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Cancelled: Sir András Schiff, Piano

Sunday, April 5, 2020 2 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Sir András Schiff by Nadia F. Romanini
The Beethoven piano sonatas on this program are marvels of concision. Nos. 24 and 25, written during Austria’s struggles with Napoleon, are two-movement, melodically rich gems that pulse with energy. From the same period comes “Les adieux,” a depiction of the sorrow of Beethoven’s patron fleeing Vienna and their eventual joy in reuniting. A pair of late sonatas—among the crown jewels of Beethoven’s career—round out this program performed by Sir András Schiff, a pianist revered for his “uncanny combination of elegance and intensity” (The New York Times).

Part of: Beethoven Celebration

Sir András Schiff is also performing April 2.


Sir András Schiff, Piano



Piano Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp Major, Op. 78

Piano Sonata No. 25 in G Major, Op. 79

Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Major, Op. 81a, "Les adieux"

Piano Sonata No. 27 in E Minor, Op. 90

Piano Sonata No. 28 in A Major, Op. 101

The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of The Jack Benny Family Foundation in support of the 2019-2020 season.

Lead support for the Beethoven Celebration is provided by The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund.

National Endowment for the Arts: arts.gov

Public support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.

At a Glance

The five consecutively numbered sonatas on this afternoon’s program span the years 1809 to 1816, when Beethoven was transitioning from the “heroic” idiom of his middle period to the more introspective, convoluted language of his later works. He had special affection for his Piano Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp Major, written in the wake of the mighty “Emperor” Piano Concerto. Commissioned by the London-based publisher and pianist Muzio Clementi, the two-movement work is notable for its tonality—unique in Beethoven’s oeuvre—as well as its concision and dynamic energy. It was published in 1810 in tandem with the equally concise Piano Sonata in G Major.

The programmatic Piano Sonata in E-flat Major commemorates the departure from Vienna (and subsequent return) of Beethoven’s benefactor Archduke Rudolph during the Napoleonic Wars; the three movements are titled “The Farewell,” “Absence,” and “The Reunion.” Beethoven waited some five years to write his next work in the genre, the dramatic and highly compressed E-Minor Piano Sonata of 1814, and an additional two years separated it from its similarly unconventional sequel. Many aspects of the A-Major Piano Sonata—from the tonal and metrical ambiguity of the first movement, which Wagner considered a prime specimen of “endless melody,” to the profusion of canonic and fugal writing—foreshadow the dense, knotty idiom of Beethoven’s late-period works.

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