Stories » Rudolf Buchbinder set to play Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in Edinburgh / theguardian

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Rudolf Buchbinder set to play Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in Edinburgh / theguardian

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"Beethoven was the most romantic of composers," says Rudolf Buchbinder, thrusting a score at me to demonstrate exactly how and why. "Just look: nobody else wrote ‘a tempo' after ‘espressivo'. When Beethoven wrote ‘espressivo' – which he did a lot – he meant something deeply emotional, something extreme, something that would stop time as we know it." This might sound like the minutiae of technical lexicon, but for the 68-year-old Austrian pianist it is much more than that. He plays me a few bars of Beethoven's Sonata in E, Opus 109, pulling the pulse and dynamics around like a badly warped record."You hear? That is romantic freedom."

When Buchbinder performs Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in Edinburgh this month , it will be his 49th account of the complete cycle (his 50th is in Vienna in the autumn). He has recorded the set three times, with the latest coming out soon on DVD. These pieces have been the backbone of his 50-year career – yet he is still moved to tears every time he plays them. "OK, I cry very easily," he clarifies with a wave of the hand, "but yes, in every sonata there is some part where the tears come. I am never finished with this music. I learn every time. It is a challenge every time."  READ THE FULL guardian ARTICLE