It has been a long while since a major pianist planned to play Beethoven 32 Sonatas in Paris – I remember the series of concerts given by Alfred Brendel and Maurizio Pollini in Pleyel, but that was in the 90s!
The 2nd concert played by Barenboim at the Philharmonie covered a large scope, with 4 Sonatas from different periods. Some artists prefer to play the works chronologically, others prefer to select pieces as they see fit, and both choices have their charm.
Barenboim started with the famous Pathétique, with its well known opening movement, and a most remarkable Adagio Cantabile and final Rondo: Allegro.
He had picked the Funeral March next, and decided to play the Marcia Funebre after the concluding Allegro, closing the 1st part of the concert in this dark atmosphere.
The 2nd part started with the much lighter and shorter Sonata No. 25, a pleasant introduction to the highlight of the evening, Sonata No. 28. Daniel Barenboim gave an outstanding version of this masterpiece, the first Sonata of Beethoven’s last period.
The series continues in April-May.