Performed by Michael Houstoun at his recital celebrating the the 250th birthday of Beethoven
The Sonata in D is the last of the trilogy that make up the Opus 10. It was written in 1798 and finds Beethoven at the height of his powers as a keyboard virtuoso in the highly competitive environment of Vienna where he'd arrived six years previous in his early 20s.
The work is dedicated to Countess Anna Margarete von Browne (her last name a hangover of Irish heritage through marriage). She and her husband were loyal patrons to the young Beethoven, and not only with cash – he received a horse for an earlier dedication.
The slow second movement is marked mesto or "mournful" and forms the gravitational centre of the sonata.
Of that Largo, Beethoven wrote: 'In a painting's shades of light and shadows, everybody can witness the emotional state of mind of a melancholy person without the need for a specific title.'
Recorded by RNZ Concert in Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber, 16 December 2020
Producer: Tim Dodd; Engineer: Adrian Hollay