Download Beethoven: Sonata No.21 in C Major, "Waldstein" (Pletnev)
Beethoven: Sonata No.21 in C Major, "Waldstein" (Pletnev)
Beethoven: Sonata No.21 in C Major, 'Waldstein' (Pletnev)
This is one of Beethoven's most important works, often classed with the Appassionata and Les Aideux as one of the great sonatas of his middle period. There is too much to say about the structural/harm...
This is one of Beethoven's most important works, often classed with the Appassionata and Les Aideux as one of the great sonatas of his middle period. There is too much to say about the structural/harmonic innovations of this piece, but I suppose the most notable features about it are the extended modulation to the mediant (E major) in the first movement (the same modulation also features prominently in one of the most important late sonatas, the Hammerklavier), the linking of the first movement's 1st and 2nd themes via a 5-note falling motif, and the daring (not to say virtuosic) textures of the final rondo.

Movement I: 00:00
Movement II: 10:30
Movement III: 14:14*

Pletnev's performance is incredibly lively and buoyant -- check out the Rondo, where he thankfully avoids the overpedaling that even other great pianists end up doing (Beethoven's long sustained pedal marks, which ignore changes of harmony, were appropriate on the dry instruments of his time, but are clearly out of place on the modern grand, with its rich sonorities and lush sustaining pedal.) It's always nice to hear a performance of a Beethoven sonata that its not wearingly overserious, and is willing to pull on the structure a bit to emphasise "in-the-moment" textures (see 20:40) -- although by any measure this is a very serious performance of a very important part of the piano literature.
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