Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57, 1st movement, part 1

Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57, 1st movement, part 1

Ludwig van Beethoven

Dénes Várjon's masterclasses

English 45 min Piano

In this masterclass, Dénes Várjon and his student Gaspard Thomas work on a variety of dynamics as well as timing that is required in mastering this challenging piece.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy in November, 2021 at Arc-et-Senans.

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The masterclass

About this masterclass of Dénes Várjon

In part one of this masterclass, Dénes Várjon and Gaspard Thomas work on the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata Appassionato, delving into harmony, rhythm versus dissonance, building an element of surprise, timing of silences, and more.

Join Várjon and Thomas as they pursue the inner workings of this tempestuous piano piece. 

What we learn in this piano masterclass

  1. Examine harmony and texture.
  2. Not to play the beginning too relaxed.
  3. The beginning sequence requires fast reactions.
  4. Play the music as if you are the conductor, the leader.
  5. Timing of the silence
  • Student:Gaspard Thomas
  • Instruments: Piano
  • Date:05 November 2021
  • Academy:Academy Oct. 31 - Nov. 7, 2021
Dénes Várjon

Dénes Várjon

If I were a conductor, my attitude would be to not go with the melody or something like that, but wait. And let's see what's happening, kind of an expectation for something

Dénes Várjon

Sheet music

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 Dénes Várjon’s feedback and comments.

Dénes Várjon

Dénes Várjon

Dénes Várjon graduated from the Franz Liszt Music Academy in 1991, where his professors included Sándor Falvai, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados. Now, Vàrjon is considered to be one of the greatest living chamber musicians, working regularly with pre-eminent partners such as Steven Isserlis, Tabea Zimmermann, Kim Kashkashian, Jörg Widmann, Leonidas Kavakos, András Schiff, Heinz Holliger, Miklós Perényi, and Joshua Bell. As a soloist, he has performed at numerous concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Konzerthaus, and Wigmore Hall. He is frequently invited to work with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras such as the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and more. His recordings have received critical acclaim and he was the recipient of First Prize at the Piano Competition of Hungarian Radio, at the Leó Weiner Chamber Music Competition in Budapest, and at the Géza Anda Competition in Zurich. In 2020, Vàrjon received Hungary’s supreme award in culture, the Kossuth Prize.

Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57, 1st movement, part 1

The Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor by Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the greatest piano sonatas of its era, composed between 1804-1806 and dedicated to Count Franz von Brunswick. This particular Sonata is also known as Appassionata, translating to ‘passionate’ in Italian, however this nickname was only assigned to the composition some decades later. One of Beethoven’s most fierce and powerful sonatas, the Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor is divided in three movements that possess distinct dynamics and powerful expressions.

The first movement, Allegro assai begins with an almost ominous and menacing nature, full of concealed energy. It contains a sense of surprise demonstrated by contrasting dynamics and tones.



Ludwig van Beethoven

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.

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