This outsider named Beethoven.

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Beethoven moonlight sonata

It’s funny to see how ideas can sometimes evolve quickly and how priorities can be reassessed. About 10 days ago, my next recording project was made public: it’s not a secret anymore that I’ll record in March three Beethoven sonatas as the first volume of my project called Beethoven – Evolutions. Initially, Beethoven should not have been on the menu of this release. Let’s understand here what happened.

I was 9 or 10 y.o. when I played Beethoven: one of the bagatelles opus 126, followed by sonatinas, variations, sonatas… and later the Concerti. [Pause in the writing due to day-dreaming about Beethoven…] In fact, Beethoven surrounded me all my life. But, strangely enough, he is far from being one of the composers I play(ed) the most on stage.

Beethoven and I have a complicated relationship. I love him so much but we both have emotional personalities so we’ve fought a lot and I needed a break from him. Last time I played Beethoven on stage was in Prague in autumn 2007. I played his opus 26. Since then, no Beethoven, apart from the sonatas I played and practiced for myself. Why? Basically, because I knew I needed more time and thinking to be able to clearly understand him and acquire my truly own point of view on the composer. Five years have passed, I had time to read, practice, study, and my Beethoven conception is in a totally different place: solid, structured and personal.

Even if they told me nothing about it, I’m sure that my friends were quite surprised by the program of this next album. Most of the people around me thought I would never play Beethoven again, or at least not this set of sonatas. When I started thinking about my next album (well, right after recording this one) I had several projects in mind, all very different from each other and I barely talked about this Beethoven idea. I knew I reached a very interesting point in my work but was still feeling too vulnerable to criticism to talk about it. The project sounded exciting and challenging at the same time, but I wasn’t so sure I would choose it as my next recording project.

Challenging it has to be, Challenging it is. As clearly stated in my début album Introducing Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, I like being challenged, especially in studio. This Beethoven Evolutions project will be no exception: picking 6 of the best known and most recorded sonatas isn’t easy.

So, it has to be different. If I record it, it means I have a different approach, something to add to what has already been done. This was challenging in this case: there are lots of exquisite recordings of Beethoven’s sonatas and there are also a great deal of conservatism when it comes to Beethoven’s works. Coming with something new is at the same time difficult and dangerous. But that makes the thing even more exciting. Apart from interpretation, I might even use some very experimental studio techniques to give the listener a whole new experience of recorded music.

Preparing, recording and editing these two albums sounds like a lot of work. It was, is and will be. But I can’t wait to hit the studio in… 5 months! Alongside the several other major projects planned for 2013 (will talk about this soon!), it seems to be the beginning of an exciting journey!