Ludwig van Beethoven. The Complete Piano Sonata Cycle. Concert 1
The Three Palaces 2023
Michael Laus (soloist & presenter)
Caroline Calleja - Pianist
RECITAL ONE (Opus 2, 49, 7)
Op.2 no.1 Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor Caroline Calleja
I. Allegro – II. Adagio – III. Menuetto: Allegretto – IV. Prestissimo
Op.2 no.2 Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major Caroline Calleja
I. Allegro – II. Largo appassionato – III. Scherzo: Allegretto – IV. Rondo: Grazioso
– LONG INTERVAL – (with drinks and canapés reception)
Op.2 no.3 Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major Caroline Calleja
I. Allegro con brio – II. Adagio – III. Allegro – IV. Allegro assai
Op.49 no.1 Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor (Sonata facile) Michael Laus
I. Andante – II. Rondo: Allegro
Op.49 no.2 Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major (Sonata facile) Michael Laus
I. Allegro, ma non troppo – II. Tempo di Minuetto
– SHORT INTERVAL – (with wine bar)
Op.7 Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-flat major (Grande Sonate) Michael Laus
I. Allegro molto e con brio – II. Largo, con gran espressione – III. Allegro – IV.
Rondo: Poco Allegretto e grazioso
Considered by many pianists and critics as the New Testament of piano literature, the Old Testament being J.S.Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Beethoven’s thirty-two sonatas span most of his creative period, starting from the three sonatas Op. 2 composed in 1795 and dedicated to his teacher Joseph Haydn and going right up to his last monumental C minor Sonata Op. 111, composed in 1822 during his so-called third compositional period. Since Beethoven composed piano sonatas uninterruptedly throughout this period, by listening to the sonatas in chronological order one can have an almost complete overview of his development as a composer. The first group of thirteen works display various facets of the classical style, with the piano writing influenced by Haydn, Mozart, and Clementi. This group concludes with Op.22 (1800), with which Beethoven says adieu to the classical style. The middle period sonatas, ranging from Op. 26 (1801) to Op. 90 (1814), displays the composer continuously experimenting with form, harmony, and piano writing, including innovative uses of the sustain pedal. In the last five sonatas, from Op. 101 (1816) to Op. 111 (1822), there is a much greater use of counterpoint – in fact, two of the sonatas, Op. 106 and Op. 110, end with fugues – and explore the newly expanded register of the piano to the full. Each one of these last works has its own particular form, which develops naturally more from the musical content than from any pre-established forms.
The first pianist to perform and record the complete cycle of sonatas was Artur Schnabel in 1935. He was followed by several pianists whose recorded cycles became legendary, most notably Wilhelm Kempff, Wilhelm Backhaus, Yves Nat, Claudio Arrau, and, more recently, Daniel Barenboim and András Schiff.
Michael Laus Michael Laus graduated in piano, harpsichord and composition at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi of Milan in 1982. He later participated in master classes in conducting given by George Manahan in the United States and Vladimir Delman in Bologna. Principal Conductor of Malta’s national orchestra for twenty-five years and now its Resident Conductor, he has conducted the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra in symphonic concerts in Malta, Belgium and Italy. He was the founder and first music director of the Malta Youth Orchestra and of the Goldberg Ensemble, a group specializing in baroque and classical music. In 2016, he conducted the first European performance of Arvo Pärt’s Greater Antiphons. He opened the first edition of the Valletta International Baroque Festival with Vivaldi’s Quattro stagioni. Michael Laus has conducted the Bournemouth Symphony, the Slovak Philharmonic, the New Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Asturias. He has directed several operatic productions at the Berne State Theatre and in Oviedo. These include new productions of Adriana Lecouvreur, Otello, Madama Butterfly and L’amico Fritz. He regularly appears in the double role of pianist/harpsichordist and conductor in a concerto repertoire ranging from baroque to twentieth-century works. In this double role, he has won international critical acclaim for his recording of Cyril Scott’s Harpsichord Concerto. He has recorded for Discover International, Unicorn-Khanchana and Cameo Classics. He is Associate Professor in Music Studies at the University of Malta.
Caroline Calleja Having performed extensively in Malta, around Europe, and in Washington (USA), Caroline Calleja is highly regarded as one of Malta's finest soloists and chamber musicians both as a pianist and harpist. She was the first-prize winner of various competitions and is a Licenciate of the Royal Schools of Music and of the Trinity College of Music. In 1999 Calleja obtained the Médaille d’Or in piano performance and Diplôme de Fins d’Études with distinction in harp performance from the Conservatoire National de Region de Lyon in France. She subsequently graduated Bachelor of Arts (Honours) First Class in Music Studies and Master of Music degree from the University of Malta where she majored in Piano Performance. Following her solo debut with the National Orchestra of Malta in 2000, Calleja performed numerous other times as a soloist with the same orchestra. She also performed in chamber formations with internationally acclaimed artists as well as solo recitals. Calleja has recorded and regularly performs works by Maltese composers, including various world premieres, both locally and abroad. Calleja was the principal harpist of the National Orchestra of Malta between 1998 and 2008 and still performs with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. She currently teaches harp at the Malta School of Music.