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Andras Schiff Deconstructs Sonatas / New York Times

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Deep in the second movement of Beethoven's last piano sonata there's a passage that's become known as the boogie-woogie variation. The music, written in the early 1820s, suddenly breaks into a syncopated, showy dance that seems to anticipate the ragtime that would come almost a century later. A swinging riff repeats again and again, punctuated each time by two bold chords.

Performing that sonata on Friday evening at Carnegie Hall, Andras Schiff played those chords with grounded, almost admonitory, regularity, bringing the swinging motif back to earth. A strange, even wild, moment kept being rendered stable and under control.