classical music

The Complete Chopin Sonatas Meet Ligeti Etudes

Part of Classical Season 2019/20

This event has been cancelled as we are currently closed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Chopin’s three Piano Sonatas are set in relief by two of György Ligeti's Piano Etudes, with pianist Julian Jacobson.

The highly charged Romanticism of Chopin and the intricately sculpted abstract modernism of Ligeti might seem to have little in common.

Jacobson proposes that they share a richly creative and exploratory use of the piano and an unparalleled mastery of keyboard texture.

He presents Chopin's two mature sonatas – the heroic, stormy opus 35, with the funeral march at its heart, and the serenely beautiful opus 58, written towards the end of the composer’s brief life, alongside his early student work, the opus 4 Sonata.

Chopin's first piano sonata, written at the age of sixteen, has been almost totally overshadowed by his two great later sonatas.

Nevertheless, it is full of tantalising glimpses of Chopin's mature style and already displays his genius as a pianist and writer for the piano.

These works are interspersed with two of Ligeti's endlessly inventive Piano Etudes.

Jacobson himself gave the critically acclaimed first UK performance of Book One of the Etudes at Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1987. His recording for BBC Radio 3 was highly praised by the composer.

In recent years Jacobson has become widely admired as a performer of Beethoven, including his three celebrated ‘marathon’ performances of all 32 in a single day, and as Chairman of the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe.

In this recital he returns to his early love of Chopin as well as reliving his commitment to Ligeti's Etudes.


Julian Jacobson piano


Chopin: Piano Sonata No.1 in C minor, Op.4
Ligeti: Etude No.10 (Der Zauberlehrling)
Chopin: Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.35 (Marche funèbre)
Ligeti: Etude No.6 (Automne à Varsovie)
Chopin: Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op.58

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Purcell Room


£12 - £20
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