The raw power of Beethoven’s work flows through pianist’s Sonata quest

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The raw power of Beethoven’s work flows through pianist’s Sonata quest

There are not many musicians who have tried to record the complete cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. Pianist Paik Kun-woo is one of the few to make the attempt and he is now in the middle of a three year journey. In 2005, Paik released the first set of three CDs containing Sonatas No. 16 through No. 26, including the famed “Waldstein,” “Tempest,” and “Appassionata,” and held a recital in celebration of the release. This fall he released the second set of four CDs with Sonatas No. 1 through No. 15. To promote this new CD he began a nationwide tour in Korea on Monday. Paik is going to perform in Anyang today, Seoul on Dec. 19 and 23, Jeonju on Dec. 21, Wonju on Dec. 26, Gwangju on Dec. 28, Suwon on Dec. 29 and Uijeongbu on Dec. 30.
When he finishes, Paik will be the third pianist to record the entire Beethoven sonata cycle for the Decca label, with whom he has an exclusive contract. Wilhelm Backhaus and Vladimir Ashkenazy are the other two. A final third set of CDs will be released next year. This will include sonatas No. 27 through 32.
“I consider all 32 sonatas to be part of a single piece; that has been my approach to this music for a long time,” Paik said in a press meeting last week. “I was wondering about the composer’s music world and began studying it. Doing that, the point of view of the pieces will become wider.”
Paik is going to perform Mozart’s Rondo, Beethoven’s piano sonatas No. 27 and No. 28, and Wagner-Liszt’s “Liebestod” from “Tristan und Isolde.” Paik said he is particularly attached to sonatas No. 27 and No. 28. “For No. 28, I am inspired by the fact that Beethoven, in such a miserable state of health, wrote such a pure piece and I feel such a sense of power in the second and fourth movements,” Paik said.
The recital in Seoul is scheduled for next Tuesday at Seoul Arts Center at 8 p.m., and Dec. 23 at Nowon Culture & Art Center at 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from 20,000 won to 65,000 won. For information, call Credia at 02-751-9607-10.

by Limb Jae-un
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