Piano Sonata No. 17, Op. 31, part 1

Piano Sonata No. 17, Op. 31, part 1

Piano Sonata No. 17, Op. 31, part 1

Ludwig van Beethoven

Till Fellner's masterclass

Produced by the Saline royale Academy English Music sheet annotated by  Till  Fellner  is available 57 min Piano

Till Fellner and Samuel Bach explore dynamics and more in this lesson.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy

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The masterclass

About this masterclass

In this masterclass, Professor Till Fellner works with Samuel Bach to bring out the contrast and expression in Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17. Fellner discusses when and how to use the pedal to achieve clarity of sound and articulation. He also challenges the student to maintain the same intensity in the sound while strictly adhering to the pianissimo dynamics when they are dictated. Because the buildups to the climactic moments of the piece take time, Fellner encourages the student to pace himself with the dynamics and even tempo so that the arrivals are more meaningful. He also shows the student how to make the surprising and sudden changes in the music more impactful. He illustrates the contrasting characters in the music and helps the student achieve a quality of sound for each that matches.

Furthermore, he also discusses locations in the music where the hands could be better coordinated to produce a more equal balance and ease of technique. 

What we learn in this masterclass

  1. Making the best use of the pedal. 

  2. Remaining in pianissimo when marked, regardless of intensity and expression. 

  3. Pacing the tempo and dynamics for dramatic effect.

  4. Capturing the contrasting characters of the music.

  5. Coordination and balance between the two hands.

Piano Sonata No. 17, Op. 13 by Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor was composed in 1801-2. It is commonly referred to as The Tempest, as Beethoven’s associate Anton Schindler claimed the piece drew inspiration from Shakespeare’s play of the same name, though many scholars doubt this. It is one of Beethoven’s more frequently performed piano sonatas. Each of the three movements is in sonata form. The first movement, Largo - Allegro, has only a brief Largo introduction before transitioning into a bold Allegro that vacillates between serenity and turmoil. The tumultuous section is often described as a storm that eventually overrides the calmer music. The second movement, Adagio, is a stately yet lyrical slow movement with a truncated development and juxtaposed high and low registers. The piece ends with a flowing Allegretto, which is characterized by sudden spurts of dark emotion and loud interjections. A cadenza-like passage of sixteenth notes leads to a dramatic fortissimo climax, before the movement ebbs away into a subtle conclusion. 

  • Date:16 April 2021
  • Producer: Produced by the Saline royale Academy
  • Duration:57 min
  • Spoken language:English

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 Till Fellner’s feedback and comments.

Sheet music piano sonata no. 17, op. 31, part 1

Till Fellner

Till  Fellner

First prize in the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Vevey, Switzerland in 1993.

Originally from Vienna, Austria, Till Fellner studied with Helene Sedo-Stadler before going on to study privately with Alfred Brendel, Meira Farkas, Oleg Maisenberg, and Claus-Christian Schuster. Till Fellner’s international career began in 1993, when he won first prize at the renowned Concours Clara Haskil Competition in Vevey, Switzerland. Since then, he has been regularly invited to play for prestigious orchestras, festivals and music centers of Europe, the United States, and Japan. He regularly collaborates with world-famous musicians, and has produced numerous recordings of the most important works in the piano repertoire. He has been teaching at the Zurich Hochschule der Künste since 2013.

As soloist, he performs with orchestras like Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and NHK Symphony Orchestra. Furthermore, Till Fellner has collaborated with Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Christoph von Dohnányi, among many others. In the field of chamber music, Fellner regularly collaborates with British tenor Mark Padmore and with the Belcea Quartet.

Over the past few years, he has dedicated himself to two milestones of the piano repertoire: The Well-Tempered Clavier of Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as the 32 piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven. He performed the Beethoven cycle from 2008 to 2010 in New York, Washington, Tokyo, London, Paris, and Vienna. Moreover, Fellner has premiered works by Kit Armstrong, Harrison Birtwistle, Thomas Larcher, Alexander Stankovski, and Hans Zender. The ECM label, for whom Till Fellner is an exclusive recording artist, has released the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier and the Two & Three-Part Inventions of J. S. Bach, Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 4 & 5 with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Kent Nagano, chamber music by Harrison Birtwistle. In 2016, Alpha Classics released the recording of the piano quintet by Johann Brahms with the Belcea Quartet. This recording received the “Diapason d’Or de l’Année”. Two years later, a CD entitled Till Fellner in Concert, a live recording featuring the works of Franz Liszt and Beethoven was publicly released.

van Beethoven

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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