Maria Yudina plays Beethoven as he might well have played his own music. We have all read, in the literature about Beethoven, descriptions of the way he played. Suffice it to say, and here I quote Harold Schonberg from his excellent book The Great Pianists from Mozart to the Present Day, "... he would listen to current Beethoven specialists and consider them dry, unmusical and anything but expressive."

[If you want an example of such playing, listen to the Beethoven Sonata recordings of Richard Goode, a proclaimed Beethoven specialist, though I suspect that anyone who performs and records all 32 of the sonatas becomes a defacto Beethoven specialist in our time.]

Beethoven's was wild music and he was, in the context of the late Classical period, a time still of powdered wigs and courtly manners, a wild man. Listen as Yudina Plays Beethoven's so called - and terribly misnamed - Moonlight Sonata, the Presto agitato. This is not music for genteel society and the qualification agitato was not chosen by accident. Beethoven's student, Ferdinand Ries, called his playing "capricious" and "infused with exquisite and inimitable expression". Ries could have been describing the playing of Maria Yudina.

Maria Yudina plays Beethoven as though the simplest turns of phrase, the most seemingly obvious cadences, plumb the depths of meaning and emotion. It is not, in her playing, a matter of excess, rather one of significance. Beethoven was a declamatory composer. He had things to say. All of the notes he wrote were carefully chosen and deserve to be given their due. You will hear that when Yudina plays Beethoven, she simply does exactly that.

Oh, and do take note of the first movement cadenza in the fourth piano concerto. It is by Brahms, and if your mind should wander you may find it a bit disconcerting to wake up in the midst of a piano concerto by Brahms you had no idea existed.

Beethoven  Piano Concerto 4 in G major, Op 58
Kurt Sanderling conducting the Leningrad State Philharmonic Orchestra

recorded in 1948

ia Allegro moderato

ib Allegro moderato

ii Andante con moto

ii Rondo: Vivace

Beethoven  Piano Concerto 5 in E major, Op 73 "Emperor"
Nathan Rachlin conducting the USSR Radio Symphony Orchestra

recorded in 1950

ia Allegro

ib Allegro

ii Adagio un poco mosso

iii Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo

Beethoven  Piano Sonata 5 in C minor, Op 10 ~1
i Allegro molto e con brio - ii Adagio molto (5:14) - iii Prestissimo (13:42)

recorded in 1950

Beethoven  Piano Sonata 12 in A major, Op 26
i Andante con Variazioni - ii Scherzo: Allegro molto

recorded in 1958

iii Marcia Funebre sulla morte d'un Eroe - iv Allegro

Beethoven  Piano Sonata 14 in C minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op 27 ~2 "Moonlight"

recorded live in 1954

i Adagio sostenuto - ii Presto agitato

iii Presto agitato

Beethoven  Piano Sonata 17 in D minor, Op 31, ~2 "Tempest"
Largo. Allegro - ii Adagio (06:57) - iii Allegretto (12:31)

Beethoven  Piano Sonata 22 in F major, Op 54
In tempo d'un Menuetto - ii Allegretto (05:58)

recorded in 1951

Beethoven  Piano Sonata 27 in E minor, Op 90
i Mit Lebhaftigkeit und durchaus mit Empfindung und Ausdruck
ii Rondo: Cantabile

recorded in 1961

Beethoven  Piano Sonata 28 in A major, Op 101
i Allegretto ma non troppo - ii Vivace alla marcia (03:25)
iii Adagio ma non troppo (08:58) - iv Allegro (11:45)

Beethoven  Piano Sonata 29 in B major, Op 106 "Hammerklavier"

i Maestoso. Allegro con brio ed appassionato

ii Scherzo: Assai vivace
iiia Adagio sostenuto

iiib Adagio sostenuto
iva Introduzione: Largo - Fuga: Allegro risoluto

ivb Introduzione: Largo - Fuga: Allegro risoluto

Beethoven  Piano Sonata 32 in C minor, Op 111
i Maestoso. Allegro con brio ed appassionato

recorded in 1958

ii Arietta: Adagio molto, semplice e cantabile

33 Variations on a waltz by Anton Diabelli, Op 120

recorded in 1961

Tema: Vivace - Variation 1: Alla Marcia maestoso - Variation 2: Poco Allegro - Variation 3: Listesso tempo - Variation 4: Un poco più vivace - Variation 5: Allegro vivace - Variation 6: Allegro ma non troppo e serioso - Variation 7: Un poco più allegro - Variation 8: Poco vivace

Variation 9: Allegro pesante e risoluto - Variation 10: Presto - Variation 11: Allegretto - Variation 12: Un poco più moto - Variation 13: Vivace - Variation 14: Grave e maestoso - Variation 15: Presto Scherzando - Variation 16: Allegro - Variation 17: Allegro

Variations: 18 Poco moderato - 19 Presto - 20 Andante - 21 Allegro con brio Meno allegro Tempo primo - 22 Allegro molto, alla Notte e giorno faticar di Mozart - 23 Allegro assai - 24 Fughetta (Andante) - 25 Allegro - 26 (Piacevole)

Variations: 27 Vivace - 28 Allegro - 29 Adagio ma non troppo - 30 Andante, sempre cantabile - 31 Largo, molto espressivo

Variations: 32 Fuga: Allegro - 33 Tempo di Menuetto moderato

Beethoven  "Eroica Variations" Op 35
15 Variations and Fugue on a theme from Prometheus in E major

recorded in 1961

Beethoven  12 Variations on a Russian dance in A major, WoO 71
from Wranitzky's "Das Waldmädchen"

recorded in 1961

For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.

And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse

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