The new issue reveals how Beethoven poured his most intense emotions into music for his favourite instrument – the piano.

The March issue of Limelight hits the newsstands today and is, as usual, available from our online store with free postage!

When Prince Karl Lichnowsky accompanied Mozart on a tour of Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin, the unpredictable genius was commissioned to write six sonatas for piano. After Mozart died, having only produced one of the promised six, the disappointed Lichnowsky turned his patronage to a promising young pianist from Bonn. By the time of Lichnowsky’s death in 1814, Ludwig van Beethoven had transformed the piano sonata from a modest salon piece into a genre of monumental significance.

The piano sonata became Beethoven’s most cherished means of communication. What started out as an indulgent tool for the young virtuoso became the composer’s musical confidant as his deafness became more and more debilitating. Our lead feature this month examines these 32 cornerstones of the piano repertoire, their creation and the classic recordings that have stood the test of time.

From Beethoven we move one step backwards to Bach and a feature that combines music and dance. What do you get when you mix the Well-Tempered Clavier with breakdancing? A group of intrepid ‘b-boys’ decided to find out. We then journey to Moscow in the 1960s as Benjamin Britten’s Russian interpreter describes how the composer’s music became a symbol of liberality in Communist Russia.

As Sydney gears up for Carmen – the extravaganza that promises to be this year’s Handa Opera on the Harbour – we look at the many incarnations of Bizet’s seductive gypsy heroine over the years. From flamenco ballet to Broadway; from Dorothy Dandridge to Beyoncé.

Baroque opera’s superstar countertenor, Philippe Jaroussky, is about to tour Australia. In his Limelight interview he tells us why being mistaken for a woman doesn’t bother him – and why he’s taking eight months off singing to smoke and drink.

Finally, our 24 pages of classical CD, DVD, book and live concert reviews, include the Sydney Symphony’s fiery new recording of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet under Vladimir Ashkenazy; the revelatory new Beethoven symphony cycle from Franz Brüggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century; the stylish new Trio Wanderer set of the complete Beethoven piano trios; another enthralling Schubert program from Paul Lewis; a multicultural plea for world peace from the inimitable Jordi Savall and the return of Rolando Villazón with a tribute to birthday boy Verdi.

All this and more in the March issue of Limelight, out now.