The Kutná Hora International Music Festival - 2021


The complete 32 Piano Sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) – Programme VIII


All events



8:30 PM

Kostel sv. Jana Nepomuckého

Kutná Hora

300 - 300 CZK



The triptych of Beethoven´s last sonatas stands out as a lasting monument of piano literature. Much about them can be learned from the composer´s sketchbooks. We thus know that Beethoven worked on them simultaneously, while also composing his last string quartets and the Missa Solemnis. Numerous corrections and deletions in the score attest to his protracted grappling with material. The fact that he assigned a distinct opus number to each of the sonatas speaks of the importance he attached to them. Here indeed are three highly individual works written for an instrument rather than the voice – for Beethoven did not need text to awaken in the listener an unmistakeably religious feeling. This is not music by an atheist. These are compositions by an ageing, ailing man turning to the archetypes of music and humanity. There are explicit quotes here from Bach´s St John Passion, more than a few motifs relating to Beethoven´s own Missa Solemnis, as well as references to lamentations and chiming bells. After the sequence of emotional tempests exemplified by the sonatas of his “heroic period”, we may now be surprised by the simplicity to which the deaf composer had evolved in his final sonata, drawing inspiration from a folk song.


Sonata for Piano No. 30 in E major, Op. 109

I. Vivace, ma non troppo – Adagio espressivo
II. Prestissimo
III. Andante. Molto cantabile ed espressivo Gesang mit innigster Empfindung

Sonata for Piano No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110

I. Moderato cantabile molto espressivo
II. Molto Allegro
III. Adagio ma non troppo – Arioso dolente – Fuga. Allegro ma non troppo – L’istesso tempo di Arioso Perdendo le forze, dolente – L’istesso tempo della Fuga poi a poi di nuovo vivente


Sonata for Piano No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111

I. Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato
II. Arietta. Adagio molto semplice e cantabile


Konstantin Lifschitz – piano

Length 90 minutes
Ludwig van Beethoven