Paul Lewis - Solo Recital
Paul Lewis - Solo Recital
4. Feb Â» 17:00 Norðurljós | Harpa
Joseph Haydn Piano Sonata í C major Hob. XVI/50
Ludwig van Beethoven 11 Bagatelles op. 119
Johannes Brahms 6 Piano Pieces op. 118
Joseph Haydn Piano Sonata in G major Hob. XVI/40
To conclude his residency with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the master pianist Paul Lewis presents a solo recital of music by Haydn, Beethoven, and Brahms. The programme is part of a larger project by Lewis, to present the works of these masters in major concert halls around the world. Lewis himself writes about this project: I've wanted to explore the piano sonatas of Haydn in detail for some time. It's unfortunate that these works don't get played as often as they deserve, as they contain some of the most startlingly original and irresistibly absurd piano writing in the entire repertoire. There aren't many composers whose music can raise a laugh from an audience, but Haydn certainly tops that short list. His outrageous ability to surprise, shock, and poke fun at the listener still feels remarkably fresh in an age when ever-increasing extremes have become the norm. Brahms is a composer I've come to love more recently. Few composers manage to fuse wild passion and high drama with such supreme perfection of the craft of composition - a perfection that, for me, felt untouchable for many years. Brahms strikes me as an overwhelmingly contradictory composer whose madness has an inner logic, and in whose hands the rawest of emotion can sound simultaneously unrestrained and refined.
I realised that I couldn't resist dedicating a few years to exploring Haydn and Brahms but felt that, in practice, the programmes would need another element to bring these two hugely contrasting composers together. That element wasn't too difficult to find. Many of the miniatures in Beethoven's three sets of Bagatelles have much in common with the quirkish humour of Haydn, while some others look forward unmistakably to the heartfelt romanticism of Brahms. The Diabelli Variations - arguably Beethoven's greatest piano work - goes even further in both directions and, in the context of this series, serves as a summing up of the whole. I can think of no piano work more wide-ranging in character than Beethoven's final major work for the instrument. It encompasses everything from the blustering to the introspective, the farcical to the deeply serious, the tender-hearted to the downright bloody-minded - and a final variation which, miraculously, manages to rise above it all while looking in all possible directions at once.