Beethoven's Piano Sonatas

Sonate No. 1, 1st Movement

1 part5 pages03:286 years ago12,913 views
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1, was written in 1795 and dedicated to Joseph Haydn. It is the first piano sonata written by Beethoven.

The first movement, in 2/2 time, is in sonata form. The first theme is driven by a Mannheim Rocket, very similar to the opening of the fourth movement of Mozart's Symphony No. 40. The second theme, in A-flat major, is accompanied by eighth-note octaves in the bass (usually with dominant harmony). There are two codettas; the first consists of a series of energetic descending scales in A-flat major, and the second is a lyrical passage marked con espressione. In this second codetta and in the second theme Beethoven makes interesting use of mode mixture as the right hand parts borrows from the parallel minor. The development opens with the initial theme, but is mostly dedicated to the second theme and its eighth-note accompaniment. The retransition to the main theme uses its sixteenth-note triplet. The recapitulation repeats the material from the exposition without much change, except that it stays in F minor throughout. There is a short coda. A tense, agitated feel is ubiquitous throughout the movement.

Transcription by jammy927.

Sonate No. 1, 2nd Movement

1 part4 pages04:216 years ago4,169 views
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1, was written in 1795 and dedicated to Joseph Haydn. It is the first piano sonata written by Beethoven.

The second movement opens with a highly-ornamented lyrical theme in 3/4 time in F major. This is followed by a more agitated transitional passage in D minor accompanied by quiet parallel thirds, followed by a passage full of thirty-second notes in C major. This leads back to a more embellished form of the F major theme, which is followed by an F major variation of the C major section. This Adagio is the earliest composition by Beethoven now in general circulation; it was adapted from the slow movement of a piano quartet from 1785.

Transcription by jammy927

Sonate No. 1, 3rd Movement

1 part2 pages02:576 years ago2,957 views
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1, was written in 1795 and dedicated to Joseph Haydn. It is the first piano sonata written by Beethoven.

The third movement, a minuet in F minor, is conventional in form. It contains two repeated sections, followed by a trio in F major in two repeated sections, after which the first minuet returns. The minuet is characterized by syncopations, dramatic pauses and sharp dynamic contrast. The trio is built around longer, more lyric phrases that pass between the right and left hands in imitative polyphony.

Transcription by jammy927.

Sonate No. 1, 4th Movement

1 part9 pages05:026 years ago5,314 views
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1, was written in 1795 and dedicated to Joseph Haydn. It is the first piano sonata written by Beethoven.

The fourth movement, like the first and third, is in F minor, and is built using a modified sonata form (the development is replaced by new thematic material). The exposition is accompanied by ceaseless eighth-note triplets. The first theme is based on three staccato quarter note chords. A transitional passage leads to a more lyrical but still agitated theme in C minor. The chords of the first theme return to close the exposition. Where the development would be expected to start, there is a completely new theme in A-flat major, with the first respite from the eighth-note triplets. This is followed by an extended retransition based on alternating motives from the first theme and the "development" theme. The recapitulation presents the first and second themes in F minor. There is no coda, only a fortissimo descending arpeggio—in eighth-note triplets -- to conclude the piece.

Transcription by jammy927.

Sonate No. 2, 1st Movement

1 part12 pages06:556 years ago2,800 views
Like the Piano Sonata no 1 in F Minor, the Sonata no 2 in A Major is a four-movement composition, which was an innovation in 1795. Unlike many other major composers, Beethoven did not have to waste time early in his career composing in a popular style. This freedom allowed him to experiment to a degree that few composers of his time enjoyed. He was supported financially by a group of Viennese aristocrats and did not have to travel or give large public performances. Indeed, he was considered a pianist and composer for the connoisseur, and his patrons encouraged his exploration of artistically novel ideas. Not all composers could thrive in such an environment.

The first movement is in sonata form as expected and is an athletic movement that has a bright disposition. The second theme of the exposition contains some striking modulations for the time period. A large portion of the development section is in F major, which contains a third relationship with the key of the work, A major. A difficult, but beautiful canonic section is also to be found in the development. The recapitulation contains no coda and the movement ends quietly and unassumingly.

