described: "Beethoven's playing was incredibly powerful and full
of character, marked by a matchless bravura and fluency; ..."
"... Hummel's supporters accused Beethoven of abusing the piano,
of having no clarity or purity, of using the pedal so much as
to produce nothing but confused noise..."
correspondent to the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung from Vienna
4/1799 described: "Beethoven's playing is brilliant in the extreme,
but not very delicate, and at times becomes unclear ..."
von Breuning saw Beethoven play a scale for him once and noted
very curved fingers, so much so that they were hidden by the hand.
a teacher, Ries describes him as "extraordinarily patient" "...he
sometimes made me repeat a thing ten times of even more often."
" ... If I made a mistake somewhere in the passage, or struck
wrong notes, or missed intervals - which he often wanted strongly
emphasized - he rarely said anything. However, if I lacked expression
in crescendos, etc. or in the character of a piece, he became
angry because, he maintained, the first was accident, while the
latter resulted from inadequate knowledge, feeling, or attention.
The first happened quite frequently to him, too, even when he
played in public." [Wegeler/Ries p82-3].
usually kept a very steady rhythm and only occasionally, indeed,
very rarely, speeded up the tempo somewhat. At times he restrained
the tempo in his crescendo with a ritardando, which had a beautiful
and most striking effect." [per Ries p94]
memoirs of Sir John Russell in his "A tour through Germany 1820-1822
[B.Nwsltr v8#2p40]: B., believing himself alone began to improvise
at the keyboard of a friends with others in another room of the
friends home: "Having been left alone, B. now sat down at the
pianoforte. He began by playing some short, isolated broken chords,
almost as if he feared being caught at some mischievous deed.
But gradually he began to forget everything around him and lost
himself for about a half hour in a fantasy, the style of which
was extremely varied and which was especially characterized by
abrupt transitions. The connoisseurs were enraptured, and for
the uninitiated it was all the more interesting to see how the
music from this man's soul expressed itself in his face. He seemed
to have more feeling for the bold, the imperious and the tempestuous
than for gentleness and yearning. His facial muscles swelled and
his veins bulged. His eye, which already seemed wild, rolled about
intensely, his mouth twitched, and Beethoven had the appearance
of a sorcerer who felt overwhelmed by the spirits which he himself
had conjured up."