Beth Levin ~ On Beethoven and A Single Breath


Pianist Beth Levin had a few minutes to discuss her thoughts on her current recordings of the last 3 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas titled A Single Breath. Please keep an eye on this wonderful soloist, she will be making some interesting music as well as some upcoming appearances, featuring even more performances of Beethoven.

You can purchase A Single Breath here or on the bottom link.

CM: Can you please talk about the significance of this recording of the last 3 Beethoven sonatas and why it’s titled “A Single Breath”?

Beth: Beethoven said that he wrote the three sonatas “in a single breath”. I think that when you perform them in one evening you get a sense of that.

CM: And you performed all 3 in a single program as well?

Beth: I’ve only performed them as a group six times now, most recently in Germany.

CM: And the 3 together represent the height of his creativity, like other late works of his?

blevinjulienjordas[Photo left, courtesy of Julien Jordas, NY Times]
Beth: Well, they may mark the end of the classical sonata form. After Op. 111, if you wanted to write a sonata you’d have to find another way.

CM: Yes, something he’d been trying to change all along.

Beth: It was so definitive, far-reaching, and as I said, an ending of a sort.

CM: The Arietta from the 32nd sonata–What are your thoughts about the “boogie-woogie” part?

Beth: Oh, I resist that comparison, I mean it’s an extreme dotted rhythm section…

CM: Well, it’s not jazz, but other pianists seem to think it’s like “proto-jazz”…

Beth: The last thing I think of is jazz when playing it, but it’s incredibly driving and needs to have precision…

CM: I guess the way he has it syncopated, it kind of has this swing to it.

Beth: I don’t quite see it.

CM: It isn’t quite jazz because he doesn’t have any blue notes in there, like Gershwin, but I’m sure some people would wonder if this was where that started.

CM: Do you have any special shows coming up next year?

Beth: First up, in Feb, I’ll be playing the Emperor Concerto with the Monmouth Symphony, then this coming March, I’m performing a cello/piano recital with Sam Magill at Bargemusic featuring a transcription for cello and piano of the Kreutzer Sonata, as well as selections by Barber, Rudin and Stubblefield.
Also next year I”m going to play OP. 109-111 in Philadelphia and South Carolina.

Click here to purchase Beth’s A Single Breath CD on iTunes

Her other CDs are here as well

Beth Levin (

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