Starting from op. 101, Beethoven tried to change the usual naming of piano of that time with the German term “Hammerklavier” (hammer keyboard). However eventually in the world of music the name Hammerklavier sonata is now only assigned to the monumental sonata No.29. In German the word “Hammer“ (hammer) has a second meaning, which is “something amazing and extraordinary”, and it is no wonder, that up to now the most challenging piece of music which requires perfect technique and utmost intensity of creative power from the pianist still goes by this name! Since its first performance by Beethoven’s disciple Carl Czerny the sonata was long considered impossible to perform and received its second concert birth only thanks to Franz Lizst.

In the period of composing the sonata No.29 Beethoven already lost his hearing almost completely, thus, the piece was “…created during the hard times”. Coming far ahead of its time, the Hammerklavier sonata along with the Grosse Fuge is considered to be one of the most unattainable compositions written by Beethoven. Yet for the virtuoso musician from China who performs it the sonata presents no difficulty!    

Young Chinese pianist Xingyu Lu began his higher music education in Beijing at the age of nine years. That was followed by studying in the US, and presently Xingyu Lu is finishing his studies for bachelor’s degree at the University for Music, Drama and Media in Hannover. During his still unfolding music career the pianist already became a prize-winner of many international contests. 

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano sonata No. 29 B-flat major, op.106 “The Grand Hammerklavier Sonata” (1817-18)

I. Allegro
II. Scherzo. Assai vivace
III.  Adagio sostenuto. Appassionato e con molto sentimento
IV. Largo - Allegro risoluto

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