Sonate No. 2, 2nd Movement

1 part5 pages06:556 years ago1,622 views
Like the Piano Sonata no 1 in F Minor, the Sonata no 2 in A Major is a four-movement composition, which was an innovation in 1795. Unlike many other major composers, Beethoven did not have to waste time early in his career composing in a popular style. This freedom allowed him to experiment to a degree that few composers of his time enjoyed. He was supported financially by a group of Viennese aristocrats and did not have to travel or give large public performances. Indeed, he was considered a pianist and composer for the connoisseur, and his patrons encouraged his exploration of artistically novel ideas. Not all composers could thrive in such an environment.

The second movement of the Piano Sonata in A Major—marked largo appassionato (very slowly and passionately)—is in rondo form. The second movement is an example of one of the few instances in which Beethoven uses the tempo marking "Largo", which was the slowest such marking for a movement. The opening imitates the style of a string quartet, and features a staccato bass against lyrical chords. A high degree of contrapuntal thinking is evident in Beethoven's conception of this movement. The key is the subdominant of A major, D major.
Despite the fact that the second movement is in triple meter, the music does has the feel of a solemn, religious processional. The rondo theme itself features the melodic motion and limited range we associate with plainchant and religious hymns, and the bass line has the steady gait of a slow march.

Sonate No. 2, 3rd Movement

1 part2 pages03:406 years ago2,334 views
Piano
Like the Piano Sonata no 1 in F Minor, the Sonata no 2 in A Major is a four-movement composition, which was an innovation in 1795. Unlike many other major composers, Beethoven did not have to waste time early in his career composing in a popular style. This freedom allowed him to experiment to a degree that few composers of his time enjoyed. He was supported financially by a group of Viennese aristocrats and did not have to travel or give large public performances. Indeed, he was considered a pianist and composer for the connoisseur, and his patrons encouraged his exploration of artistically novel ideas. Not all composers could thrive in such an environment.

In lieu of the expected designation of minuet and trio, Beethoven called his third movement a scherzo. Like a minuet and trio, a Beethoven scherzo is typically a large-scale three-part form, A–B–A, scherzo–trio–scherzo–da capo. And like a minuet and trio, a Beethoven scherzo is usually in triple meter. However, Beethoven's scherzi are typically fast to very fast in tempo and bear no resemblance to the moderately paced minuet dances from which they evolved. A stormy trio section adds contrast to the cheerful opening material of this movement.

Sonate No. 2, 4th Movement

1 part15 pages06:046 years ago1,563 views
Like the Piano Sonata no 1 in F Minor, the Sonata no 2 in A Major is a four-movement composition, which was an innovation in 1795. Unlike many other major composers, Beethoven did not have to waste time early in his career composing in a popular style. This freedom allowed him to experiment to a degree that few composers of his time enjoyed. He was supported financially by a group of Viennese aristocrats and did not have to travel or give large public performances. Indeed, he was considered a pianist and composer for the connoisseur, and his patrons encouraged his exploration of artistically novel ideas. Not all composers could thrive in such an environment.

Program annotators often refer to the fourth movement of the Piano Sonata in A Major as perhaps the most Mozartean movement in all of the Beethoven piano sonatas. The fourth movement is a beautiful and lyrical rondo. The arpeggio that opens the repeated material becomes more elaborate at each entrance. The form of this rondo is A1-B1-A2-C-A3-B2-A4-Coda. The C section is rather agitated and stormy in comparison to the rest of the work, and is representative of the so called "Sturm und Drang" style. A simple but elegant V7-I closes the entire work in the lower register, played piano!

Sonate No. 3, 1st Movement

1 part15 pages09:316 years ago2,961 views
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3, is a sonata written for solo piano, composed in 1796. It is dedicated to Franz Joseph Haydn. The sonata was written three years prior to Beethoven's widely known Pathétique Sonata in C minor.

This work is often referred to as Beethoven's first virtuosic piano sonata. It is the weightiest of the three Opus 2 sonatas and is nearly ten minutes longer

The first movement begins rather like a gentlemanly conversation before dissolving into an animated discussion. There are several motifs and themes presented, varied upon and developed and one can really start to see the young Beethoven breaking away from the strict sonata structure of the late Classical period. In this movement he is beginning to breakdown the traditional idea of theme in favour of rhythmic and melodic motifs. This is a technique that he used very successfully in the opening movement of the Fifth Symphony and one that Wagner would exploit to the extreme 100 years later.

Sonate No. 3, 2nd Movement

1 part7 pages08:096 years ago4,904 views
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3, is a sonata written for solo piano, composed in 1796. It is dedicated to Franz Joseph Haydn. The sonata was written three years prior to Beethoven's widely known Pathétique Sonata in C minor.

