City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

EIF 2013: Andreas Haefliger Recital Review

By John A Hamilton - Posted on 17 August 2013

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The Usher Hall
Running time: 
Franz Schubert, Piano Sonata in G major D894; Ludvig van Beethoven, Sonata in B flat major Op106, 'Hammerklavier'
Andreas Haefliger (piano)

From Haefliger's timely deportment at the piano and placement of opening chord one could tell this was to be a performance of interpretative mastery – indeed it was. This morning’s programme afforded the Queen's Hall audience an opportunity to hear two monumental pieces from the piano's repertoire, most technically and stylistically performed by Swiss pianist Andreas Haelfliger.

Schubert's piano sonata in G major D894 was completed in 1826 when the composer was age 29 - eight years' earlier, Beethoven, aged 48, finished composing his 'Hammerklavier', Op106.

Schubert's last three sonatas of 1828 show conscious observation of the sonatas of Beethoven. However, sonatas D845, D850 and the sonata D894 performed today were influenced more by Haydn and Mozart but demonstrate work on a bigger scale than earlier sonatas, though not primarily different in character.

Schumann remarked, 'We must call all three of these sonatas of Schubert 'masterly,' but the third seems to us his most perfect one, both in form and spirit.'

Beethoven's sonata Op106 got its subtitle 'Hammerklavier' (German for pianoforte) from his beautifully written up title page in German. When his sonata was finished Beethoven declared 'Here is a sonata which will give the pianists who play it 50 years from now a real challenge'.

Beethoven's statement my well apply in some cases with many gifted pianists approaching its technical challenges in awe – however, not today!

Haefliger's performance of both works, in particular Op106, certainly gave the Usher Hall's Steinway a 'work-out,' though happy to say the instrument coped admirably with demands of both pianist and the work performed.

Following most enthusiastic applause, we were treated to more music from this most disciplined of performers who not only engaged with the instrument, creating a unit of sound, but with the audience too.

Time: Saturday 17th August, 2013 at 11am