Michael Houstoun is not only New Zealand’s foremost Beethoven pianist: he ranks among the great Beethoven pianists of our age. He celebrates his 60th birthday with the historic cycle of 32 Beethoven sonatas, some of the supreme treasures of human artistic endeavour. The pair chosen for our festival are the ‘Tempest’ and the ‘Waldstein’.
Michael speaks of the challenge: “When Beethoven wrote most of them, he was already deaf. So he wrote always beyond the instrument. This is the music in his ears… There are some things – like the octave glissandi in the last movement of the Waldstein – where he does ask for things that are almost impossible. However you can see that they are driven by such totally musical necessity that you do everything you possibly can to try to make them work.”
This will be a superb concert.
“It was Beethoven who woke me up to myself as a musician. The thing about Beethoven is that he somehow synthesises human psychological
truths, with all of their subtlety and all of their range, into music.