This work is often referred to as Beethoven's first virtuosic piano sonata. It is the weightiest of the three Opus 2 sonatas and is nearly ten minutes longer.

The second movement of opus 2 no. 3, is in the key of E major, which shares only three pitches in common with C major. C major and E major are not closely related keys; in fact, because they have so few pitches in common, they are called distantly related keys. But the distance between C major and E major doesn't concern Beethoven, because he sees them as connected by a pivot third.

Although it is nearly twice as long as the Adagio of the two previous sonatas, this movement contains very little in the way of surprise. The opening theme is first heard undecorated like a Bach chorale and is varied upon along with the second theme throughout the movement.

Sonate No. 3, 3rd Movement

1 part5 pages03:406 years ago2,195 views
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3, is a sonata written for solo piano, composed in 1796. It is dedicated to Franz Joseph Haydn. The sonata was written three years prior to Beethoven's widely known Pathétique Sonata in C minor.

This work is often referred to as Beethoven's first virtuosic piano sonata. It is the weightiest of the three Opus 2 sonatas and is nearly ten minutes longer.

The scherzo opens with a delightfully fugal presentation of the first theme. The second section is much more lyrical and features sustained legato arpeggiation that contrasts nicely with the more formal opening section. The style of this short movement is indicative of the stylistic direction the scherzo would take in later works of Beethoven and his contemporaries.

Sonate No. 3, 4th Movement

1 part13 pages04:596 years ago2,305 views
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3, is a sonata written for solo piano, composed in 1796. It is dedicated to Franz Joseph Haydn. The sonata was written three years prior to Beethoven's widely known Pathétique Sonata in C minor.

This work is often referred to as Beethoven's first virtuosic piano sonata. It is the weightiest of the three Opus 2 sonatas and is nearly ten minutes longer

The final allegro assai movement is a pleasant showcase with upward runs, trills, and some minor key drama, and has surprise in every corner. The lightness and whimsy of the fourth movement offers a perfect complement to the thunderous first movement, although the technical demands of the fourth movement are greater even than those of the first! The rondo theme here consists of a series of rapidly rising chords and some extremely fast passagework, all of which must be played with a deftness and delicacy that make the music sound effortless.

Sonate No. 4, 1st Movement

1 part12 pages08:055 years ago2,216 views
Beethoven's Piano Sonata no 4 in E♭ Major is the grandest and most ambitious of his first four piano sonatas. Everything about the piece is big—its virtuosity, its expressive scope, and its length: at 30 minutes, of all Beethoven's piano sonatas, it's second only to the Piano Sonata op 106 of 1818 (Hammerklavier).

Nowhere is the broad conception of the Sonata in E♭ Major, op 7, more clearly expressed than in the first four measures of the first-movement introduction. These measures are based entirely on a tonic E♭ major chord. One often finds an orchestral sound in the sonata. E♭ major is the most suitable key for brass bands.

Sonate No. 4, 2nd Movement

1 part5 pages07:065 years ago1,732 views
Beethoven's Piano Sonata no 4 in E♭ Major is the grandest and most ambitious of his first four piano sonatas. Everything about the piece is big—its virtuosity, its expressive scope, and its length: at 30 minutes, of all Beethoven's piano sonatas, it's second only to the Piano Sonata op 106 of 1818 (Hammerklavier).

The second movement of this sonata is in ternary form (A–B–A plus a coda) and marked Largo, con gran espessione, slowly, and with great expression. Once again, this movement is more suitable for orchestras. Throughout the piece are pauses which serve to demonstrate the impact of silence in music. The climax is very orchestral suggesting a single flute pitted against implacable unisons in the strings in lower registers.

Sonate No. 4, 3rd Movement

1 part5 pages05:195 years ago1,395 views
Beethoven's Piano Sonata no 4 in E♭ Major is the grandest and most ambitious of his first four piano sonatas. Everything about the piece is big—its virtuosity, its expressive scope, and its length: at 30 minutes, of all Beethoven's piano sonatas, it's second only to the Piano Sonata op 106 of 1818 (Hammerklavier).

Beethoven simply calls the third movement allegro, which means fast; it is a three-part, A–B–A form movement and has been referred to as a minuet, a scherzo, and even a lyric intermezzo. As Anton Kuerti states, this movement "has a bit of an identity problem; it cannot tell if it is a minuet or a scherzo." Indeed, it has the friendly melodies of a minuet, but at the same time, contains sudden pauses and a rumbling dark trio in the minor key, which has the sounds of a scherzo. This part does not try to compete with the earlier orchestral sounds of the first two movements.

