It's Liz here, captivated by a US Open match between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. Watching excellent tennis on TV is a nice way to cap off a day of traversing the gnarled, craggy contours of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge. Greg and I performed Beethoven's very own four-hand arrangement at Juilliard's Convocation this afternoon, in honor of Juilliard's recent acquisition of the long-lost manuscript. The manuscript itself is a fascinating document, revealing the frustration—creative and otherwise—of Beethoven as he was penning the four-hand version. As sloppy and illegible as the manuscript is, Beethoven's radical vision and genius burn through.
Regarding the performance, Greg and I did our best to make sense of the abstruseness of the score. Unfortunately we didn't have nearly enough time to rehearse due to all sorts of conflicts (i.e. travels, solo recitals, apartment business, the wedding of one of our best friends, etc., etc.). But excuses are ultimately useless because this is notoriously difficult music, and putting this together would have been challenging regardless! Despite our frantic preparation process and the complications of this version, the performance went quite well and I have to say we ended up loving the piece!