Conrad Ansorge (1862 - 1930)

Conrad Ansorge by Lovis Corinth

Hear Ansorge play Beethoven’s Sonata no 8 in C minor, op. 13: third movement, recorded c. 1928, Berlin:


Conrad Ansorge, a German composer and pianist, left very few recordings. His preparation by Liszt supports the Chopin–Liszt Glanes de Woronice and a singing tone in his playing of two Schumann Romances, Op.28. In this recently discovered Beethoven sonata we hear the earliest born performer of the Pathetique taking decisive liberties with tempi, matching shifting moods and narrative according to a varied pulse. Contemporary ears have difficulties in listening to music this way, expecting all to be strictly concise while the performer heroically struggles to repress any expressivity that a flexible tempo would set free. Ansorge’s style was a living language in the 19th century, and with his birth some thirty five years after Beethoven’s passing, he depicts an age when a concept of freedom in time was intrinsic to music-making. This portrait by Corinth also places Ansorge inside an intellectual and cultural sphere enlivening Germany at the beginning of the 20th century.

© Allan Evans, 2012