Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Do your ears a favor

This could be the most perfect piece Beethoven ever wrote. I was somehow thinking about bits of it in the afternoon, and found this knockout performance by Daniel Barenboim when I got home from work. In the first movement listen to how the work seems to be explaining what it's doing, premise to conclusion, with extraordinary clarity, describing its own structure, and in the third there's a kind of opposite approach, in which the same kind of clarity emerges, from some misty region that sounds like too much pedal, every time the rondo theme recurs, until it finally bursts, after a long preparation, into the helter-skelter tempo you've been waiting for and it's so clear that it's almost unbearably joyous.

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