Ludwig van Beethoven. The Complete Piano Sonata Cycle. Concert 3
The Three Palaces 2023
Michael Laus (soloist & presenter)
Francis Camilleri - Pianist
RECITAL THREE (Opus 22, 26, 27, 28)
Op.22 Piano Sonata No. 11 in B-flat major (Grande Sonate) Michael Laus
I. Allegro con brio – II. Adagio con molta espressione – III. Minuetto – IV. Rondo: Allegretto
Op.26 Piano Sonata No. 12 in A-flat major (Grande Sonate) Francis Camilleri
I. Andante con Variazioni – II. Scherzo: Allegro molto – III. Marcia funebre: sulla morte d’un eroe – IV. Allegro
– LONG INTERVAL – (with drinks and canapés reception)
Op.27 no.1 Piano Sonata No. 13 in E-flat major (Quasi una fantasia) Michael Laus
I. Andante; Allegro – II. Allegro molto e vivace – III. Adagio con espressione; Allegro vivace
Op.27 no.2 Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor (Quasi una fantasia - Moonlight) Michael Laus I. Adagio sostenuto – II. Allegretto – III. Presto agitato
– SHORT INTERVAL – (with wine bar)
3.3Op.28 Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major (Grande Sonate - Pastorale) Francis Camilleri I. Allegro – II. Andante – III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace – IV. Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo
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 an Associate Professor in Music Studies at the University of Malta.
Francis Camilleri Francis Camilleri formally commenced his pianoforte studies with Lucia Micallef and continued his tuition with Karen Briscoe, obtaining his Licentiate from the Royal Schools of Music with distinction. He also took regular lessons with Vanessa Latarche at the Royal College of Music, London. Francis graduated from the University of Malta with a master’s in music in pianoforte performance under the tuition of Michael Laus and has participated in master classes led by John Lill, Mikhail Pethukov, and Young-Choon Park, amongst others. Francis was coached in harmony and counterpoint by Joseph Vella, Malta’s leading composer. He has performed in the most important venues in Malta and in prestigious festivals including the Victoria International Arts Festival, Valletta Baroque Festival, and Three Palaces Festival, amongst others. Francis currently teaches at the Visual and Performing Arts School and is a member of the Laudate Pueri Choir and the Victoria International Arts Festival.