James Wood talks to Thomas Jones about Beethoven, drawing on his review of three recent books on the composer. They discuss some of the apparently immovable Beethoven mythologies – the keyboard pedagogy, the heroic glower, the many appropriations of the 9th Symphony – and the blend of Viennese tradition and radical invention which characterises his music, particularly the piano sonatas, from the ethereal melodic sweetness of The Tempest to the terrifying, thumping trills of the Hammerklavier.

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Pieces and recordings featured in this episode:

5th Symphony: Berlin Philharmonic / Furtwängler (1954)
3rd Symphony: Berlin Philharmonic / Furtwängler (1952)
Piano Sonata No. 29 (‘Hammerklavier’): Barenboim (1984)
Piano Sonata No. 29 (‘Hammerklavier’): Solomon (1952)
Piano Sonata No. 17 (‘The Tempest’): Gould (1960)
9th Symphony: Beyreuth Festival Orchestra / Furtwängler (1951)
Piano Sonata No. 7: Horowitz (1959)
Piano Sonata No. 26 (‘Les Adieux’): Kempff (1951)
Piano Sonata No. 31: Hess (1953)

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