A State of Wonder: The 32 Piano Sonatas of Beethoven

 

Why Beethoven Sonatas?

work, the span of Beethoven’s musical life is chronicled in these sonatas: from the early period (op. 2, 1795), with a clear nod to Haydn, to the late period (opp. 109-111, 1821) where truly no man had gone before. Beethoven invites us through these sonatas to join him atop the mountain, to see the big picture, to struggle in life and to ascend.

 

The 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas loom large as the Everest of the piano literature. Share with me the incredible views and personal insights inspired by this journey. Thank you to all who have helped me to bring this exciting adventure to life.

A State of Wonder: Program Notes

   GREGG PAULEY

The 32 Piano Sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven remain a monumental and enduring gift to both pianists and audiences.

 

I remember learning Beethoven sonatas as a child and as I practiced I would imagine Beethoven sitting next to me, coaching me through each phrase. To this day, Beethoven remains my companion as I live and work at the piano. These sonatas are not only formative for young (and old!) pianists, but informative to all of us seeking insight into the human condition. I am constantly reminded as I study these amazing works that they are not only beautiful in sound, but beautiful in thought.

 

After 30 years as a concert pianist I have decided to devote the next three years of my performing life to the complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Sonatas. One might wonder, why? Having performed hundreds if not thousands of pieces over that time, I have found that these pieces are forever new for the pianist. Each year that passes offers fresh insight into the challenges and ideas that Beethoven proposes. Why all of the Sonatas? Aside from the obvious challenge of attaining mastery of such a body of