It’s Beethoven’s Birthday! Matthew McAllister Plays the 2nd Movement of the Sonata Pathétique

As I think I’ve mentioned more than a couple of times, I’m sort of Beethoven freak, so I’m always looking for  pieces by him arranged for guitar, and then for an excuse to post videos here! Well, December 16 is the 247th birthday of ol’ Ludwig van (as he was immortalized by Alex in A Clockwork Orange), so that had me hunting on YouTube for an appropriate guitar video. The one I found is really wonderful: Scottish guitarist Matthew McAllister plays the moving and well-known second movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, popularly known as the Sonata Pathétique, written in 1798, when Beethoven was 27. McAllister is one of Europe’s great guitar talents; a fine player, teacher, and also host of the renowned Classical Guitar Retreat each year on the Isle of Cumbrae off the west coast of Scotland. (His latest album, shipping December 22, is called American Collection, featuring works by Chick Corea, Ralph Towner, Philip Rosheger, Lou Harrison, Frank Zappa, and Philip Glass—can’t wait to hear that!)

Last July, we posted an extraordinary video of the Los Ungaros Guitar Trio performing the dramatic first movement of the Sonata Pathétique. The two videos work nicely as a pair, even though one has three guitarists, the other just one. —Blair Jackson