Beethoven Piano Sonatas (3 & 16)

Pianist Olga Kopylova has simply launched her new album with São Paulo (Brazil)-based report label Azul Music: Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No. 3 in C Main, Op. 2 & No. 16 in G Main, Op. 31.

Born in Uzbekistan, Olga Kopylova joined the Uspensky Particular Music Faculty (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) on the age of six. She continued her research in Moscow on the Tchaikovsky Music School and is a graduate of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In 2000, she moved to Brazil, assuming the place of principal pianist of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), which she holds to this present day. In 2003, she launched her first solo album MORNING STAR, performing works by Russian composers. Since then, she has been part of a number of symphonic recordings and has carried out as a soloist with quite a few orchestras. Kopylova additionally develops actions with chamber music teams and participates in sociocultural initiatives. She is a professor on the OSESP Music Academy.

Learn on for the interview!


How did you get began in classical music?

I began my piano research in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on the Uspensky Particular Faculty of Music. My father was an engineer and he enormously loved classical music; the piano was his favorite instrument. He gave me my first classes in music by means of a educating technique known as the “Nikolaev Faculty”, and on the age of 6 he took me to the Uspensky Faculty. This college built-in the music training system which had been developed within the Soviet Union – the famend “Russian college”. My household moved to Moscow in 1994 and I resumed my research there, finally graduating from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

I met many overseas college students on the Conservatory – Brazilians amongst them. By way of a violinist colleague of mine, I realized about an audition in Brazil for a place as a pianist with the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra. That was how I ended up shifting to Brazil. I’ve been OSESP’s most important pianist since 2000.

Who’re your favorite composers and why?

Since I’m an expert musician who’s all the time working with music, it’s fairly troublesome to call my favorite composers. Every musical period options superb composers who’ve made fairly important contributions to the historical past of music. The names of all those that I love merely wouldn’t match on this interview. But when I may select some who make me really feel extra puzzled than others do, these can be:

  • Hildegard von Bingen – I love her for her braveness in being a inventive girl, prolific in so many fields on the time she lived, and for the purity of her music;

  • J. S. Bach – as a result of complexity of his polyphonic (many-sounds) language;

  • W. A. Mozart – for his sensible concepts, creativity and perfection;

  • L. van Beethoven – for his energy, power and depth, in addition to for his indomitable spirit;

  • R. Wagner – for his greatness;

  • F. Liszt – for his prolific manufacturing, virtuosity, and for having contributed a lot to piano repertoire;

  • C. Debussy – for his sophistication;

  • M. Ravel – for his distinctive method of making orchestrations;

  • C. Chaminade – for having produced so many lovely works (click on right here to pay attention to at least one) whereas maintaining her integrity and being trustworthy to her musical convictions, although these have been thought of to be outdated by the point she lived;

  • I. Stravinsky – for his cleverness and improvements;

  • D. Shostakovich – for his grandeur;

  • S. Prokofiev – for completely every little thing;

  • S. Gubaidulina – for the sound universe which dwells in her creativeness and for her depth;

  • G. Ligeti – for being an innovator;

  • C. Guarnieri – for his sophistication, and for having uncovered the wonder which lies in the most effective components from the people music of Brazil. I’ve a dream that I’d wish to report all of his Ponteios.

What different genres of music do you take pleasure in listening to, other than classical music?

I take pleasure in listening to film soundtracks by composers like John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota. In jazz, musicians like Hiromi Uehara, Chick Corea, Oscar Peterson, Invoice Evans, Artwork Tatum, and Keith Jarrett. Relating to the favored music of Brazil, I take pleasure in Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Elis Regina, João Gilberto, Gal Costa, and Maria Bethânia. However I hearken to classical music more often than not.

What drew you to Beethoven and his piano sonatas?

The thought of current and never taking part in Beethoven is completely inconceivable for a pianist. This composer produced numerous music for the piano, and pianists often begin their journey by learning his music and carry on studying and taking part in his works all their life by means of. Completely every little thing he wrote for piano is superb. It is a complicated universe, stuffed with particulars, with each technical and musical challenges. One may spend one’s life simply taking part in Beethoven and time would but be quick for absorbing and passing alongside his concepts.

