classical music

Víkingur Ólafsson: Beethoven’s First and Last

Part of Classical Season 2020/21

The pianist of the moment continues his Southbank Centre residency, contextualizing Beethoven’s first and last sonatas with music ancient and modern.

An entire world separates Beethoven’s first piano sonata from his 32nd and last.

In the Piano Sonata Op.2 No.1, Beethoven makes music in the image of his forebears. But beneath the surface of this elegant, shapely work there is agitation, resolve and a spirit bursting with emotion.

Nearly three decades later, the composer had encountered crushing personal obstacles.

His Piano Sonata Op.111 shakes its fists with vehemence and defiance, generating a raging emotional storm.

But just as quickly, the music transcends suffering and finds peace, laying out a melody of extraordinary simplicity. In this gesture of distillation and calm is enshrined Beethoven’s farewell to the piano sonata.

Gramophone magazine’s 2019 Artist of the Year and Southbank Centre resident, Víkingur Ólafsson, contextualizes Beethoven’s first and last sonatas with music by Johann Sebastian Bach and Thomas Adès.

Adès’ Traced Overhead is a musical response to oil paintings depicting angels ascending in shafts of light. Bach’s gigantic Overture in the French Style is a celebration of opulence from a composer who knew all about the power of detail.

Bach at the keyboard has rarely sounded so fresh, expressive and joyous
The Sunday Times

Performers

Víkingur Ólafsson piano

Repertoire

JS Bach: Partita (Overture in the French style) in B minor, BWV.831
Thomas Adès: Traced Overhead, Op.15
Interval
Beethoven: Sonata in F minor, Op.2 No.1; Sonata in C minor, Op.111

Dates & times

25 Mar 2021
Approximate run time: 120 mins
Run times may vary, find out more

where

Queen Elizabeth Hall

Pricing

£10 - £45
Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)

Multi-buy discount

£10, £18, £25, £35, £45

Multi-buy discount
Book 3 to 4 events in the International Piano Series and save 10% on tickets, or book 5 or more events and save 20%. This discount is not available on Premium seats and only applies to multiple concerts bought in the same series, not across two or more series. 

Concessions

25% off (limited availability)
Find out more about our Concessions policy

need to know

Ticketing
Book 3 to 4 events in the International Piano Series and save 10% on tickets, or book 5 or more events and save 20%. This discount is not available on Premium seats and only applies to multiple concerts bought in the same series, not across two or more series.

Southbank Centre takes a strong view on secondary ticketing. We require the lead booker to attend (photo ID may be requested). Tickets can only be resold by Southbank Centre or one of its authorised agents.

Discounted student tickets are available from Student Pulse in the month before this concert. Some of these seats may be on the stage.

Download the Student Pulse app or register online.