Monday, March 22, 2010

A 3 B's Evening - Till Fellner at The Austrian Embassy

How should Beethoven be played?

How did Ludwig van 

want his music to sound?

And what responsibility does the artist have 

in interpreting a composer's works? 

These are some of the questions

that were running through my head 

as I listened to 

Till Fellner at The Austrian Embassy

earlier this evening. 

Till is in the midst of presenting all of the Beethoven Sonatas

and tonight he performed 

No. 9, 10, 8, 11, & 26. 

As I listened to him perform 

the words


and purity

came to mind.

Till played with a firm and gentle purpose.

With a calculated and calibrated precision. 

The concert was beautiful 


 Mr. Fellner is obviously very, very talented. 

BUT is this the way to play Beethoven?

When I think of Beethoven

I often think of 

forceful playing,



and music that might teeter on the brink. 

There was little if any of that this evening. 

I really have loved Fellner's recordings of Bach's 

Well-Tempered Clavier


Inventionen und Sinfonien

and feel that his approach is better suited to this composer. 

I think his style might work well with Brahms 

and look forward to hearing that in the future.


  1. Interesting question! I tell my students that you should play what the composer wrote first, then interpret, if you wish. Not much of a tightrope to walk there... My favorite musical disalignment was Glenn Gould playing Mozart in the dry and hopeless way that so many others play Bach. Also, myself playing Bach's Prelude in C# minor with an almost Chopinian romanticism. For me, the question is - does it work? And of course, the answer changes from one set of ears to the next. I personally prefer my Beethoven nearly raw.

  2. Hello Cinch,

    Thanks for stopping by and for chiming in. As I said, Till's playing was really good BUT I think you & I agree that Beethoven should be played with a bit more abandon.



  3. Such beautiful descriptions, I would love to go on a music history tour of Europe!

  4. Hello Patty,

    Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed it. A music history tour of Europe would be fun. Usually when I travel I do pay a lot of attention to music, going to concerts and composers' homes etc... I visited Sibelius's home when I was in Helsinki. Would love to go to Grieg's home as well as Chopin's. One of these days.



  5. David, I'll be sure to call you to help identify my next anonymous classical earworm!

  6. Hello Willow,

    Please do. I'd love to chat with you. I hope things are going well enough at your house.



  7. I love beethoven! His music is incredible