BEETHOVEN: PIANO SONATAS 8, 13 & 14"Moonlight" & "Pathétique"
Ludwig van Beethoven
LESLIE TUNG, fortepiano
Perfomed on a 5-Octave Fortepiano
"The first thing that sets this apart from others is the fact that Maestro Tung makes use of a pianoforte built by Janine Johnson and Paul Poletti in 1983 [which has] a quieter and sweeter sound...in general, making the pianissimo passages more delicate and fragile, the fortissimo passages less clangorous... there is still a sort of shimmering sound to the notes, especially mid-register. And so much the better for it... Leslie Tung gives us poetic readings of all three sonatas, readings that make creative and very musical use of the characteristics of the period-style piano. Listen to the adagio cantabile movement from Sonata 8 and you will be treated to a beautiful synergy of artist and instrument. In Nietzsche terms these readings are more Apollonian than Dionysian. And nicely the better for that... what an interestingly faithful representation of Beethoven. I am glad to hear and have this one... Give this one a hearing. Recommended."
Grego Applegate Edwards [January 2021]
"There is a great deal to enjoy in Leslie Tung’s Beethoven... The recital opens with an excellent account of the 'Moonlight” Sonata'. I particularly admired Tung’s rendition of the iconic opening movement. Tung masterfully captures the Impressionist blend of colors Beethoven achieves in the Adagio sostenuto, and in the bargain, he applies a bit more rubato than is the norm, and to marvelous effect... The Adagio cantabile [of Sonata No.8] maintains a rapt lyricism... Tung does a fine job of giving the work’s ever-shifting moods and emotions a sense of continuity and inevitability... The recorded sound is excellent... Recommended."
Ken Meltzer, Fanfare (November/December 2020)
"Being knowledgeable about how Beethoven was in life, his complex, multi-faceted character, as much prone to extreme fits of passion as he was drawn to supreme beauty, I thought perhaps Tung hit the mark in bringing the master’s sonatas to life, reflecting how Beethoven may actually have played them."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [September 2020]
"The present MSR release shows Tung to be a keen student of early music in general and the fortepiano in particular... Tung utilizes well [his fortepiano's] quick action and warm middle range in order to bring out the essential genius of a young composer who was to revolutionize the keyboard music of his day. In Tung’s hands the performances sound like compelling 'real' music, and not just informed scholarship."
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club [June 2020]
PROGRAM NOTESPerformed by Mr. Tung on a 5-octave fortepiano built by Janine Johnson and Paul Poletti (1983), based on a c.1795 instrument by Johan Lodewijk Dulcken of Munich, Germany.
Unlike his early symphonies and piano concertos, which were premiered in large halls at gala public concerts, Beethoven’s keyboard sonatas were intended to be heard in much more intimate salons, with an invited audience of carefully selected individuals. This distinction was a reflection of his privileged, unique career as a pianist-composer in Vienna. After 1796, patrons such as Baron Gottfried van Swieten and Prince Karl Lichnowsky relieved Beethoven of the financial need to make extensive foreign tours. As a result, he rarely played in large public spaces, performing mostly in aristocratic salons. There his exclusive audience of patrons and professionals could indulge their preferences for learned, serious music, quite different from more widespread popular tastes. They would encourage Beethoven’s natural disposition towards daring and challenging experiments in his keyboard sonatas, and for music with innigster Empfindung – “the most inner expression”.
Pianist Leslie Tung has been recitalist at the First International Festival and Conference on Fortepiano in Antwerp, the Michigan MozartFest, the Connecticut Early Music Festival, Festival Indianapolis, and the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. He has also been soloist with the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival orchestra and with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, and duo pianist with his wife Silvia Roederer at the Carinthian Summer Festival in Austria and at the Conservatories of Music at Beijing and Shanghai, China. In addition he has been guest artist at more than 40 colleges and universities, most recently at the Conservatoire National de Région Chabrier, the Academy for Performing Arts in Hong Kong, and the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. Tung began his study of piano in his native St. Louis, Missouri, but pursued interests in the natural and social sciences at Yale, earning his degree in sociology. His professional commitment to music was a result of intense study under pianist and scholar John Kirkpatrick. Graduate piano studies followed under Barry Snyder at the Eastman School and with both Brooks Smith and John Perry at the University of Southern California. He is Professor Emeritus of Music at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, where he taught a wide range of topics, including a course in the Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He is also a member of Photographers Without Borders on assignments to India and Guatemala.
PROGRAMLUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
SONATA NO.14 IN C-SHARP MINOR, OP.27, NO.2 “MOONLIGHT”
II. Allegretto &
III. Presto agitato
SONATA NO.8 IN C MINOR, OP.13 “PATHÉTIQUE”
I. Grave - Allegro molto e con brio
II. Adagio cantabile
III. Rondo (Allegro)
SONATA NO.13 IN E-FLAT MAJOR, OP.27, NO.1
I. Andante – Allegro – Andante
II. Allegro molto e vivace
III. Adagio con espressione
IV. Allegro vivace
Recorded 1-3 May 2019 at Dalton Center Recital Hall, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. A Candlewood Digital high resolution Natural Presence™ recording. Produced, engineered, edited and mastered by Richard Price.