Sonate No. 4, 4th Movement

1 part10 pages06:185 years ago1,658 views
Beethoven's Piano Sonata no 4 in E♭ Major is the grandest and most ambitious of his first four piano sonatas. Everything about the piece is big—its virtuosity, its expressive scope, and its length: at 30 minutes, of all Beethoven's piano sonatas, it's second only to the Piano Sonata op 106 of 1818 (Hammerklavier).

The fourth movement is a graceful and elegant rondo. Note that the rondo theme is accompanied by continuous repeated notes similar to those that characterized the first-movement introduction. A graceful piece which creates a raindrop effect, with the bass acting as droplets of water touching the ground. The “thunderstorm” brews up in the middle, with loud and threatening chords in the right hand and “rumbling clouds” (a continuous rumbling of thirty-second notes in the left hand). This theme returns later in the coda, but is depicted at a lower dynamic and a major key, making it sound like the sun is shining through the rain at last, painting a glorious rainbow.

Piano Sonate for Four Hands, 1st Movement

2 parts9 pages04:275 years ago3,689 views
Piano(2)
Music for two or more players at one keyboard began to come into prominence in the generation after J.S. Bach, as the piano -- with its longer keyboard -- began to displace the harpsichord as the "default" keyboard instrument in a well-equipped musical household. Bach's son Johann Christian contributed several sonatas to the four-hand piano repertoire. In the next generation, Mozart wrote a substantial quantity of exquisitely crafted and irresistibly appealing music for two pianists. His contemporary Haydn, for whatever reason, was much less prolific in this medium; and Haydn's sometime pupil Beethoven followed his teacher's example, contributing only a handful of early works to the four-hands literature.

Of these, the most substantial is the two-movement Sonata in D Major, Op. 6, composed and published in 1797. By this time, Beethoven had spent five years in the big city of Vienna after pulling up stakes from his hometown of Bonn, but was still building his reputation as a virtuoso pianist and composer. Thus it was necessary for him to supplement his income by teaching -- an activity which, by most accounts, he disliked and wasn't much good at, and which he abandoned entirely by about 1805.

Given its date, its relatively modest technical challenges, and the absence of documentation for any public performance, it is generally assumed that the D Major Sonata was composed as a teaching piece. Nonetheless, it foreshadows the composer's maturity in several respects -- for example, the main themes of both movements are ornamented when they reappear toward the end of the movement, rather than being played straight as Mozart and Haydn might have done.

Of the two movements, the opening allegro is the more energetic. Its vigorous opening motif -- three short repeated notes, followed by a single longer note at a lower pitch -- contrasts with a more sinuous, melodic secondary theme. In the central development section, the two themes are superimposed on each other with interesting results. The concluding movement, a genial rondo with the tempo marking moderato, is cast in a five-part ABACA form; the first or "B" episode is in the minor mode, while the second remains in the major and contrasts more gently with the main theme.

But the most striking omen of the mature Beethoven lies in that opening motif, innocuous as it may seem in this context. If you take that three-shorts-and-a-long figure, change it from major to minor mode, and speed it up, you have the opening theme of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony -- arguably the single most famous piece of classical music in the world.

Piano Sonate for Four Hands, 2nd Movement

2 parts9 pages03:115 years ago2,945 views
Piano(2)
Music for two or more players at one keyboard began to come into prominence in the generation after J.S. Bach, as the piano -- with its longer keyboard -- began to displace the harpsichord as the "default" keyboard instrument in a well-equipped musical household. Bach's son Johann Christian contributed several sonatas to the four-hand piano repertoire. In the next generation, Mozart wrote a substantial quantity of exquisitely crafted and irresistibly appealing music for two pianists. His contemporary Haydn, for whatever reason, was much less prolific in this medium; and Haydn's sometime pupil Beethoven followed his teacher's example, contributing only a handful of early works to the four-hands literature.

Of these, the most substantial is the two-movement Sonata in D Major, Op. 6, composed and published in 1797. By this time, Beethoven had spent five years in the big city of Vienna after pulling up stakes from his hometown of Bonn, but was still building his reputation as a virtuoso pianist and composer. Thus it was necessary for him to supplement his income by teaching -- an activity which, by most accounts, he disliked and wasn't much good at, and which he abandoned entirely by about 1805.