Who’re your favorite Beethoven interpreters and why?

Simply because it was troublesome for me to call my favorite composers, it is a query which I can’t reply so simply. Many reference recordings exist.

Some interpreters comparable to Artur Schnabel, Wilhelm Kempff, Friedrich Gulda, Stephen Kovacevich, Richard Goode and Paul Lewis are nice. I respect all of them as the nice musicians they’re, and the truth that they’ve performed and recorded all of Beethoven’s sonatas (and a few, like Friedrich Gulda and Wilhelm Kempff have recorded Beethoven’s whole sonata cycle a number of instances!), actually deserves consideration. The live shows carried out by Murray Perahia draw my consideration for his or her perfection.

Friedrich Gulda

Conductors comparable to Herbert von Karajan, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Carlos Kleiber and Wilhelm Furtwängler made historical past by conducting Beethoven’s symphonies. Beethoven’s orchestral world is grandiose, and these conductors have apprehended it every in their very own private method. I particularly love Karajan, as he was such a vigorous and charismatic determine. He managed to convey a lot energy in all of his gestures, then persuading the entire orchestra to comply with him. The recording wherein Karajan conducts the Symphony no.5 with the Berlin Philharmonic could be very particular – I simply cannot breathe once I hearken to this recording! I really feel paralyzed when watching his gestures and face expressions – the ensuing sound the orchestra produced is one thing distinctive, you simply cannot repeat it.

Herbert von Karajan

Sadly, no recording tools existed throughout Liszt’s lifetime. You may’t think about how a lot I’d like to listen to him taking part in or conducting Beethoven – particularly his piano transcriptions of the symphonies (it is price attending to know all of them as recorded by Cyprien Katsaris). I am unable to perceive how, together with all of his creations, he additionally transcribed over 300 works – ALL of Beethoven’s symphonies amongst them!

I really like the interpretation of his Violin Concerto by Itzhak Perlman with the Berlin Philharmonic and Daniel Barenboim conducting, as a result of I deeply admire this violinist and his sound is one thing divine for my part.

Itzhak Perlman

There are different glorious musicians who’ve performed and are at present taking part in Beethoven very properly: Arturo Michelangeli, G. Gould, S. Richter, R. Serkin, C. Arrau, D. Barenboim, E. Kissin, V. Lisitsa and I. Levitt, amongst others . Mentioning all of them right here simply would not match, however I’ve all the time listened to their recordings and can carry on listening to recordings and recitals by nice musicians, and I am impressed with the flexibility every one in all them has to convey the concepts from this nice composer in several methods. I imagine Beethoven’s music will all the time draw our consideration to its magnificence.

However as for my interpreter of alternative, I’ve acquired one whom I love greater than others – a private choice of mine, one to whom I intimately relate: Marc-André Hamelin. I really like every little thing he performs, I really like his mind-set about music, I really like his technical perfection, his cleverness. I may hearken to this stay recording from 2006 each day, a number of instances a day, for the remainder of my life.

What’s one thing individuals is likely to be stunned to find out about Beethoven?

Some superb sources exist to be able to get to find out about Beethoven’s life. His letters (first revealed in 1866) for instance, from which we are able to be taught rather a lot about some essential particulars in his life. There may be additionally an attention-grabbing guide by musicologist D. W. Jons, which supplies us good perception about life in Bonn and Vienna in Beethoven’s time, with out idealising issues and with out sentimentality – merely narrating the details about Beethoven’s life by analysing his actuality, the one to which he belonged. I recognize this strategy – a extra sociological one.

One other essential biography one ought to know was written by Jan Swafford, American composer and musicologist. It’s important (and extra intimate) studying, and its advantage is that it discloses the tensions inside Beethoven’s persona. The attention-grabbing factor about this learn is that it was written by a composer. Due to this fact, his strategy is a deeper one, I might say, made by somebody who can perceive the anguish of inventive processes face to actuality, as he’s additionally a creator.

