Stephen Manes' Beethoven sonata series has been a true highlight of the 2006-07 concert season. Last fall, for the third time in his life, Manes embraced a challenge few pianists ever attempt, performing all 32 Beethoven sonatas from memory, in eight concerts. For him and for everyone who has joined him along the road, it has been an unforgettable journey -- musically and emotionally.Monday, Manes winds up his exploration of Beethoven's masterpieces with a concert he calls "The Last Sonata." The evening begins with the Sonata No. 16 in G, Op. 31, No. 1; and it continues with the Sonata No. 22 in F, Op. 54.
Then it's time for the last sonata Beethoven wrote, the Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111. This sonata is an adventure in itself: Its passionate first movement gives way to a second and final movement, in C major, comprising theme and variations. It's a tour de force for any pianist, from the diminished seventh chords in the first movement to the rhythmic complexities of the last. (One of the variations, because of its jazzy tone, is known as the "boogie-woogie" variation. It'll be fun to see how Manes handles that one.)
A reception, to celebrate Manes' accomplishment, will follow the concert.Admission is $10, with students $5. The concert takes place at 8 p.m. in Lippes Hall at Slee Hall on the University at Buffalo's North Campus. For information, call 645-2921.
-- Mary Kunz Goldman