Given its date, its relatively modest technical challenges, and the absence of documentation for any public performance, it is generally assumed that the D Major Sonata was composed as a teaching piece. Nonetheless, it foreshadows the composer's maturity in several respects -- for example, the main themes of both movements are ornamented when they reappear toward the end of the movement, rather than being played straight as Mozart and Haydn might have done.

The second movement is in D Major and is a rondo. This is the longest movement in Beethoven's Opus 6.

Sonate No. 5, 1st Movement

1 part8 pages05:556 years ago3,314 views
he Piano Sonata no 5 in C Minor, op 10-1, is in three movements. C minor was Beethoven's tragic key of choice, and more than any other key, it is C minor that has come to most represent his artistic character: heroic, impulsive, and tragic.

Beethoven's Piano Sonata no 5 is a first period composition, anticipating more notable C minor works such as the Pathétique Sonata and the Fifth Symphony in its nervous energy. Indeed, this sonata has been christened "The Little Pathétique", as it has many characteristics of the sonata, with respect to key and tempo.

The first movement of the opus 10 no. 1, is described in the literature as being passionate. The first movement, in sonata form, opens energetically with contrasting loud and soft phrases. A 24-measure modulating passage provides a quiet contrast before arriving at the second theme in E-flat. In the recapitulation, the second theme is initially in F major before returning to C minor.

Comparison to the Pathétique Sonata 1: This sonata embodies the Pathétique Sonata in all three movements in many styles. For example, the first movements start out with a storming exposition, before arriving at the quiet secondary theme in E flat major. However, when the secondary theme of both sonatas is used again in the minor key, there is a shocking conversion: the happiness and hope of the secondary theme has been banished.

Sonate No. 5, 2nd Movement

1 part6 pages08:036 years ago2,672 views
The Piano Sonata no 5 in C Minor, op 10-1, is in three movements. C minor was Beethoven's tragic key of choice, and more than any other key, it is C minor that has come to most represent his artistic character: heroic, impulsive, and tragic.

Beethoven's Piano Sonata no 5 is a first period composition, anticipating more notable C minor works such as the Pathétique Sonata and the Fifth Symphony in its nervous energy. Indeed, this sonata has been christened "The Little Pathétique", as it has many characteristics of the sonata, with respect to key and tempo.

Like the second movement of the Piano Sonata in F Minor, op 2-1, the second movement of op 10-1, is a truncated sonata form. It follows the structural outlines of the outer sections of an operatic da capo aria, meaning a sonata form without a development section. The second movement is a lyrical Adagio with many embellishments. It is in A-B-A-B or "sonatina" form, there is no development section, only a single bar of a rolled V7 chord leading back to the tonic key; an apparent third appearance of the main theme turns into a coda. This is one of the last slow movements in which Beethoven will use the operatic-style ornamentation that was traditional for an adagio.

Comparison to the Pathétique Sonata 2: The second movement of each sonata is written in A flat major, at Adagio tempo and in 2/4 time. Both movements unwind gentle, docile melodies and weave into many modulations.

Sonate No. 5, 3rd Movement

1 part6 pages04:336 years ago2,451 views
The Piano Sonata no 5 in C Minor, op 10-1, is in three movements. C minor was Beethoven's tragic key of choice, and more than any other key, it is C minor that has come to most represent his artistic character: heroic, impulsive, and tragic.

Beethoven's Piano Sonata no 5 is a first period composition, anticipating more notable C minor works such as the Pathétique Sonata and the Fifth Symphony in its nervous energy. Indeed, this sonata has been christened "The Little Pathétique", as it has many characteristics of the sonata, with respect to key and tempo.

The third and final movement of op 10-1, is as jagged and violent as the first and, in terms of its sonata form structure, even more compressed. The movement is marked Prestissimo (very fast); huge melodic leaps and extreme dynamic contrasts are everywhere to be found. The third movement is a highly nervous piece in sonata form, making heavy use of a figure of five eighth notes. The coda slows the tempo down, leading to a final outburst which fades to a quiet but agitated C major.

Comparison to the Pathétique Sonata 3: The third movement of each sonata is written at a vigorous tempo, and contains, on occasion, the storminess of its first-movement predecessor.

