[...] This piece frightens the daylights out of me [...]
Instead of Moonlight it's more: Stealthily follow "problem" into the woods. Quietly track problem into lonely territory. Hide and wait for pursued to double back. Problem solved and dragged to hiding-hole. Walk out of woods - not exactly pleased with what occurred - but satisfied it had to be done. [...]
Well said, Tararex! Consider your impression validated!
I am playing the first movement in church on Sunday for "special music." Scripture reading and sermon topic: Psalm 23, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no ill..."
Several thoughts: I remember the ideas in Schiff's lecture were brought out in discussion when Carey
posted his rendition of the first movement a while ago. I also recall an "artist in residence" lecture at the John Deere Center in Moline, IL, sometime in the 70s, in which the pianist said she believed the movement is often played too, too fast, and went on to play it at a ponderously, ponderously slow pace. I *also* recall Valentina Lisitsa, last year in recital, introduce the first movement as a funeral dirge. That did not square with my understanding of it, at all! (Though she did play an exceptionally cogent third movement...!)
Personally, I think this piece is hard to wreck, no matter how it is played. If you get in bounds, it is incredibly deep music that accepts a wide range of tempi and interpretation. Argue all you want about the pedalling--play it on a pianoforte if you want (fine by me! I'd love to hear it!)--but this piece is Die Hard, 1801
: Suspense! Comedy! Action! "I cried. I laughed. I cheered. I want to see it again and again!"