Back to the Beginning (2)

Well, my column for January’s Musical Opinion Quarterly will soon be ready to meet its printer. Chris, our designer at Yellow Duck Design, has worked on it today (though, as always, there are some tweaks to be done to the text and music examples, now it’s set!) — and it actually incorporates the final bit of ‘data-collecting’ that I’ve done in the last several days.

In case you’ve not seen any of my attempts to gather information — via Twitter, for example — about the preference of sundry music lovers, pianists and other musical types concerning a specific performance issue, I ought to reveal that this is all about the first movement of Beethoven’s C minor ‘Pathétique‘ Sonata, Op. 13 (1797-8). And if you listened to the three structurally different versions in the YouTube videos I included in this posting of a few days ago, you’ll have guessed what I’m asking folks to reveal: I want to know whether people incline towards hearing or playing the movement with its ‘exposition repeat’ starting right at the beginning of the slow introduction; or with its repeat starting at the beginning of the Allegro section; or with its repeat omitted altogether… (So far, only that fine pianist Peter Donohoe has managed to prefer all three!):

donohoe

Now, of course, it may be that some people seeing this posting will wonder what all the fuss is about — so let me upload a scanned version of my previous discussion of this topic (as published in Musical Opinion Quarterly back in July) in order that everyone can be ‘on the same page’ when January’s issue brings with it the conclusion to my attempt to settle a row that’s simmered for more than 70 years. (If you want to order a copy of the magazine, or even subscribe — after all, I’m in it all the time! — you can do so here)

Here’s the previous instalment of my argument, anyhow — extracted from the other stuff on the magazine’s pages, so there are blanked bits and odd edges: try not to be too distracted!

PathetiqCol1a

PathetiqCol1b

PathetiqCol2

My ‘Ex. 4’, from the 1799 first edition

PathetiqCol4

PathetiqCol5

Well, there you are. If you want to know exactly what version I’m arguing against — even when a pretty terrific pianist is playing it! — here’s a performance in which a pretty terrific pianist is playing it…

Do, please, give it a spin! These issues matter, you know!

— As indeed does your reaction: let me know what you think! You are one of Beethoven’s addresees, after all: the man who wrote — or, at any rate, set — the line ‘This kiss to the whole world!’ (‘Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!’) composed with you in mind!

MD

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