Ludwig van Beethoven. The Complete Piano Sonata Cycle. Concert 2
The Three Palaces 2023
Michael Laus (soloist & presenter)
Maria Elena Farrugia - Pianist
Marco Rivoltini - Pianist
RECITAL TWO (Opus 10, 13, 14)
Op.10 no.1 Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor Maria Elena Farrugia
I. Allegro molto e con brio – II. Adagio molto – III. Finale: Prestissimo
Op.10 no.2 Piano Sonata No. 6 in F major Maria Elena Farrugia
I. Allegro – II. Allegretto – III. Presto
– LONG INTERVAL – (with drinks and canapés reception)
Op.10 no.3 Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major Maria Elena Farrugia
I. Presto – II. Largo e mesto – III. Menuetto: Allegro – IV. Rondo:Allegro
Op.13 Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor (Grande Sonate Pathétique)Marco Rivoltini
I. Grave; Allegro di molto e con brio – II. Adagio cantabile – III. Rondo: Allegro
– SHORT INTERVAL – (with wine bar)
2.3Op 14 no.1 Piano Sonata No. 9 in E major Michael Laus
I. Allegro – II. Allegretto – III. Rondo: Allegro comodo
Op.14 no.2 Piano Sonata No. 10 in G major Marco Rivoltini I. Allegro – II. Andante – III. Scherzo: Allegro assai
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 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.
Maria-Elena Farrugia is an established and highly sought-after Maltese pianist. She has recently been engaged by Joseph Calleja to accompany him in Andorra la Vella "L'Elixir de l’Òpera”, Arte’s Europe@Home, and the Met Opera At-Home Gala. She has participated in and won many local and international competitions. In 2003, she won the EPTA (Malta) Competition which enabled her to attend lessons at the Liszt Academy in Budapest with one of the jury, Profs. Balazs Szokolay. She has also won 1st prize in the 12th Gianluca Campochiaro Competition (Pedara, Sicily), 6th Young Musicians Contest of the Malta Society of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce, and in the Bice Mizzi Vassallo Music Competition, resulting in a week of Masterclasses at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester tutored by acclaimed pianist, Norma Fisher. In Manchester she performed as a soloist and with several duo and chamber ensembles, including Philetas Piano Trio. She is highly sought after for engagements in Gozo, Malta and the UK, where she works with multiple professional artists including Joseph Calleja, at the Presidential Palace, the Manoel Theatre, and in the Malta International Arts Festival Masterclasses, tutored by internationally acclaimed pianists Y. Didenko, V. Scherbakov, A. Zenziper, C. Traxler and A. Zolotarev. Maria-Elena holds a Masters of Music in Piano Performance from RNCM, where she studied with Prof. Sally Ann MacLeod, a PGCE, and First Class Honours in her Bachelor of Music from University of Malta, where she studied with Prof. Michael Laus. Maria-Elena also dabbles in contemporary music genres with various local ensembles, and is currently a full-time music teacher and staff pianist at the Malta school of Music.
Marco Rivoltini has graduated in pianoforte at the Conservatory “A.Boito” of Parma and in chamber music at the Academy of Florence. He has followed postgraduate courses in piano performance with Prof. Eli Perrotta, Prof. C.A. Pastorelli, and Prof. Pier Narciso Masi. He has graduated from the International School of Chamber Music held by the Trio of Trieste and with a DAMS degree from the University of Bologna. He has been awarded prizes in national and international competitions in Italy both as a soloist and in chamber music formation.
He has given recitals in diverse musical manifestations in Italy, France, Syria, UK, and Switzerland. He has recorded original contemporary Maltese works by Joseph Vella. Performances with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra for 2 pianos and orchestra vary from Poulenc to Saint Saens, Arnold, Tansman, McDonald, Mendelssohn, and Bruch. He has been invited to perform for the opening of the Victoria Arts Festival on different occasions. He also gave the world premiere of J Vella’s Concerto for Two Pianos in Marseilles with a repetition at the Lincoln Centre, New York. He presently tutors piano and chamber music at the Malta School of Music.