Luigi Enrico Rossi in memoriam


Pianist: Pedro Alcalde
Piano: Steinway 517.045
Production: Sender Freies Berlin (SFB)
Production director: Jürgen Petzinger
Realization director: Wolfgang Hoff
Sound engineers: Wolfgang Zülch and Peter Avar
Sound editor: Ricarda Molder
Date: 8/19959/1996


Brahms said that when he played Beethoven he lost all his individuality: he “already had enough to do” just following the directions of the score. In fact, a score by Beethoven always resembles a drawing that makes visible what is essentially conceptual. Among Beethoven’s huge music production it is perhaps the third movement of his Piano Sonata in A flat major op. 110, which illustrates this fact most clearly. Completely removed from any residue of the traditional last movement sonata-rondo form, Beethoven undertakes here an unexpected journey. The opposition between “individual” song (Recitativo, Arioso dolente) and “collective” formal structure (Fugue) becomes the axis of an intense dialectical development. An indication of the score accompanies different moments of the process through the movement: una corda (“one string”). The modern piano has unfortunately lost this pedal action, limiting the displacement of the hammers to a maximum of two out of the three strings of each note.

The sound engineers at Radio Berlin (SFB) proposed a special configuration in the placement of diverse microphones that would permit transcribe the important colour modification prescribed by Beethoven with a sound that would be structurally equivalent. To this purpose it would also be necessary to ensure that during the musical performance, the left pedal were only pressed when prescribed, and not as is custom, randomly by the interpreter. This initial thought process generated the idea of this experimental recording: not only microphones but also the way to approach the scores. Following Brahms’ observation, two fundamental principles were established: neither pianistic seduction, nor interpretative rhetoric. When we finally delivered the finished recording to the director of the music section of the SFB, Dr. Wilhelm Matejka, he said after the hearing that it was the first time he had “understood” the sonata. His words had a special significance for me, because the pianistic beauty of the piece had never concerned me, but its formal intelligibility had, greatly so.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Sonata op.110
01 1. Moderato cantabile molto espressivo
02 2. Allegro molto
03 3. Adagio ma non troppo, Recitativo, Andante, Adagio, Meno Adagio, Adagio
-Adagio ma non troppo, Klagender Gesang / Arioso dolente
-Fuga, Allegro ma non troppo
-L’istesso tempo di arioso, Ermattet klagend / Perdendo le forze, dolente
-L’istesso tempo della Fuga, poi a poi di nuovo vivente / Nach und nach wieder auflebend

Bagatellen op.126
04 1. Andante con moto
05 2. Allegro
06 3. Andante, cantabile e grazioso
07 4. Presto
08 5. Quasi allegretto
09 6. Presto – Andante amabile e con moto

Klavierstück WoO 61a – Comme un souvenir à Sarah Burney Payne – 1825
10 Allegretto quasi Andante