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Daniel Barenboim

Saturday 2 February 2008 12:15-13:00 (Radio 3)

Tom Service talks to Daniel Barenboim as he performs the entire cycle of 32 Beethoven piano sonatas at London's South Bank. Plus a review of Marina Frolova-Walker's new book on Russian music which challenges the notion of 'Russianness'.


45 minutes

In this programme

Beethoven Piano Sonatas
Ludwig Van Beethoven
 Professor Barry Cooper has spent the last ten years working on his critical edition of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas - usually only 32 in number, but Barry has reinstated three early sonatas to make a total of 35. The new edition brings together extensive research, looking at early editions and autographs, to gain a greater understanding of Beethoven's own intentions for the works. Tom talks with Barry about his work on the edition. David Ward, who added the fingerings to this new edition, and pianist David Owen-Norris join Tom at the piano to assess the strengths of this new publication.

Beethoven: The 35 Piano Sonatas. A new critical edition by Barry Cooper. Pub. ABRSM in 3 volumes. Single volume, £16.95. Boxed set of 3 volumes, £50.

Daniel Barenboim
Daniel Barenboim, courtesy of Nina LargePianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim is currently playing the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas at the Royal Festival Hall, alongside a series of Artist as Leader talks. He is giving the same series of performances at La Scala in Milan, and has been performing the sonata cycle throughout his career, starting in Tel Aviv at the age of 17. For Barenboim, Beethoven is not simply a composer, but a metaphor for the power of music and the sonatas represent the most concentrated expression of Beethoven's genius. Barenboim explains to Tom why these pieces have been his constant companion.

Daniel Barenboim's performances of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas continue at the Royal Festival Hall in London until 17th February.

Russian Music and Nationalism 
Marina Frolova-Walker's new book, Russian Music and Nationalism, sets out to reveal what has been going on in Russian musical culture from the late 18th century to the time of Stalin. As Frolova-Walker explains, she wanted to write the book partly as a personal crusade on behalf of the composers of her homeland, especially Glinka, still largely overlooked in the West. She sites the premiere of Glinka's opera, A Life for the Tsar as the key moment when Russian nationalism became so important as an idea. Tom is joined by Roderick Swanston and David Nice to review the book.

Marina Frolova-Walker: Russian Music and Nationalism, from Glinka to Stalin. Pub. Yale University Press. h/b £30.

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