One truth which I discovered very attention-grabbing, and wish to share right here, is about how anguished Beethoven felt concerning the remuneration for his works. Whereas I learn his letters, one in all them, to Anton Hofmeister (the composer and editor of his works), made me ponder how a lot Beethoven’s works can be price at present. His Symphony no. 9, for instance. How can one measure how a lot this cultural heritage of mankind is price?

The primary web page of one in all Beethoven’s letters, to his “Immortal Beloved”

Beethoven writes on this letter: “There ought to exist just one nice artwork depot on the planet, to which artists may useful resource to by bringing of their works and, upon presenting them, obtain that which he wanted; however judging by the way in which it goes now, one must be half service provider – and the way may this be tolerated? My God in heavens! I’d as properly name this very troublesome!” (Letter from Beethoven to Kapellmeister Hofmeister. Vienna. January 15, 1801).

In the identical letter, he gives 4 of his works: Sonata op. 22, Concerto op. 19, Septet op. 20 and Symphony op. 21, asking for a complete of 70 Dukatos (the forex of the time) for them, confessing that he’s, the truth is, a horrible service provider. The distaste he had for negotiating his works turns into evident. Pondering this, I take into consideration the complicated actuality of composers, who, upon dedicating themselves to their inventive processes, have to think about their survival first.

Such points concerning the connection between inventive processes and actuality actually puzzle me rather a lot, as a result of we are inclined to idealize the nice artists by picturing them as residing in an illusory world – ever creating, their heads within the clouds. Such fantasy is much from actuality. All artists must pay their payments, care for their day by day chores and do what everybody else does. What usually drives their inventive processes is maybe nothing greater than their seek for methods to help themselves.

Inform us the method of creating, rehearsing, and recording your new album!

The thought of creating this album happened in 2020, which was a yr of celebrations once in a while of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary. The world ready applications which included Beethoven’s music – symphonies, concertos, sonatas, and extra. Nonetheless, many of the performances which had been deliberate have been cancelled as a result of outbreak of the pandemic.

I had performed Liszt’s transcribed model of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5 in a recital in March 2020. The world shut down quickly after, and lengthy quarantine months started. Throughout this era of confinement at dwelling, I devoted my time to studying by means of all of Beethoven’s sonatas, amongst different issues. I needed to recall my days on the Moscow Conservatory, the place piano college students needed to know all of his sonatas.

Finding out Beethoven’s sonatas was part of our routine, and we as college students liked it. The universe of Beethoven’s sonatas is a really wealthy one, in all points. It is almost unattainable to determine how he managed to create such quite a lot of musical components. From his first sonata (op. 2, no. 1), the peculiar options in Beethoven’s model already change into evident, and a world of concepts and improvements emerges with every sonata.

As I learn the sonatas in my quarantine, Beethoven’s op. 2, no. 3 caught my consideration as a result of contagious power current in these nimble actions, in addition to the depth contained in its second motion. This sonata has lengthy been on my radar as one of many items I dreamed of presenting to the general public. Some items transfer us greater than others do; it is a matter of relativity. Typically talking, I’m keen about virtuoso items, and this sonata is virtuosic from begin to end. At any time when I face important technical difficulties, it’s a nice stimulus for me, and that’s as a result of I wish to overcome these challenges to be able to play with perfection.

I already knew the sonata op.31, no. 1, and had additionally performed it once I lived in Moscow. The second motion on this sonata is a spoof about an Italian opera home, and constitutes an immense problem as it’s crammed with ornaments, trills and cadenzas. The principle purpose right here is to construct an aria by imitating the artwork of singing and making a temper for one thing lovely, whereas on the similar time conveying an implicit feeling of irony.

