Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 10
In this masterclass, Professor Denis Pascal and student Akihito Maruyama work on Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 7.
To begin with, Pascal explains to his student that the intervals carry the expression and the musical tension of this piece. Notes must have a relationship, and nothing can be ambiguous. Clarity is essential, and Maruyama must be sure of himself and avoid hesitations. Pascal also advises his student to avoid slowing down, to stay focused, and to maintain a constant pulse. He must “sing” the music and avoid being too heavy to try and convey intensity. Moreover, the Professor stresses the importance of enjoying the experience of performing, as well as paying attention to all the minute details.
Staying as relaxed as possible.
Keeping a constant pulse.
Keeping up the expressiveness and the musical tension.
Staying focused and enjoying the musical experience.
Ludwig van Beethoven composed his Piano Sonata No. 7 in 1798 as the final work in an opus of three piano sonatas. The work premiered during his early period of composition, during which he generally adhered to typical Viennese tradition in the style of Haydn or Mozart, but with his own added flair. However, this opus began to show hints of experimentation and innovation. All three sonatas were dedicated to Countess Anne Margarete von Browne, Beethoven’s piano student and the wife of one of his patrons. Sonata No. 7 is the longest work in the opus, containing four movements. The first, Presto, is a spirited and cheerful movement in sonata form. The second movement, Largo e mesto, is the most famous from the piece, displaying an expressivity, beauty, and sense of tragedy indicative of Beethoven’s later works. The third movement, Menuetto: Allegro, is a short, graceful interlude in ternary form that breezes by. The work concludes with Rondo, an exhilarating exploration of a three-note motive that ends virtuosically yet quietly.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this piano masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Denis Pascal’s feedback and comments.
His monographic disc devoted to Jean Wiener for Sisyphe won a Diapason d'Or.
Denis Pascal performs in France and throughout the world as a soloist and chamber musician. He has made numerous appearances in the United States in venues such as: Lincoln Center and Merkin Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and more, as well as in Asia: Yokohama Festival in Japan, Seoul, and in Europe in Palermo, Rome, Venice, Lisbon, Helsinki, Liepaja, Madrid, Valencia, etc. He is regularly invited in Germany to the prestigious Husum Piano Festival, where he performs the most audacious programs. In Paris, he has been applauded by audiences at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Théâtre de la Ville, the Salle Gaveau and the Opéra Garnier, as well as at numerous international festivals.
He has performed with the national orchestras of Lyon, Bordeaux, Besançon, Toulouse, and the Orchestre d'Auvergne. His concerts are well-thought-out: commited to maintaining a historical awareness of the repertoire, he often leaves the beaten track and gives concerts that are both striking and accessible to all, rigorously applying a consistent ethic to the Liszt repertoire, as well as to impressionist music and post-romantic scores.
Denis Pascal was appointed professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon in January 2010 and at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in April 2011. Moreover, he has contributed to the elaboration of several didactic works in collaboration with the Cité de la Musique in Paris.
Born in Bonn, Germany in 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most mainstream references of Classicism — a pianist, composer, and an unequivocal genius. Descending from a long line of musicians, Beethoven studied music from an early age, beginning with the piano, clarinet, and the organ. At the ripe age of 11-years-old, Beethoven received his first job as a court organist, replacing his own teacher for a period of time. A veritable young prodigy, Beethoven was publicly compared to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and a few years later, the young musician traveled to Vienna to briefly study under the tutelage of Mozart himself. In his late 20s, Beethoven noticed difficulties with his hearing and by his mid 40s, he was completely deaf and unable to vocally communicate. Despite this misfortune, he remarkably continued to compose music. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 was written after he had entirely lost his hearing. While his early musical career heavily reflected the Viennese Classical tradition inherited by the likes of Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven achieved a unique revolutionary identity by the end of his career. Deceased in 1827, his wake was a public event that gathered around 10,000 people. Despite his passing, Beethoven’s legacy lives on. His works anticipated many of the features that would characterize music in the romantic era and even that of the 20th century.