In Search of new paths
“This recording of eleven Beethoven sonatas was made by Südwestrundfunk during several recitals entitled Beethoven – in search of new paths, which I had the honour of giving within the framework of the long-established Bad Krozingen Castle Concert Series. These sonatas were written in short succession from 1797 to 1802: one practically led to the next. It was the same period in which Beethoven is said to have revealed to a friend that he was “dissatisfied with his previous works” and intended to “embark on a new path”. Indeed, in those years, the composer seems to have stepped on the turbo accelerator, innovating sonata form in a series of energetically concentrated experiments.
Whenever we, as artists, reconsider our approach, new horizons are opened. Starting with a massive, powerful thunderclap at the beginning of the Grande Sonate pathétique – his first highlight in the genre – Beethoven’s variegated compendium of unique sonatas rapidly attained previously unimagined dimensions with the polymorph metastructures of the Opus 31 sonata trilogy. That tempestuous, late 18th-century quest-hunt produces tensions which I attempt to take as a point of departure to explore new paths and to embark on adventures of interpretation. My explorations begin “behind the notes”. Beethoven’s musical propositions are often bold, unconventional, and extreme, something which we often tend to overlook and smooth out with today’s knowledge of all that was to come. I not only resorted to the new Beethoven editions by Jonathan del Mar based on autograph manuscripts and first printings as a compass in my quest, but I also used Barry Cooper’s detailed, critically enlightened edition, a beacon for our times. ………
(from: the Preword by Tobias Koch, Booklet)
To trace the essence of sound with the joy of discovery and open-minded versatility – that is the musical credo of Tobias Koch, one of the most fascinating current performers in the area of historical keyboard instruments. Koch never ceases to surprise his audiences with a series of exceptional projects, featuring an extensive variety of repertoire and a pronounced curiosity for discovering rare historical instruments and unknown musical gems.
A comprehensive musical career as soloist, chamber musician, and vocal accompanist has led him to tour throughout Europe. He appears as a guest artist in leading festivals such as Schleswig-Holstein, Ludwigsburg, Verbier, and the Warsaw Chopin Festival.
Important musical partners include Andreas Staier, Joshua Bell, Steven Isserlis, Concerto Köln, Collegium 1704 Prag, Hofkapelle München, Frieder Bernius with Hofkapelle Stuttgart, the choirs of the broadcasting entities WDR (Cologne) and BR (Munich), and singers such as Dorothee Mields, Jan Kobow, Thomas E. Bauer, and Markus Schäfer, with whom he has been collaborating for many years. Tobias Koch works in tandem with instrument makers and restorers, as well as with some of the most important musical instrument museums;
He is on the faculty of the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf and imparts masterclasses on an international level. A wide range of publications and a great number of broadcast productions for radio and television round out his work in the field of music, along with over 40 CD releases of works ranging from Mozart to Brahms.