Beethoven pedalling

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John Ruggero
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Re: Beethoven pedalling

Post by John Ruggero » 10 Oct 2019, 17:48

Dear Ben, I finally saw the article that you kindly offered in my private messages. (I need to check that more often!)

I found the article to be very well-written and researched with several important sources of the time cited. It was reassuring to read some of the pedaling advice of Beethoven's time, which I found to be the same as what we do today. It was also both amusing and informing to read how less adept players of that time misused the pedal in the same way as today, to connect what should be connected by the fingers, how opposed Beethoven was to that approach, and how skilled he was in connecting chords with his fingers. Of particular interest were pedal indications in Beethoven's sketches which demonstrate how involved he was with pedal effects.

The author mentioned several common uses of the pedal, including sustaining and "sweetening" (adding resonance to) melody notes and chords. As well, the pedal was absolutely necessary to connect repeated notes and chords on the pianos of Beethoven's time, not only because of its lack of resonance, but because of its lack of a repetition lever in the escapement. I am not sure that the author actually mentioned this.

The author, Leonardo Miucci, wrote his doctoral dissertation, soon to be published by Beethoven-Haus, on the Moscheles edition of the Beethoven Pianos Sonatas. Given what I saw in his Chopin Etudes edition, Moscheles was one of the best editors of his time. He tried to be authentic to the original editions, and intervened only when he felt necessary and in a very tasteful and musical way.
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