked by WQXR producer Aaron Dalton about the two sonatas he has chosen to perform–Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53, “Waldstein” and Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp Major, Op. 78, “A Thérèse,” to which he responded:
Both sonatas have a certain sense of melodic ease that didn’t always come naturally to Beethoven. They mostly forgo the characteristic moodiness of the Tempest or Appassionata, and lack the contrapuntal rigor that marks the later sonatas. And they have that endearing Teutonic sense of humor; the fake-out at the recapitulation of the Waldstein, the goofy chromatic flights in Op. 78′s scherzo.