Sonate No. 6, 1st Movement

1 part11 pages07:345 years ago1,616 views
The Piano Sonata no. 6 in F Major remained a special favourite of Beethoven's for many years after its composition. And, indeed, the sonata reflects well Beethoven's own brand of musical humour.

Any pianist who performs Beethoven's opus 10 no. 1 and opus 10 no. 2, back to back must be able to transit from the emotional world of tragic passion to affable good humour, from stormy weightiness to frolicsome playfulness, at the flick of the wrist.

The literature refers to this first movement as being capricious and willfully bizarre, as a patchwork or a quilt. All these words and phrases correctly imply that it is an assemblage of unlike parts put together in such a way as to create maximum contrast and surprise. The first movement is in sonata form. The development is based on the C-G-C tag which concludes the exposition, with no clear use of any other material from the exposition. However, it creates many wonderful melodies, some of which can be moderately difficult to play.

Sonate No. 6, 2nd Movement

1 part4 pages03:545 years ago1,396 views
The Piano Sonata no. 6 in F Major remained a special favourite of Beethoven's for many years after its composition. And, indeed, the sonata reflects well Beethoven's own brand of musical humour.

Any pianist who performs Beethoven's opus 10 no. 1 and opus 10 no. 2, back to back must be able to transit from the emotional world of tragic passion to affable good humour, from stormy weightiness to frolicsome playfulness, at the flick of the wrist.

There is no slow movement in this three-movement sonata. Instead, Beethoven provides a movement marked allegretto, meaning a little allegro, a little fast. The movement is in triple meter, three-part form—A–B–A—and Beethoven marked the middle section—B—with the designation trio. As a result, some sources call the movement a minuet and trio and others call it a scherzo, though it exhibits none of the elements of dance that would mark a minuet, nor the energy that would mark a scherzo. It is more reminiscent of Beethoven's Bagatelles than of most of his scherzi. The middle section, in D♭ major, has a hint of anticipation of the third movement of the First Symphony.

Sonate No. 6, 3rd Movement

1 part5 pages03:235 years ago1,067 views
The Piano Sonata no. 6 in F Major remained a special favourite of Beethoven's for many years after its composition. And, indeed, the sonata reflects well Beethoven's own brand of musical humour.

Any pianist who performs Beethoven's opus 10 no. 1 and opus 10 no. 2, back to back must be able to transit from the emotional world of tragic passion to affable good humour, from stormy weightiness to frolicsome playfulness, at the flick of the wrist.

The third movement starts off like a fugue; features one main theme that returns periodically, like a rondo; modulates to the dominant; and introduces a cadence theme, like a sonata form. It has a long, complex development section, like a sonata form, and a closing section that avoids the fugue theme in favor of the cadence theme.

Sonate No. 7, 1st Movement

1 part11 pages06:415 years ago1,538 views
Like opus 2, opus 10 concludes with the grandest of its three component sonatas, Sonata no. 7 in D Major, the only four-movement sonata in the opus 10 set.

The Opus 10 sonatas are usually described as angular or experimental, as Beethoven began moving further and further away from his earlier models. The Third sonata is the longest, and spans approximately 24 minutes. It is the only one of the Opus 10 sonatas that has 4 movements. The second movement is famous for its intimations of later tragic slow movements, as well as for its own beauty.

The first movement is yet another incredible example of Beethoven's genius for motivic development and his ability to get the maximum mileage out of the most banal musical ideas. The essential motive that drives the bulk of this first movement appears immediately, in the first four notes of the movement.

Sonate No. 7, 2nd Movement

1 part6 pages10:325 years ago1,531 views
Like opus 2, opus 10 concludes with the grandest of its three component sonatas, Sonata no. 7 in D Major, the only four-movement sonata in the opus 10 set.

The Opus 10 sonatas are usually described as angular or experimental, as Beethoven began moving further and further away from his earlier models. The Third sonata is the longest, and spans approximately 24 minutes. It is the only one of the Opus 10 sonatas that has 4 movements. The second movement is famous for its intimations of later tragic slow movements, as well as for its own beauty.

The second movement exposition begins, a motive of grief emerges on the slow epic rhythm; a melodious lamento blends with the tender accents that have come from Mozart, though the violent contrasts are truly Beethoven's own creation.

An argument can be made that the second movement largo is too dark, heavy, and operatic for the rest of the sonata. Is this yet another example of his desire to shock through extreme contrast, of elevating the non sequitur to the level of high art?

