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Ludwig Van Beethoven: Complete Sonatas for Piano
~ Steven Masi
Read Review here
It’s been quite a season for Beethoven piano music enthusiasts. In the past several months, we’ve witnessed the completion of sonata cycles by Pavali Jumpannen and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, not to mention the epic conclusion of Ronald Brautigam’s survey of Beethoven’s complete solo piano works. Then, there was the fruition of a set with whose performer, Steven Masi, I had been absolutely unfamiliar but with which I’ve been having the pleasure of new acquaintance. What sets Masi’s set apart from the others is a sense of voyage, a kind of spontaneous approach to each sonata that charts a singular path of progression through a series of pieces that, all too often, can come off sounding glib, affected or some uneasy combination of both.
By way of transparency, let me offer a bit of reviewer context. Maybe it needn’t be said, but, as with most things of enduring quality, there is no best Beethoven sonata cycle. In the right hands, much interpretive freedom can lead to new insight and experience for the listener open to hearing it, from the smallest details of color and structure to the vast architectural principles Beethoven learned, expanded and ultimately destroyed and redesigned. For me, the journey has become paramount in importance, and if the performer can document a personal vision of that journey, as Masi does, so much the better. Continue reading Steven Masi Review of Beethoven Piano Sonatas by Marc Medwin
KAPLEN JCC ON THE PALISADES ERIC BROWN THEATER
411 EAST CLINTON AVENUE
TENAFLY, NJ 07670
Join Thurnauer faculty pianist, Steven Masi, in a special concert celebrating his 65th birthday. Mr. Masi will perform two great piano concertos, Mozart’s Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58. He will be joined by an all-star orchestra of friends, including Thurnauer colleagues and alumni and members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Orpheus, conducted by Diego Garcia. Reception to follow Steven Masi Concert.
|Sun, Nov 22nd 2015
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
For tickets, call 201-836-3499
Steven Masi continues his exploration of the lyrical music of the great Franz Schubert. This opening concert of season two’s 3-concert series features works for solo piano including 3 Klavierstucke, D.946 and the Sonata in B-Flat, Opus Posthumous.
His recording of the Complete Piano Sonatas of Beethoven will be released on Albany Records early next year. His Beethoven playing has been praised internationally. English critic Colin Clarke wrote in Fanfare Magazine,
“It is not exaggerating to suggest that Masi belongs with the elite in the late sonatas, providing as satisfying an experience as the likes of Solomon, Kempff, and Pollini, for example. Each texture of this Finale, the place of every note, is carefully considered, yet the sense of exploratory, transcendent journey is profound indeed. Masi hardly seems to feel technical hurdles. It is as if everything is in the service of Beethoven.”
Now he turns his focus to Schubert, the heir of Beethoven and the nineteenth century’s first great romantic. Schubert’s music, so lyrical and tender, is extraordinarily complex. He is at once accessible and audacious. Steven Masi is one of the greatest Schubert interpreters alive.
Pianist Steven Masi, launches his series of music by Franz Schubert, with an afternoon of chamber music with guests artists, violinist Nurit Pacht, and cellist and pianist, Barbara Stein Mallow. Works to include Schubert’s Fantasie for Piano, 4-Hands, Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major; and the Trio in B-Flat for Violin, Cello and Piano. This concert will be held at the Puffin Cultural Forum, 20 Puffin Way, Teaneck, NJ. To purchase tickets, call 201.836.3499.
Sun, Mar 22
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Beethoven Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111
1• Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato
2• Arietta: Adagio molto, semplice e cantabile
Beethoven Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111 – This is the last of Beethoven’s Sonatas and his most profound statement among his piano works. A sonata in which the spiritual and earthly realms meet so movingly, it ends with a starry trill, a descent back to earth a final statement of simple eloquence.
Steven has enjoyed a long friendship and professional association with the composer Justin Dello Joio. These two etudes were commissioned by the New York Music Teachers Association and composed under the auspices of a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. Steven Masi premiered them in 2001 in Syracuse, New York, and the first of the two etudes is dedicated to him.
The fourth and final Scherzo has the most “scherzo-like” quality of the four. A late work, it has the elements of Chopin’s late style; startling counterpoint and and a meeting of intimacy and grandeur. The middle section is heartbreakingly beautiful.