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PIANO SONATA NO.15 IN D, OP.28 (PASTORAL)

Friday 10th June, 0000-0700
Mieczyslaw Horszowski

Allegro
Andante
Scherzo: Allegro vivace
Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo - Più allegro quasi presto

After the formal strides forward in his Op. 26 Sonata (see Recital 6) and the 'sonate quasi fantasie' pair of Op. 27 (see Recital 3), Beethoven appears to step back again with his next work in the medium, his D major Sonata, Op. 28. But since he seems to have worked on all four at the same time in 1801 any implication of 'progression', let alone 'regression', through these sonatas would be misplaced. Yet the work does revert to the Classical four-movement model. Its easygoing manner and geniality earned it the nickname of 'Pastoral' from his Hamburg publisher, a soubriquet that becomes particularly clear once one gets to the rustic charm of the finale. Before that come an expansive but generally relaxed sonata Allegro, an Andante with a sustained melody over a staccato, broken-chord bass and one of Beethoven's most humorous scherzos. Here, the composer plays with the simplicity of four repeated notes, descending through the registers of the piano, followed by a brief cadential phrase, while in the minor-key trio he manages to harmonise what is essentially a straightforward four-bar phrase six different ways.

Matthew Rye

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