Beethoven indisputably wanted his music played within the speeds he envisaged as he composed each piece, and these artists have striven to recreate this vision with integrity. In this groundbreaking recreation of these six sonatas, Peter Martens and Luis Magalhães collaborated with Beethoven specialist Dr Stewart Young, aiming to bring the true intentions of the composer to the fore through seeking to incorporate a wide range of aspects of period performance practice which in their opinion will always retain its validity. While working imaginatively with such interpretative possibilities, the artists remained always within the fundamental tempi frameworks that Beethoven himself had insisted on, as stipulated* by Carl Czerny. Uniquely steeped in things Beethovenian, he also provided detailed authentic and indispensable insights on interpretation - and they also incorporated much recent research on e.g. articulations and dynamics. * In his 1846 section - ‘On the Correct Performance’ of all the Beethoven piano works.
While planning our approach to this recording, we decided to broaden our interpretative horizons through interaction with Beethoven specialist Dr Stewart Young, whose decades of research into his music has been ongoing and is not limited to the thorny tempo issues surrounding particularly his metronome marks. Whilst all interpretative decisions were of course our own, we benefitted from the open interaction provided by an ‘outside’ pair of ears in discussion, rehearsal and the sessions themselves.
We especially placed value upon the interpretative legacy on things Beethovenian that his pupil and highly respected pianist friend Carl Czerny assembled in his extensive 1846 notes on the “Correct Performance” of all Beethoven’s keyboard works, currently available in German facsimile and English translation. (Universal Edition UE13340) Czerny had had the unique privilege of studying with the master for some years, and at 21 was soloist in the Vienna première of the ‘Emperor’ Concerto. In 1824 he felt he had to decline Beethoven’s short-notice request to contribute just its 2nd and 3rd movements in the repeat of the ‘Akademie’ at which his 9th Symphony was premièred - an invitation confirming the highest regard with which Beethoven viewed him.
What would today’s performers give for a time-machine lesson from a musician with such access and experience? Fortunately, much of what he would impart is available in his published advice and, as interpreters, we have tried to take this to heart fully and thus honour his overall philosophy of service to the composer’s conceptions, through always working within his suggested tempi (about which he echoes Beethoven’s own expressed view of it as absolutely fundamental) and aiming to recreate imaginatively and as faithfully as possible the various characters he suggested.
Peter Martens
Luis Magalhães

Cello: Peter Martens
Piano: Luis Magalhães
Cat. #: TP1039053
Double CD
Label: TwoPianists Records
Recorded at: Endler Hall, Stellenbosch University, South Africa - September 7-13, 2009 

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