Naum Grubert – Beethoven Sonatas

Pianist Naum Grubert released a Beethoven Sonata album on Navis Classics. You would say, nothing new for a pianist to record this repertoire that belongs to the heart of the piano literature. However, in case of Naum Grubert it is important to mention that he waited until this point in his rich career to project his vision on Beethoven in a recording. Music he has carried along during his whole life finds his way to this album. The project is part of a series of recordings in which Naum will record more Beethoven Sonatas but also for instance a Chopin Recital program.

For this first release on Navis Classics, Naum has chosen to record three sonatas that span the complete life of Ludwig van Beethoven. Sonata opus 14 no.2 is part of Beethoven’s early sonatas and it’s often said that they have a strong connection to the works of Haydn. Although there are similarities, there’s more to say about this particular sonata.
“I know it is often stressed that there is a very strong relationship between Beethoven’s early sonatas and haydn’s sonatas. one might find some formal similarities, but generally these worlds are very different, both musically and technically. In my view the first movement of Op. 14/2 is rather closer to the world of mozart’s music (for instance the Piano Concerto in G major or the Sonata in B-flat major KV333). The warmth in this movement even makes me think of Schubert.”

– Naum Grubert –

The second period in Beethoven’s life can be found in sonata opus 31 no.2, also called ‘Sturm Sonate’ or ‘Tempest’. Naum Grubert about this piece that is in the heart of the romantic period:

“unlike the ‘Gewitter und Sturm’ in the Pastoral Symphony, the reference to storm in this sonata is rather connected to the inner life of the soul. Here this inner dualism, which makes many works of Beethoven’s middle period so dramatic, finds its embodiment. From here there is a straight line to romanticism, and practically all the great composers of the 19th century were unable to escape the direct influence of Beethoven’s works created in this particular period.”

– Naum Grubert –

The album is completed with Beethoven’s last piano sonata; opus 111. This magical work of art can hardly be called a sonata since it’s form and character cannot be more far away from let’s say the sonata opus 14 no.2. Having said this about form aspects it immediately comes to mind that the aspect of ‘time’ is essential to this piece. Man could relate the deep emotional feelings to Beethoven’s situation at that time but listening to this sonata you will find a very strong connection to your own feelings. Naum Grubert about this subject, as discussed in the booklet:

“in all times music was considered as the highest form of art, due to its highest degree of abstraction, which is to say that it is hardly connected to any form of reality. That’s why one shouldn’t exaggerate the link between a work of an artist and any event (political or private) in the artist’s life. Especially in the case of a genius we should keep those two divided. the symbolic quality of music opens a huge space which we inevitably fill – consciously or subconsciously – with our own associations.”

– Naum Grubert –

For the complete booklet text can be found here, together with audio samples of the album.

Recording info:

Recording Producer and Editing: Daan van Aalst

Recording Venue and dates: 13-15 march 2013, westvest 90, Schiedam

Piano: Steinway d274, Ypma piano’s

Piano Technician: Michel Brandjes

Artwork: Ad van der Kouwe, manifesta

Photography: Friso Spoelstra

Booklet text: Dominy Clements

Catalogue number: NC14002

EAN: 8717953162410

Daan van Aalst

Author Daan van Aalst

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