Summer evenings with Beethoven sonatas

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jun 18, 2012 - 20:00
  • Updated : Jun 18, 2012 - 20:00
Classical artists explore dramatic and passionate life of Beethoven

There is apparently no specific reason why many classical artists have chosen Beethoven sonatas for their recitals and recordings this year.

Starting with pianist Kim Sun-wook’s two-year-long project to perform all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, the so-called “Beethoven fever” continued with rookie Lim Hyun-jung releasing her debut album of 30 sonatas by the great German composer.

“Beethoven’s life was full of challenges but, at the same time, was an idealistic one. His music soothes the human soul tormented by an uncertain future and also talks about hope. This probably has captivated many contemporary artists who are currently facing difficulties in the classical music market,” said Lee Sang-min, a senior manager of classic and jazz at Warner Music Korea.

This month, star artists are inviting audiences on journeys through Beethoven sonatas, for both the piano and the violin.

The highlight of the offerings is 25-year-old pianist Kim’s performance of the second installment of four pieces of Beethoven piano sonatas in chronological order on June 21 at the LG Arts Center in Seoul. Kim, who kicked off his ambitious project in March, will play Beethoven sonatas No. 5 to No. 8, commonly known as “Pathetique.”

“I was attracted to the composer’s compassionate side and warm heart shown in his music. He did not hide his feelings at all. Whenever he feels bad or is in love, it is all in his music,” said Kim in a previous interview. 
Pianist Kim Sun-wook. (LG Arts Center)

The first seven sonatas offered him an opportunity to understand what musical fundamentals are and the audience will experience how Beethoven attempted to transform the classic sonata forms starting with the piano sonata No. 8, he added.

Kim was the youngest pianist to win the prestigious Leeds Competition in 2006. The star pianist is currently based in London for a three-year master’s degree in conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, to expand his musical experience.

The third and fourth installments of Kim’s performance of Beethoven’s 32 sonatas will be held at LG Arts Center on Sept. 6 and Nov. 8, respectively. The schedule for the 2013 recitals will be announced later. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114 or visit www.lgart.com.
Isabelle Faust (left) and Alexander Melnikov. (LG Arts Center)

German violinist Isabelle Faust and her long-time musical partner pianist Alexander Melnikov, both famous for their collaboration on Beethoven’s complete violin sonatas, will perform at LG Arts Center on June 24. The duo surprised the classical music scene with their award-winning CD on Beethoven’s complete sonatas for violin and piano in 2009. The album that demonstrated their sophisticated musical talent and mesmerizing performance, won numerous awards including U.K.’s Gramophone Award, BBC Music Choice Award and ECHO Classic award.

In Seoul, the two artists will offer Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano No.4 and No. 5, also known as “Spring,” and No. 9 “Kreutzer.” Unlike many compositions by Beethoven that depict his musical anguish, “Spring” is full of warmth and compassion, critics say.

Tickets are from 30,000 won to 70,000 won.

By Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldcorp.com)