These two sonatas had been scheduled for a collection of recitals, which might happen at Sala São Paulo alongside the yr 2020. They’ve been postponed until January 2021 as a result of pandemic. As we weren’t allowed to have fun New Yr’s Eve surrounded by household and pals, I spent New Yr’s Eve learning these two sonatas on the piano, to be able to play them in recital on the stage of Sala São Paulo on January 13, 2021. Nonetheless, having the ability to spend the Réveillon within the firm of Beethoven was actually a present for me. It was probably the most memorable New Yr’s Eve’s of my entire life!

In January, after the recital, I made a decision to report an album of those two sonatas. I needed to recollect this uncommon yr, and to always remember the significance these items had had for me; that they had strengthened my spirit in that second by bringing hope and which means to me amid the despair and chaos.

What do you hope listeners will acquire from listening to this album?

This album could be very pricey to me, as a result of recording Beethoven is an act of braveness; it means exposing your self to criticism prematurely. Many reference recordings of those sonatas exist, and they’re superb. And so, what may I do otherwise? That’s the everlasting concern of music interpreters: to create one thing new, unprecedented, and on the similar time being as trustworthy as doable to composers’ concepts. Actually, we’ll by no means know what a composer’s intentions have been, and guessing is all that we are able to do.

However, all these fears and worries finally ceased to exist. I associated to those items on such a deep degree that the mere act of residing with them for a time period made me really feel fully glad; it made me really feel fulfilled. I imagine that when such issues occur – the entire connection of the performer to the work one is performing – listeners by some means understand it.

Possibly that is my purpose: to by some means convey to listeners how I felt when taking part in these music works, sharing their richness and energy. Beethoven’s music all the time appears like that; it infects you with its extraordinary power. It is unattainable to really feel detached when listening to his music. It disturbs us, stirs our creativeness, takes us out of our consolation zone by difficult us (in a great way).

A brand new ingredient which I had the audacity to introduce, and which causes my interpretation of the Sonata No. 3, Op. 2 to be distinct from all others, is the execution of the coda from the third motion (marked Scherzo) within the tempo of the motion which follows it, which I made a decision to play in an attacca (with out a break) method. I felt that if I did it this fashion, the sonata would change into extra unified inside the context of its type. It labored very well, I assume, as a result of the coda nonetheless launched the tempo for the subsequent motion. I’m wondering what the viewers and critics will consider this, and, likewise, I don’t know what the composer would say about it. Nonetheless, I imagine the results of our interpretive course of has to persuade us as artists within the first place. Generally I attempt various issues and I am satisfied it really works this fashion and it might probably’t be any completely different.

In distinction, I play the primary motion from the Sonata No. 1, Op. 31 (Allegro Vivace) a tad extra calmly than different performers. I do not really feel I must play this motion quick, as a result of its character is comedian, and it takes time and area to be able to display all of the irony contained in it. True virtuosity takes place within the second motion (Adagio) which is an aria and accommodates all types of virtuosic ornaments.

What would you say to somebody who will not be accustomed to classical music however wish to get began?

I’d wish to say that the behavior of listening to classical music is rather like some other – that you must domesticate it. In the event you do not expose your self to listening, how are you going to make a behavior out of it? It is like tasting new flavours, new seasonings: the extra we attempt it, the extra we get to know them and have a possibility for having fun with them. This occurs with studying; as soon as we learn an excellent guide which pulls our consideration by making us breathless, we wish to learn extra till we won’t think about our life with out good reads.

Listening to classical music feels identical to having fun with an excellent dish, like embarking on an unbelievable journey, and even leaving for an additional dimension. It’s a common language which wants no particular coaching. It’s simply listening and letting the sounds take you. Classical music eliminates the obstacles between individuals; it talks to every particular person in a definite method, bringing inspiration and luxury to the soul.

I like to recommend to all people to begin listening to the nice composers comparable to Beethoven, for instance. There are numerous fantastic recordings of his works accessible on all digital platforms. You simply have to begin listening!

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Monitor-by-track breakdown

One in all Beethoven’s most vigorous creations. Right here we discover pure virtuosity and contagious pleasure. The second theme introduces distinction and a lyrical side, nevertheless it would not take lengthy and the preliminary power returns. It is a well-known motion for its intervals in thirds in the best hand and is sort of difficult in technical phrases.

