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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 1, 2004

Pianist Uriel Tsachor Tackles Beethoven's 'Most Difficult Sonata' Oct. 15

Pianist Uriel Tsachor from the University of Iowa School of Music will tackle Beethoven's "longest and most difficult sonata" as part of a solo recital program at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The recital will be free and open to the public.

Before intermission, Tsachor will play two works -- Robert Schumann's "Arabeske" in C major, op. 18, and Franz Schubert's Sonata in E minor, D. 566 -- while the second half of the program will consist of a single work, Beethoven's "Hammaklavier" Sonata in B-flat major, op. 106.

"The 'Hammerklavier' is Beethoven's longest and most difficult sonata due to its symphonic proportions and length, and enormous technical and musical challenges for the pianist," Tsachor said. "Beethoven titled the piece to celebrate the possibilities of the then relatively new hammered keyboard -- the piano -- which eventually superceded the plucked keyboard instruments, such as the harpsichord. Thus the piece contains many orchestral effects previously not used by Beethoven that add to the above difficulties of performance.

"Particular features of the piece also include the longest slow movement that Beethoven wrote, longer even than those cherished by audiences in the 'Eroica' and Ninth symphonies. A particularly unusual feature of the piece is the last movement which is a fugue that is often described as futuristic and apocalyptic sounding, using every known fugal technique including inversion, crab movement and so forth.

"For me personally, learning this piece was two years of deep process work. But after this long period of incubation, I feel ready for the task."

Tsachor also commented on the other works on the program. "Schumann's 'Arabeske' was composed in 1839 and was one of the pieces written while he was living in Vienna. It is one of his most inward looking pieces: delicate, dreamy and mystical.

"The Schubert Sonata was written in 1817, very early in his career. It is one of the so-called 'incomplete' sonatas, missing a finale movement. When performed, it is customary to play the first two movements -- the first in E minor, and the second in E major -- without including the third movement, which ends in A flat major.

"Like so many of Schubert's 'incomplete' sonatas, this also foreshadows much later music in its heartfelt pathos, dissonant harmonic language -- particularly in the first movement -- and unusual rhythmic effects that include surprising pauses in the music."

Uriel Tsachor joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in the fall of 1988. A Steinway artist, Tsachor was a winner of the Bosendorfer Empire International Competition in 1986 and the Busoni Competition in 1985, and a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition in 1983. He is a graduate of the Rubin Academy in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and the Juilliard School in New York. He has performed as a soloist in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, New York, Chicago, Vienna, Paris and other cities around the world.

Tsachor has performed with the Israel Philharmonic by invitation from Zubin Mehta. He has also appeared as soloist with the New York City Symphony, the Teatro La Fenice Symphony in Venice and the National Orchestra of Belgium, among others. He has performed both live and in recordings for radio and television stations in Israel, Europe and the United States, and he has made 18 recordings for the EMI, Musical Heritage Society, PHONIC, DIVOX, Olympia and EMS labels. In November 1999 the Paris-based label CALLIOPE released a two-CD set of the complete violin and piano sonatas and arrangements by Brahms, featuring Tsachor and violinist Andrew Hardy.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

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