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Michael Houstoun to Perform Complete Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycle

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 

In 2013, Michael Houstoun will celebrate his 60th birthday with performances of the historic complete cycle of all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas. Chamber Music New Zealand will present seven programmes in 40 concerts across ten centres throughout New Zealand.

It has been nearly twenty years since Houstoun performed the complete Beethoven cycle under the auspices of the Wellington Chamber Music Society in 1993. He subsequently repeated the cycle in Auckland in 1994. These performances inspired the establishment of the the Morrison Music Trust in 1995, which has since documented Houstoun performing the complete cycle across a set of 10 discs. These historic albums include: ‘Piano Sonatas from the Middle Period’ (MMT2001-03); ‘The Last Five Piano Sonatas’ (MMT2004-05); ‘The Early Sonatas’ (MMT2011-13); and ‘The Op.14, 22 and 31 Piano Sonatas' (MMT2017-18). Trust Records also has recorded and released a live film recording on DVD of Houstoun performing the last three sonatas by Beethoven (MMT4001). These are available from fine music stores in New Zealand and from 43 Books & Music.

Houstoun’s long association with the music of Beethoven began when, as a young child, he heard a recording of the ‘Appassionata’ sonata by Arthur Rubinstein. It was this experience that shaped his course in life and the preeminent place Beethoven would take in his repertoire. Although he has been acclaimed for his performances of the works of a wide range of composers, both classic and romantic – Mozart, Liszt, Rachmaninov – it is the sonatas and concertos of Beethoven with which he is most identified. Anticipating the cycle performances next year, Houstoun has said: ‘It was Beethoven who woke me up to myself as a musician. Beethoven tells you about yourself. What is important is sincerity and being true to the instrument. I’m just going to practice and play. And see what happens.’

For further information about these performances, visit the Chamber Music New Zealand website: www.chambermusic.co.nz/recycle.





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