Sonate No. 7, 3rd Movement

1 part3 pages03:235 years ago943 views
Like opus 2, opus 10 concludes with the grandest of its three component sonatas, Sonata no. 7 in D Major, the only four-movement sonata in the opus 10 set.

The Opus 10 sonatas are usually described as angular or experimental, as Beethoven began moving further and further away from his earlier models. The Third sonata is the longest, and spans approximately 24 minutes. It is the only one of the Opus 10 sonatas that has 4 movements. The second movement is famous for its intimations of later tragic slow movements, as well as for its own beauty.

Beethoven calls his third movement a minuet, and despite its wealth of subtle complexities, it is, indeed, a minuet. It is also something of a lyric triumph, exactly the sort of music that listeners need to hear after the darkness of the second movement.

Sonate No. 7, 4th Movement

1 part7 pages03:385 years ago1,125 views
Like opus 2, opus 10 concludes with the grandest of its three component sonatas, Sonata no. 7 in D Major, the only four-movement sonata in the opus 10 set.

The Opus 10 sonatas are usually described as angular or experimental, as Beethoven began moving further and further away from his earlier models. The Third sonata is the longest, and spans approximately 24 minutes. It is the only one of the Opus 10 sonatas that has 4 movements. The second movement is famous for its intimations of later tragic slow movements, as well as for its own beauty.

The fourth-movement rondo is a genuine burlesque, filled with comic touches: long, breathless pauses; juxtapositions of light and heavy music; and a number of unexpected harmonic events.

Sonate No. 8,“Pathétique” 1st Movement

1 part12 pages07:406 years ago46,976 views
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, commonly known as Sonata Pathétique, was written in 1798 when the composer was 27 years old, and was published in 1799. Beethoven dedicated the work to his friend Prince Karl von Lichnowsky. Although commonly thought to be one of the few works to be named by the composer himself, it was actually named Grande Sonate Pathétique (to Beethoven's liking) by the publisher, who was impressed by the sonata's tragic sonorities.

Prominent musicologists debate whether or not the Pathétique may have been inspired by Mozart's piano sonata K. 457, since both compositions are in C minor and have three very similar movements. The second movement, "Adagio cantabile", especially, makes use of a theme remarkably similar to that of the spacious second movement of Mozart's sonata. However, Beethoven's sonata uses a unique motif line throughout, a major difference from Haydn or Mozart’s creation.

The first movement is in sonata form. It begins with a slow introductory theme, marked Grave. The exposition, marked Allegro di molto con brio, is in 2/2 time (alla breve) in the home key of C minor and features three themes. Theme 1 features an aggressive rocket theme covering two octaves, accompanied with constant tremolo octaves in the left hand. Beethoven then makes use of unorthodox mode-mixture, as he presents the second theme in E-flat minor rather than its customary parallel major. This theme is more lyrical and makes use of grace notes and crossed hands. Theme 3 has modulated to the mediant, E-flat major, and features an Alberti-type figuration for the bass with tremolo. A codetta, with ideas from the opening allegro, closes the section. Some performers of the sonata include the introduction in the exposition repeat though others return to the beginning of the allegro section.

The development section begins in the key of G minor. In this section, Beethoven extends Haydn's compositional practice by returning to the introductory section. After this reappearance of the Grave, the composer generates suspense with an extended dominant preparation.

The recapitulation brings back the themes of the exposition in different keys: themes 1 and 3 are played in the tonic key of C minor, then theme 2 is played in the unexpected key of F minor but then returns to the tonic key. The coda is very dramatic and includes a brief reminder of the Grave before ending with a swift cadence.
Sonate No. 8, “Pathétique” 2nd Movement
Video

Sonate No. 8, “Pathétique” 2nd Movement

1 part5 pages04:386 years ago30,509 views
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata no 8 in C minor, op 13 commonly known as Pathétique (although commonly thought to be one of the few works to be named by the composer himself, it was actually named by the publisher, to Beethoven's liking) was published in 1799, though written the year before, when the composer was 27 years old. Beethoven dedicated the work to his friend Prince Karl von Lichnowsky. At the time of its publication, Beethoven was pleased with the title Pathétique for his op 13 piano sonata, although in later life, he came to regret it, claiming that all of his works were pathetic.

The Pathétique Sonata is perhaps the earliest of Beethoven's compositions to achieve widespread and enduring popularity. It is widely represented on the concert programs and recordings of professional pianists. As one of the more famous Beethoven pieces, it has been incorporated into several works of popular culture.

