Rush Hour: Why was Vladimir Lenin always happy to listen to Beethoven's Appassionata?

Alexander Jakobidze-Gitman
Monday 20 February 2017

Man at piano with Lenin listeningCultural historian and pianist Alexander Jakobidze-Gitman is a current Prokhorov Fellow at Sheffield.

Alexander gave a short talk to explain why the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin was willing to listen to Beethoven's piano sonata no. 23 "Appassionata" every day, and then performed this famous musical work.

In an essay much-quoted in Soviet media, Russian writer Maxim Gorky described how Lenin praised the "Appassionata" as an astonishing and superhuman work of music which he would never tire of listening to, but which also churned up humane – and therefore dangerous – emotions.