Mozart Piano Sonatas
Kristian Bezuidenhout (South Africa), Fortepiano
One of the bright stars in today’s universe of keyboard performers, Kristian Bezuidenhout was born in South Africa in 1979. He began his studies in Australia, completed them at the Eastman School of Music and now lives in London. After initial studies as a modern pianist with Rebecca Penneys, he explored early keyboards, studying harpsichord with Arthur Haas, fortepiano with Malcolm Bilson and continuo playing and performance practice with Paul O’Dette.
Bezuidenhout first gained international recognition at the age of 21 after winning the prestigious first prize as well as the audience prize in the Bruges Fortepiano Competition. He now divides his time between concerto, recital and chamber music engagements and has a long-term recording arrangement with Harmonia Mundi. Victoria’s music lovers are fortunate indeed to be able to see and hear him perform an all-Mozart programme on March 7th, at Oak Bay United Church.
Many in Bezuidenhout’s audience will be hearing for the first time the fortepiano, the instrument on which Mozart dazzled his contemporaries. It is a performance rarity now, having been replaced by a succession of grander, more powerful pianos during the 19th century. The fortepiano of Mozart’s day had a keyboard of about five octaves, no metal frame or braces, thin, harpsichord-like strings, leather-covered hammers, and a light but very responsive action.
Wolfgang Mozart’s ability at the keyboard is legendary. He was certainly amongst the foremost players of his day and, moreover, a composer of great depth and imagination. He composed in every available genre and his output during his abbreviated life (1756-1791) was as prodigious as his career as a performer. Piano sonatas were among his earliest compositions and the fortepiano was the instrument on which most of his musical education took place.
The works on the evening’s programme span almost the whole of Mozart’s adult career:
Sonata in E flat major K. 282
Suite in C major K. 399
Minuet in D major K. 355
Gigue in G major K. 574
Rondo in A minor K. 511
Fantasie in C minor K. 475
Sonata in A major K. 331
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