What a spectacular work Beethoven’s 28th sonata (Op. 101) is! Counterpoint reigns from the first note to the last, more consistently than in any of the other sonatas. In fact, an enterprising transcriber like either of my friends Robert Stallman or Mark Starr could easily turn it into a great string quartet or quintet: So much of the music specifically emulates string writing, like the entire second movement, or that two-note motive that is handed pizzicato from one instrument to the other toward the end of the Finale.
That is what makes this piece so difficult for pianists. Of course it is never enough simply to pay attention to the most active voice. Here, the principal challenge is not merely to keep track of, and project three or more voices simultaneously, but to infuse each voice with a life of its own that often is independent of the others. Yet, in the end, all must coalesce into a unified vision.
Further word from Audio High about the recording team Michael Silver is assembling for the San Jose Beethoven project: the legendary Mark Willsher of Pin3hot will be in charge of recording the recitals, and the equally renowned Steve Hoffman will master the edited files. Meridian is a major co-sponsor of the project, along with the Elf Foundation, whose mission is to make life more fun for sick kids in hospitals. With guys like that hanging around, I’d better cut this post short and get back to practicing soon.