4.8.14 | Nope
That is my reaction to Beethoven’s Op. 106. It was my first reaction, and it will always be my reaction. Few compositions have had me sit there in awe of its incredible profundity. It is a work experimental in nature, written when Beethoven was completely deaf, and stands among the greatest in his oeuvre, among the greatest in piano literature. However, it is not recognized as so. Popularity has given itself to his lesser sonatas, the “Moonlight”, the “Pathetique”, the “Tempest”, and so on. Beethoven in general is reputed as one of the more known classical composers, but I don’t believe that he intended his music to be popular, and certainly, he did not intend his Op. 106, “Hammerklavier” to be popular.
Music is ethereal before it is intellectual, but I feel as if Beethoven intended a scientific construction to this work. It is anything but standard, with its four movements (typical for a symphony!), and a monstrous and incomprehensible fugue of a finale. It is a work revered by scholars, but few truly do love it. I say “nope” because I do not accept its existence. It is far too rich in material to be attributed to just one composer.
The Op. 106 is a performer’s nightmare, but fortunately we are blessed with those dedicated to communicating Beethoven’s music, those who are very capable of pulling off such a feat. The piano used in this recording is a Bosendorfer, not the standard Steinway. I think that its warm, dark tone is suited for Beethoven.