Listening: Beethoven piano sonatas

Lately I’ve been listening to the Beethoven piano sonatas. While many of them (the early ones especially) are perfectly pleasant, there are several that are truly transcendent and are powerful these many generations later.

Why is that?  Why do some pieces resonate over time while others are merely nice to listen to? Perhaps these transcendent pieces need to evoke one of:

  • Drama
  • Beauty
  • Fun

Beethoven’s pieces nearly always work between beauty and drama, with an extra side of drama.

Here is Pollini playing the finale of the Appasionata (#23 in F minor).

What do you think? What makes transcendent music?







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