What a FABULOUS SITE!!!!
An absolute MUST LISTEN to.
Andras Schiff speaks about every single Beethoven Sonata!
I told my students, if you are planning on playing any Beethoven Sonata or the very famous "Moonlight Sonata" Op 27 No 2, you need to listen to Andras Schiff lecture about it. An eye and ear opener.
However, since most of my students enter events judged by judges who may not be familiar with this lecture, I take a more conventional interpretation over this very unconventional approach. But you see I DO AGREE WITH ANDRAS!!! Suddenly this Sonata MAKES SENSE!!!
I am not giving the secrets away; I would encourage everyone to listen to this lecture series.
When I was studying the first movement of this Sonata, I am sure, EVERYONE does at some point in time, I came to prefer an actual Alla Breve tempo, an actual half note Adagio beat, not as often is interpreted as slowly as possible. On the other hand, I do enjoy a well performed and well thought through extremely slow half note beat, but find that an Alla Breve Adagio half note beat is more accurate. But it really all depends how the artist can make the slow beat work for the movement in itself and then for the entire sonata. I grew up with Friedrich Gulda, Buchbinder and Arrau recordings.
In a nutshell: Teaching this piece, I always suggest a beat that is not to extreme either way and that sounds good with the student playing. We start counting as 4/4 then implement the 2/2. Difficulty of this movement is breathing with the cadences, definite triplet accompanying pattern (broken chords) need to be softer, yet dynamically following the melody and placed into the harmonic frame of melody (RH little finger) and LH bass. A good way of practicing is to play the triplets in block chords, analyze the chords a little to help with the memory.
Recordings I suggest to listen to:
Wilhelm Kempff http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTzA6Mg_i7A&feature=related
Vladimir Ashkenazy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PqnruPitzc
Eva Martin Hollaus