PH Concert Series - Authentic Beethoven


On Tuesday 9 May 2023, the Delegation of Prague to the EU organised the first event of the “Prague House Concert Series”.
During the Cello and Pianoforte recital with the subtitle Authentic Beethoven, the artists Olsi Leka and Piet Kuijken reproduced the Beethoven’s original sound by using an Anton Walter original pianoforte from ca. 1800 and a Raffaele Gagliano cello (mounted on gutstrings) from ca. 1820.

Authentic Beethoven Olsi Leka - Cello Piet Kuijken - Pianoforte

Programme :

Ludwig van Beethoven: Cello Sonata No. 1 in F major, Op. 5/1

  1. Adagio sostenuto – Allegro
  2. Rondo. Allegro vivace

Jan Václav Hugo Voříšek: Variations for Cello and Piano, Op. 9

Ludwig van Beethoven: Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 5/2

  1. Adagio sostenuto e espressivo – Allegro molto più tosto presto
  2. Rondo. Allegro

Ludwig van Beethoven’s five Sonatas for Cello and Piano constitute the first pieces in a teeming repertoire for a cello and piano. Composed between 1796 and 1815, the sonata cycle retraces composer's stylistic evolution from his early gallant, virtuoso tendencies to the more expressive adventures of his later years and thereby representing, in a single microcosm, the totality of his musical life. In 1796 the young Beethoven presented his first two cello sonatas, Op. 5 at the court of Frederick William II, an avid cellist and the reigning Prussian monarch. Released in print the next year, these revolutionary sonatas forever altered the cello repertoire by fundamentally redefining the relationship between the cello and the piano and promoting their parity.

In the early 19th century, sonatas for piano and instrument were usually advertised as piano sonatas with instrumental accompaniment. The cello sonata was especially so plagued, as it grew out of sonatas for continuo; as late as the beginning of the 19th century it was still common for the cello to double the left hand of the piano part, with the piano right hand playing obbligato figurations and melodies. Beethoven, indeed, is credited with composing one of the first cello sonatas with a written-out piano part. The Op. 5 sonatas are the first two examples of fully developed cello sonatas in the modern tradition.

Beethoven continued to develop the potential of the duo partnership in his three other cello sonatas - the lyrical and heroic Op. 69 and the two experimental sonatas Op. 102, No. 1 and No. 2, transcendent compositions conceived on the threshold of the composer's late style.

A child prodigy of the keyboard, heir to Václav Jan Tomášek in composition and Johann Nepomuk Hummel on the piano, Jan Václav Hugo Voříšek (1791 - 1825) was one of the driving forces of Viennese musical life between 1815 and 1825. His talent was duly recognized, as in 1822 he became organist to the imperial court, a post which ranked him definitively alongside the foremost celebrities. He was a friend of Schubert’s and admired by Beethoven, who requested the honour of being one of his pallbearers. At the time of his death, the Czech composer Jan Václav Hugo Voříšek was only 34 years old. The compositional legacy he left behind is not particularly extensive but in terms of artistic value confirms his status as a major composer. His style straddles the borderline between the Classical and the Romantic.