It’s unbelievable to suppose that even within the Op. 2 sonatas (his first piano sonatas), Beethoven brings depth to his gradual actions; this grew to become his trademark till his final sonata (No. 32). This Adagio motion is lengthy and fairly deep. It begins in a contemplative temper, as if it got here from a church choir. Then drama instantly seems, with the “Dies Irae” motif showing within the left hand in inverted type (I assume that such a theme within the left hand should be the “Dies Irae”), altering the preliminary contemplation temper into one in all tragedy and supplication.

Beethoven all the time introduces these contrasts: pleasure, introspection and tragedy. And right here we could actually really feel one thing disturbing which overtook him by the point he wrote this sonata. By the tip of the motion, a catharsis takes place, because the theme ascends to greater registers. On this second I really feel as if I had been lifted to the heavens, as if I had left my physique, staying among the many angels, as if all ache has been cleared…

I really like this motion, for I really feel it encompasses all points of human existence.

  • Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Main, Op.2, No.3: III. Scherzo.Allegro,, IV.Allegro assai

How unbelievable this Scherzo is! It is the perpetual movement, as if it have been a machine, a music field. Nonetheless, within the Trio, the playful character will get interrupted by the drama as soon as extra. In turbulence, right-hand arpeggios overlap with a stern, regular theme within the left hand. In placing an finish to the drama, the preliminary music field part returns. I thought of taking part in the coda in a sooner tempo. I felt that this fashion I may deliver extra unification to the sonata type as a complete, introducing the tempo from the fourth motion.

The Rondo motion wants, in its flip, numerous bodily stamina on the a part of the participant. The primary theme, with its quick, ascending chords, constitutes but a problem. And every new ingredient that seems surprises us by its technical issue, till it reaches the final exposition of the theme, happening within the left hand, with trills in the best hand turning into double trills after which triple trills, which brings performers to true exhaustion. It takes many examine hours to be able to play this final motion flawlessly, however each effort is rewarded with the messages of pleasure and energy discovered on this sonata.

The syncopation is a curiosity on this motion; it even constitutes the primary theme. After I began learning it, that was the very first thing which drew my consideration. I believed: why didn’t the composer select to begin “on the upbeat”, however began with a syncopation as an alternative? I attempted to play the primary theme with out the syncopations, after which understood why the sturdy beat had been shifted: it was attributable to its ironic character. The syncopations stress this character and disclose the composer’s intent, which was actually a playful one. The second theme from this motion is a dance – like a cabaret-style dance. It can’t be performed in an “uptight” method, for it should show the grotesque character of such a dance.

This motion appears like a chocolate sweet! It is scrumptious to play. Beethoven made a parody of an aria from Italian theatre, with endless, extremely troublesome ornaments of every kind. Nonetheless, I feel the outcome departed from the thought of parody, as a result of it grew to become too excellent. Right here we now have a fancy, and at instances elegant, motion. It is as if the composer thought: “Okay. I’ll write a spoof about one thing I do not like in Italian theatre. I additionally know methods to write on this model. I’ll make jokes and enjoyable right here by introducing untouchable ornaments and cadenzas, and so on.”

Nonetheless, throughout the course of I feel he sublimated this concept and exceeded his personal intentions. With out shedding his sense of irony (which we are able to really feel all through this motion from starting to finish and thru the tough staccato accompaniment), the composer created an unique murals – an aria which is now not Italian, however completely Beethovenian.

I really like this motion due to its linear character and polyphony. The sensation I get right here is like I am in a maze and holding a thread, in order that I do not get misplaced. The thread unwinds and I comply with alongside completely different paths, seeing various things and listening to completely different voices. There are occasions when it appears like I am strolling by means of the identical place once more (because the Rondo theme returns), nevertheless it’s not: these are completely different paths. Beethoven adjustments the primary theme and brings it again with new points added.

The album is out there on all main streaming platforms.

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