James Lisney returns to St George’s with a series of four recitals that focus upon the late works of Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and Chopin; some of the most endlessly satisfying of piano works.
Beethoven towers over this opening programme; the lyrical Sonata in E, opus 109 was written whilst the composer was at work on the Missa Solemnis; it could equally bear that work’s famous inscription ‘From the heart, may it go again to the heart’.
Beethoven was an uneasy pupil of ‘Papa’ Haydn; the wit and virtuosity of the older composer’s Sonata in C must have impressed the ‘great barbarian’ (as Haydn gently referred to him) but he never acceded to the request to put at the head of a single composition…by Ludwig van Beethoven, pupil of Joseph Haydn.
At Beethoven’s funeral in 1827, Grillparzer’s fulsome eulogy posed the question ‘Who shall stand beside him?’. A year later, Schubert provided a conclusive answer with three great sonatas, including the turbulent Sonata D 958, written in the most Beethovenian key of C minor.
Frederyk Chopin was openly critical of Beethoven but even he alluded to him in several of his own compositions. The Nocturnes, opus 62 mine the same vein that Beethoven opened up in his late sonatas, including endless melodies and the transcendent power of chains of trills.
“I have nothing but praise for James Lisney`s piano playing; he combines velvet touch and wide range of colour with complete understanding of phrasing and dynamic shading. This is someone who can really give the mechanical box of wires and wood a singing soul.” The Telegraph