Form and content. An analysis of Beethoven's 5 last piano sonatas
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These texts are largely inspired by the time I spent with my professor of form analysis, Erwin Ratz, whose teaching I had the pleasure of following during my studies in Vienna in the late 1960’s. His analytical approach stems from his own period of study in the circle around Arnold Schönberg, which in turn has been crucial to my own approach to musical interpretation. In the following article I will attempt to get under the skin of these sonatas, and to explore to what extent I am able to express in words the reasons why we are so impacted by this music. I do not claim these analyses is be comprehensive, but rather that they are attempts to highlight that which I see to be vital elements in the works, elements which do not always seem to be immediately apparent, but never-the-less are essential to the experience of the music. The following text assumes that the reader has a prior knowledge of the rudiments of music theory and form principles, and in order to help you follow my train of thought, I have based the following text on some self-evident principles. I wish to stress that my goal has not been to write a musicological dissertation, rather this paper should be read as if it were a report from a workshop, a summing up of many years work and experience with these sonatas. I am a performer, not a theoretician, but I acknowledge the importance that a certain level of insight into the material with which I work, has. It is my vain desire to be able to share this alleged insight with the reader.