Ludwig van Beethoven. The Complete Piano Sonata Cycle. Concert 5
The Three Palaces 2023
Michael Laus (soloist & presenter) Francis Camilleri - Pianist
Caroline Calleja - Pianist
Marco Rivoltini - Pianist
RECITAL FIVE (Opus 54, 57, 78, 79, 81a, 90, 101)
Op.54 Piano Sonata No. 22 in F major Michael Laus
I. In Tempo d’un Minuetto – II. Allegretto
Op.57 Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor (Appassionata) Francis Camilleri
I. Allegro assai – II. Andante con moto – III. Allegro ma non troppo
Op.78 Piano Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp Michael Laus
I. Adagio cantabile; Allegro ma non troppo – II. Allegro vivace
– LONG INTERVAL – (with drinks and canapés reception)
Op.79 Piano Sonata No. 25 in G major (Sonatine) Francis Camilleri
I. Presto alla tedesca – II. Andante – III. Vivace
Op.81a Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat major (Les adieux) Caroline Calleja
I. Les adieux: Adagio; Allegr0 – II. L’absence : Andante espressivo – III. Le retour: Vivacissimamente
– SHORT INTERVAL – (with wine bar)
Op.90 Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor Francis Camilleri
I. Mit Lebhaftigkeit und durchaus mit Empfindung und Ausdruck – II. Nicht zu geschwind und sehr singbarvorgetragen
Op.101 Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major Marco Rivoltini
I. Allegretto ma non troppo – II. Vivace alla marcia – III. Adagio, ma non troppo, con affetto – IV. Allegro
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), display 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 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.
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 Licentiate 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 a 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.
Marco Rivoltini 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, the 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.