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Beethoven recital by Anand Seshadri to celebrate 250 years of the German pianist

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Spend an evening learning the musical motifs in classic pieces by Beethoven, Brahms and Liszt

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 is arguably one of the most well-known pieces in musical history.

“Dun dun duuuun” — Anand Seshadri sings the opening four-note motif to my instant recognition. As we enter Beethoven’s 250th birth anniversary, the city-based pianist will be holding a lecture-recital, playing pieces by Brahms, Liszt, and Beethoven.

“Before I play the pieces, I will also be explaining the motifs and themes to look out for. It is not easy for an untrained ear to notice the various harmonic progressions. So I will be highlighting the melodies by first singing them,” says Anand.

To mark 250 years of Beethoven, Anand says that in all his concerts this year, he will be including a repertoire by the legendary German composer. In this particular one, he is including three pieces: Brahms Rhapsody in g minor, opus 79, no 2; Liszt Vallee d’Obermann from Années de pèlerinage, S. 160; and finally, Beethoven Sonata in C major ‘Waldstein’, opus 53.

“I wanted to play Brahms and Liszt because both of them had high regard for Beethoven, and were inspired by him. In fact, Brahms’ First Symphony was dubbed Beethoven’s 10th Symphony when it premièred,” says the 29-year-old. Furthermore, Brahms acknowledged Beethoven’s influence — to people remarking on the similarities between the tune in his first symphony and Beethoven’s ninth, he is said to have responded with a sardonic, ‘Any ass can see that.’

The Beethoven piece that Anand will be playing is from his middle period: “Opus 53 — it is a challenging repertoire that Beethoven composed at a time when deafness was just starting in his life,” he says.

But his personal favourite is Beethoven’s 32nd piano sonata from opus 111, composed when the master turned entirely deaf. “Later in his life, he turned more inwards, and his pieces were more spiritual. That piece has been nicknamed Nirvana sonata. Its second part is treated in five variations… in the first, second and third variations, you can hear happiness building. And in the fourth, the happiness drops, and there is tranquillity instead. The fifth is a combination of everything and it finally ends in nothingness,” he says.

Anand’s inclination towards pieces that sound tranquil is also why he selected these three pieces to perform. “Liszt also portrays the spiritual quest of a man in the Christian tradition. Brahms was agnostic in his views, but if you examine some of his work, there are instances where he too seemed spiritual,” he says.

Having completed the Master of Music in Piano Performance with distinction from the Birmingham Conservatoire, UK, when he was just 21, Anand has performed across the UK, Hungary, the US and India. He was even awarded a place at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. “I have been working on composing music as well. But composing piano pieces requires a lot of evolution… My main goal is to use South Indian Carnatic ragas in the Western form,” he says.

The lecture recital will take place at Arulnathar Lutheran Church, Kellys, Kilpauk on December 16, from 7 pm to 8.30 pm.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 2:28:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/beethoven-recital-by-anand-seshadri/article30286341.ece

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