I am going to play the Waldstein Sonata. My name is Waldstein

I am going to play the Waldstein Sonata. My name is Waldstein


norman lebrecht

December 23, 2020

A descendant of Beethoven’s first patron in Vienna shows how it ought to be done.



  • Jean says:

    Nothing could be more authentic than Waldstein playing Waldstein

    • Eyði Guttason says:

      Yes indeed we are lucky

    • HugoPreuss says:

      A few years ago I attended a performance of “Lady Macbeth of Mzensk” at the Hamburg State Opera. The conductor was Maxim Shostakovich, the pianist was Dmitir Maximovich Shostakovich. And one had the feeling that there was one more family ghost hovering above the scene…

  • Johann Sr says:

    I would like to see Radetzky conduct Radetzky…

  • Frankie says:

    Charming. And a lovely piano. Thank you.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    A lovely tribute, Madame Waldstein, and a very creditable performance of my favorite Beethoven Sonata.
    I was I could play even half as well as you! Brava!
    (BTW, your opening practice tempo is faster than my “performance” tempo. I feel like dumping an inkwell into my piano.)

  • Raouf Zaidan says:

    Thank you for a lovingly and generously shaped and paced performance of this masterpiece. What an honor to hear you play it.

  • GG says:

    There are some question marks about her relationship to Beethoven’s Waldstein (Count Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel Waldstein). Might we have some more genealogical detail?

  • Joel Kemelhor says:

    Delightful. After starting to read along with the printed score, I stopped soon after to just listen and enjoy.

  • GG says:

    “Descendant”? It seems unlikely that there is any family connection. Beethoven’s patron Count Ferdinand Ernst Waldstein had no sons, only daughters. But what about Ferdinand’s near relations, i.e. his brothers and their families? Unfortunately Ferdinand’s line of the Waldstein family – the Dux (Duchcov) line – died out in 1901.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Interesting that it’s your favorite Beethoven sonata, Grei, as you’ve mentioned before. The motoric rhythms of the primo, meditative interlude that replaced Andante Favori as slow movement, leading without break to the near-Impressionism of the finale, with its difficult downward and upward octave glissandi that pianists solve in diffeent ways, give it a special pace in the canon.

    Elisabeth Waldstein’s is a creditable reading, the long spoken introductions charming and informative. I first heard it from Schnabel and Gieseking, then Elly Ney, Moiseiwitsch, and Edwin Fischer. I remember even a student’s performance in the Grotrian Steinweg salon on Sutter Street presided ove by Lilliam Goehring in San Francisco, from which l learned something. A good choice for Beethoven’s quarter-millenium celebration, and for a favorite sonata.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Hi Edgar,
      Whenever I hear the “Waldstein”, it conjures up in my mind the total image I have of Beethoven and his life, more than any other work of his does. I can’t explain it; it just does.
      Coincidentally, after your nice words about Madame Waldstein, you mention Schnabel and Gieseking first.
      It has long been my opinion that Gieseking gives the finest overall performance of the “Waldstein” (my folks owned the 78s), but the way Schnabel makes those glissandi in the finale sound like waves crashing against the cliffs is absolutely magical and unique.
      Happy New Year to you and yours! – Greg