Ludwig van Beethoven. The Complete Piano Sonata Cycle. Concert 6
The Three Palaces 2023
Michael Laus - Soloist & presenter Alexander Panfilov - Pianist RECITAL SIX (Opus 106, 109, 110, 111)
Op.106 Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major (Grande Sonate – Hammerklavier) Alexander Panfilov
I. Allegro – II. Scherzo: Assai vivace – III. Adagio sostenuto – IV. Largo; Allegro risoluto: Fuga a tre voci, con alcune licenze
– LONG INTERVAL – (with tea, Maltese sweet wine and scones or Maltese sweets)
Op.109 Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major Michael Laus
I. Vivace, ma non troppo; Adagio espressivo – II. Prestissimo – III. Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo
Op.110 Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major Michael Laus
I. Moderato cantabile molto espressivo – II. Allegro molto – III. Adagio ma non troppo: recitativo; Arioso dolente; Fuga: Allegro ma non troppo
– SHORT INTERVAL – (with champagne and biscotti di mandorla; or vin santo e cantucci)
Op.111 Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor Michael Laus
I. Maestoso; Allegro con brio ed appassionato – II. Arietta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile
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 an Associate Professor in Music Studies at the University of Malta.
Alexander Panfilov Alexander Panfilov, the Russian-born pianist now based in Vienna, is celebrated for his extraordinary sensitivity and responsive music making. He boasts victories in over fifteen international piano competitions, including the James Mottram Competition in Manchester, Rina Sala Gallo Competition in Monza, Jaen International Piano Competition, and more.
With performances spanning 20 countries, including the USA, UK, Europe, and Asia, Panfilov has performed at venues like Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, Musikverein in Vienna, and Philharmonic Halls in Moscow and St. Petersburg. As a soloist with an extensive concerto repertoire, he's collaborated with renowned orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London and the La Verdi Orchestra of Milan, under the baton of esteemed conductors like Vassily Sinaiski and Vassily Petrenko.
Panfilov is a regular guest at esteemed music festivals, including Interlaken Festival and Oxford Lieder Festival, and his performances have been broadcast worldwide. He's released albums on Naxos and KNS Classical, showcasing his passion for diverse music collaborations and chamber music.
Born in Moscow, Alexander Panfilov began his piano journey at age six and honed his skills at prestigious institutions like the Gnessin Music School, the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory Royal Northern College of Music and the Music University of Vienna. He's an Honorary Associate Artist and a Member of the Royal Northern College of Music.