This is Concert 3 today of a nine concert series by internationally celebrated Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder.  Over the span of these concerts Rudolf Buchbinder will be playing all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.  This concert covered Sonata in F Major op 10 no 2, Sonata in E minor op 90 and Sonata in B Flat Major op 106 “Hammerklavier”.

Playing to a packed audience in the amazing space of the wonderful neoclassical Playfair Library Hall, we were simply treated to an hour of beautiful music composed by a genius and played by a master of not only the piano, but the ability to bring music to life for an audience.  If I was to choose a favourite here today for me, it would be the Sonata in E Minor, but that is purely because I just love the sounds of minor scales.  There is just something sorrowful about the minors that the majors seem to lack.  There was of course a huge range of moods and styles in these three pieces of music and even in such a short space of time over such a tiny portion of Beethoven’s musical output we were given a taste of just how enormous and varied this musical legacy to us all is.

I have to admit that I am probably an odd reviewer to be writing a piece on a great classical pianist like Rudolf Buchbinder, or a classical genius like Beethoven as I am not (as many of the audience here may be) a student of classical music, or even a huge lover of exclusively classical music.  Music is music to me in all its varied forms.  I am just as happy listening to the beautiful music of Beethoven as I am to Punk, Reggae, Jazz , Gospel, Rock, Folk and many other musical genres.  My first exposure to the music of Beethoven was not as a classical composer, but actually finding out that he was the original composer of music I heard in pop music – such as The Beatles’ “Because” from their Abbey Road album which uses music from Moonlight Sonata.  This is the strength of Beethoven’s musical legacy over the years, it is woven into our culture in films, song, advertising, and music all around us without us often realising it.

There is at times a bit of a myth surrounding classical music that you have to know a lot about the music to enjoy it, or that it belongs to a certain class in society.  Both are of course completely wrong.  Classical music, and the music of Beethoven played beautifully today, belongs to everyone and you need to know nothing about its history or musical arrangement to sit back and enjoy the music and the way that it can just get into your mood and soul.

Listening to any Beethoven music, I often wonder just what he would be writing now if he was alive.  I am sure that someone who was forever experimenting with and pushing musical boundaries would still be doing that today.  Just imagine what modern technology and studio technology would allow him to do?  I think some of the results would surprise us all.

Whether you are a serious lover of classical music or like me just love beautiful music played by a master musician then you are in for a treat over the span of these concerts as there will be something there for everyone.  I am only sorry that time at this Festival only allows me to catch up with this one.


Review By

Tom King


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