Kun-woo PAIK - Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycle
Beethoven’s 32 sonatas for the piano, known as the “New Testament” for the instrument, stand as a testament to the development of the piano, as well as a formidable technical and artistic challenge for all pianists. The sonatas span nearly his entire life as a composer, dating from 1795 to 1822, and reflect his bold, uncompromising artistic conviction. The legendary Korean pianist Kun-woo PAIK, renowned for his delicate and east-meets-west philosophical touch, has won wide recognition with his complete recording of Beethoven’s sonatas, released in 2008 by Decca. To commemorate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Kun-woo PAIK presents the complete cycle of piano sonatas to Taiwanese audiences for the first time, traversing the entire oeuvre in eight performances across eight consecutive days.
The pianist played as if he had all the time in the world to spin his poetic incantations, and allowed the listener to luxuriate in sheer tonal splendor.
The New York Times
True, authentic virtuoso! The beast of the piano as well as the perfect musician.
Paik's sense of drama, his wit, mastery of nuance, thoughtfully weighted chords and fleet-fingered virtuosity, all are remarkable.
Paik était tout simplement phénoménal.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The First Sparks: Soaring in Resplendent Glory
From Bonn to Vienna, Beethoven, the then-pupil of Haydn establishing his name as an independent artist, was seeking any possible opportunity to make his talent acknowledged by the music capital. It was a matter of time as how we see it now, but the question was “how.” The concert program allows us to witness Beethoven’s irresistible charm that immediately won the heart of the public, and to relive the fascinating moments of awe when the great pianist was introduced to his contemporaries.
Piano Sonata No. 19, G minor, Op. 49, no. 1
Piano Sonata No. 1, F minor, Op. 2, no. 1
Piano Sonata No. 20, G major, Op. 49, no. 2
Piano Sonata No. 5, C minor, Op. 10, no. 1
Piano Sonata No. 3, C major, Op. 2, no. 3
Chill on the Road: the Sentimental Serenity
With the best gift from Enlightenment, Beethoven believed in reason and strength, but his music is not always passionate and transcending. It can be chill and comfy, punctuated with relaxing humor, just like how he loved to take a walk in the woods. Serenity has its own strength, as it lingers for us to savor either the pastoral scenery or the sorrow and joy of life.
Piano Sonata No. 10, G major, Op. 14, no. 2
Piano Sonata No. 2, A major, Op. 2, no. 2
Piano Sonata No. 15, D major Pastoral, Op. 28
Piano Sonata No. 8, C minor Pathétique, Op. 13
Life and Stage: the Meandering Psychological Paths
As an avid reader of Shakespeare, Beethoven knew his tricks to wrench the heart with music. The concert program takes us on a journey from the valley shadowed by death to the refreshing awakening, from the grief of goodbyes to the joyful reunion. With humor and fantasies, the music for the night features every extraordinary dramatic motif that carries the overwhelming waves of emotions to reach the unfathomable depth of human heart.
Piano Sonata No. 6, F major, Op. 10, no. 2
Piano Sonata No. 7, D major, Op. 10, no. 3
Piano Sonata No. 13, E-flat major, Op. 27, no. 1
Piano Sonata No. 26, E-flat major Les adieux, Op. 81a
Shatter to Rebuild: New Form, New Sound
Indulging in one’s own success might kill an artistic mind, but it was definitely not Beethoven. As diligent as always, Beethoven constantly brought up new ideas to the Sonata form and piano skills. In the concert, we get to hear the new and different instrumental sound of piano created by Beethoven through these more original, creative, and heartstring-pulling sonatas.
Piano Sonata No. 16, G major, Op. 31, no. 1
Piano Sonata No. 17, D minor Tempest, Op. 31, no. 2
Piano Sonata No. 22, F major, Op. 54
Piano Sonata No. 23, F minor Appassionata, Op. 57
The Kaleidoscopic Fantasy: Dare to Change, Dare to Challenge
He had a perfect command of structure, and his widest ideas were made possible through the musicals. Beethoven knew how to render a magnificent concerto in a sonata, while he was also good at playing with rules and harmony, even writing a sonata away from its definitive form, to picture the profound realm of fantasy. Because of him, sonata was given a new possibility.
Piano Sonata No. 11, B-flat major, Op. 22
Piano Sonata No. 18, E-flat major The Hunt, Op. 31, no. 3
Piano Sonata No. 12, A-flat major Funeral March, Op. 26
Piano Sonata No. 14, C-sharp minor Moonlight, Op. 27, no. 2
Ray of Dawn: the Warm and Gentle Spirit
Although Allegro spiritoso is the signature of Beethoven, it never veils the beauty of his Adagio, which sometimes is even more earcatching with its nuanced contrasts. The concert program exclusively in majors presents a palette of pure and soft brush, fugitive light and shadow, and bright and sophisticated simplicity, through which Beethoven has left an eternal message to the world.
Piano Sonata No. 24, F-sharp major à Thérèse, Op. 78
Piano Sonata No. 4, E-flat major Grand Sonata, Op. 7
Piano Sonata No. 9, E major, Op. 14, no. 1
Piano Sonata No. 25, G major, Op. 79
Piano Sonata No. 21, C major Waldstein, Op. 53
Mountains and Waters: the Shimmering Truth
In the latter years of Beethoven’s life, his music became more abstract as it was more telling. The sonatas cantabile sometimes flow like waters, while sometimes dominate like magnificent mountains. The concert for the night brings the audience step-by-step into the world of the aged composer, where we finally encounter the two iconic fugues, the most challenging and thrilling masterpieces by Beethoven.
Piano Sonata No. 27, E minor, Op. 90
Piano Sonata No. 28, A major, Op. 101
Piano Sonata No. 29, B-flat major Hammerklavier, Op. 106
The Final Moto: Greatest Love Found Inward
The last three piano sonatas by Beethoven can be considered a complete work based on the development of tones and sentiments. With a look back on the tradition and at the future creation, he went through his life experiences as to reflect upon humanity. Fantasy, sonata, variations and fugue are gathered here to form the great and unparalleled art known as the one and only Beethoven.
Piano Sonata No. 30, E major, Op. 109
Piano Sonata No. 31, A-flat major, Op. 110
Piano Sonata No. 32, C minor, Op. 11
Kun-woo PAIK - Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycle
※Program order may be subject to change.