Concert 5, less than a week away!!!

In this next outing of the Sonatas I am exploring the very different worlds of Beethoven’s early ‘middle period’ Sonatas. Op.27 No.1 and No.2 ‘Moonlight’ and Op.28 ‘Pastoral’. These works evoke many beautiful images and show Beethoven in a very sensitive light. He is really starting to refine his music language.

A huge thanks to Dawid and his wife Rachel for hosting this next concert!

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‘Moonlight Sonata’ Saturday 7th October – Welwyn

Things are really picking up pace now and the £10,000 target is seeming less like a distant wish, and more a reality now. £3500 has now been raised with gift aid and I want to say a heartfelt thank you to Nicky Dean and Chris Dean for hosting the last concert which was a huge success.

Another very kind pupil of mine, Dawid, is hosting the next leg of the Sonatas which will feature the famous ‘Moonlight’. This will be again a very exciting and hopefully lucrative occasion. I am also being featured in the local papers. I will put up an image of the articles when I receive them soon. In the meanwhile, please enjoy this track, one of my favourite piece of Granados. A change of scenery so to speak.

Next Concert 16th June – St Albans

This is a little snip of the programme notes I wrote for the upcoming second leg of my Beethoven charity event. It is a private house concert in St Albans, and I am hoping to add to my growing total. So far standing at close to £2000 with gift aid.

Beethoven Sonatathon – Concert 2 – 16th June 2018

Earlier this year I wanted to do something only attempted a handful of times; play ALL the Beethoven Sonatas in a single sitting! Until that day comes, I am ecstatic that a number of venues will be hosting open concerts. Donations can be made towards my chosen charity in return for listening to part of this magnificent set of Sonatas. For this special occasion Nicky Dean is very kindly hosting the event, so a big thank you goes to Nicky! 

Along with bringing the amazing music of Beethoven to the people of the UK, I am raising much needed funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. My father is the driving factor behind my ‘Beethoven’ story and because he survived 2 very aggressive forms of cancer I wanted to try and do something amazing for other cancer sufferers and himself. He always dreamed of the day I would play all these sonatas and I am trying my hardest to make that a reality now. He is too weak to travel, but I have never seen him so happy as he is now, at the thought of myself performing such a feat of pianism. Macmillan can drastically help people such as myself and my family to come to terms with what Cancer can do to a family.

The three Sonatas this evening are all fairly underplayed and in some cases not even known at all amongst amateur pianists and casual listeners. These are the Op.7 ‘Grande Sonata’, Op.22 and Op.26. 

The Op.7 is a formidable early work in 4 movements. This is conceived on a symphonic scale and has much in common with the Eroica Symphony, and certainly shows that Beethoven, even in his earliest stage of development, is nothing like the Mozarts and Haydns of the world. He is developing a whole new, more encompassing way to use the piano. The 2nd movement is particularly tragic and powerful with a weightiness not ever seen before in piano writing. 

The Op.22 is a virtuosic show sonata in many ways. Beethoven himself considered it his greatest sonata from his early period, and indeed it is very pleasing. The slow movement has a wonderful Italian Operatic feel with meandering chromatic vocal lines weaving around a very sturdy quaver rhythm. The last movement is very reminiscent of the final of the Op.7 sonata; they both have the same figurations and rhythms, clearly showing us that Beethoven was always re-using old material and building on it for future gain. 

The final sonata Op.26 is famous for it’s ‘funeral march’ third movement, which incidentally inspired the even more famous ‘funeral march’ Sonata, written by Chopin some 39 years later. In fact Chopin, for his Sonata No.2, borrowed the format of Beethoven’s op.26 almost entirely for his own reworking. This is an unconventional sonata, and indeed it is the first of Beethoven’s sonatas where none of the movements are in Sonata form. This, I feel is very much the beginning of Beethoven’s middle period of composition, and is a fitting end to enable a start onto the next set of works, in my next event.

Thank you for your support. Please donate online here 

https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/beethovensonatamarathon or go to https://beethovensonatathon.org/donate/ 

Things are finally in motion. 24th February 13:30 for kick off @ Wolfson College, Cambridge!

So after much altering of plans things are starting to happen. Wolfson College in Cambridge is hosting the first of the many concerts (with any luck) that will feature at one point or another ALL the Beethoven Sonatas. I am playing no less than 11 of the Sonatas in this event. These are in order of appearance: Op.2 No. 1, 2 and 3 Op.10 No. 1, 2 and 3, Op.13, Op. 14 No.1 and 2, Op.81a and Op.57.

Plans have changed on and off, but you WILL get to hear the complete set and I feel starting with this Marathon 4 hours concert will boost my moral. Hopefully, after performing these works around the country I will be in a much clearer position to perform the entire set of 32 sonatas in a single day, but by spreading the event far and wide I hope to raise much more money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Please see my Donations page on how to donate.

For a little taster of myself performing Beethoven please click here. 

ALL CHANGE! but still going ahead in 2018/2019. We will do this!!!

Piano Art 4

Sorry for the very late and overdue blog post. Since this whole project was conceived my own life has taken many rather unexpected and unhappy turns. This has meant that through no fault of my own, the project has been put on hold. I am starting now to get my life back on the right path and have many exciting things coming up, starting with my marriage to my partner of 14 years, Christopher Pennelegion, in October.

I am still going ahead and practice is underway again, a year later than planned and the current course of action is to play all 32 Sonatas over the course of many concerts; both marathons and standard recitals in length. These concerts will be planned from the start of 2018 and spread over a 9/12 months period.

More news to follow… but there will still be a concert on the 11th of November 2017 of works adored by my hero, Denise Barrington (my recently passed Grandmother, who died of complication with Alzheimer’s Disease which she fought for many years). The programme will include the Bach-Busoni Chaconne and various pieces by Liszt.

We have a date… 11th November 2017

Put the following date in your diary folks. 11th November 2017. This is the day of the big event.

Much will happen and I am sure there will be many trials, tears and celebrations along the way. I started work on the first few Beethoven Sonatas 3 months ago and for those with the curiosity gene, I am using both the Henle Urtext Edition and Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Edition of the Beethoven Sonatas to work from. These best represent the original scores I feel and a lot of research has gone into these editions.

I might also add there will be a concert, performed by my good self, also at St Peters Church in St Albans on the 19th November 2016 (this year). Tickets will be available through myself and there will be more details to follow but there will certainly be a ‘taster’ of the main event along with some well loved classics on the programme.

Tata for now x