The rondo theme of the second movement is one of the most beautiful and famous tunes in the repertoire. This theme is not merely pretty; it is, after the vicious first movement conclusion, a heroic if melancholy affirmation that life goes on, that beneath sorrow and pain, there is still grace and nobility.

This Adagio movement opens with the famous cantabile ("in a singing style") melody. This theme is played three times, interspersed with two modulating episodes: the first going from F minor to E flat major, the second from A flat minor to E major. With the final return of the main theme, the accompaniment becomes richer and takes on the triplet rhythm of the second episode. The brief coda's stylistic diversity is arresting: four bars of Romantic transcendence followed by a strikingly conventional 18th-century close.

Sonate No. 8, “Pathétique” 3rd Movement

1 part11 pages04:276 years ago25,564 views
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata no 8 in C minor, op 13 commonly known as Pathétique (although commonly thought to be one of the few works to be named by the composer himself, it was actually named by the publisher, to Beethoven's liking) was published in 1799, though written the year before, when the composer was 27 years old. Beethoven dedicated the work to his friend Prince Karl von Lichnowsky. At the time of its publication, Beethoven was pleased with the title Pathétique for his op 13 piano sonata, although in later life, he came to regret it, claiming that all of his works were pathetic.

The Pathétique Sonata is perhaps the earliest of Beethoven's compositions to achieve widespread and enduring popularity. It is widely represented on the concert programs and recordings of professional pianists. As one of the more famous Beethoven pieces, it has been incorporated into several works of popular culture.

The sonata closes with a duple meter movement in C minor. The main theme strongly resembles the second theme of the Allegro of the first movement, being identical to it in its pitch pattern for the first four notes and in its rhythmic pattern for the first eight. It follows a version of sonata rondo form that includes a coda. The three rondo episodes are in E flat, A flat, and C major. The common use of sforzandos create a forceful effect, although overall the rondo is relatively lightweight compared to the first movement.

Beethoven's notes show that he originally planned the movement as a rondo for piano accompanied by another instrument, perhaps a violin.

Sonate No. 9, 1st Movement

1 part6 pages065 years ago1,962 views
Piano
Almost since the moment of its publication, there has been speculation that the Piano Sonata opus 14 No. 1, began its life as a string quartet. Indeed, Beethoven later set the sonata for four string instruments.

The first movement opens with a series of ascending fourths in the right hand, followed by a quartet-like echoing of a phrase in different octaves. The second theme, in B major, is based on a chromatically ascending scale. The development is full of sixteenth-note arpeggios in the left hand, and sixteenth-note left-hand scales accompany the start of the recapitulation, but the movement ends quietly.

Sonate No. 9, 2nd Movement

1 part3 pages03:185 years ago1,556 views
Piano
Almost since the moment of its publication, there has been speculation that the Piano Sonata opus 14 No. 1, began its life as a string quartet. Indeed, Beethoven later set the sonata for four string instruments.

The second movement scherzo opens with an incredibly beautiful theme in the key of E minor. This second movement is minuet-like; the main section does not resolve to a full cadence, but ends on an E major chord that feels like the dominant of A minor. The first time, this leads without intermediate modulation to the trio, headed “Maggiore”, in C. Following the trio, we hear the scherzo da capo exactly as before, which means that it concludes with those same two unharmonized Es that pivoted into C major and the trio the first time.

Sonate No. 9, 3rd Movement

1 part6 pages03:105 years ago2,814 views
Piano
Almost since the moment of its publication, there has been speculation that the Piano Sonata opus 14 No. 1, began its life as a string quartet. Indeed, Beethoven later set the sonata for four string instruments.

The third movement rondo is the most pianistic movement in this sonata, although it still lacks the purely pianistic passages we have come to expect in Beethoven's piano sonatas. The third movement is a really a lively rondo. On its final return, the main theme is syncopated against triplets.

Apart from some passages in the rondo (such as the final return), the sonata is quite easy to play. Notwithstanding its seeming simplicity, this sonata introduces the “strum und drang” character that became so commonly identified with Beethoven. He adds drama both in the contrast between the lyrical passages that follow very active, textured thematic sections. Furthermore, the contrasting dynamics and variation between major and minor, between using the relative minor and the subdominant of its relative major (e-minor to C-major). These are new techniques that offer a hint of the innovations that Beethoven brought to end the Classical era and begin the Romantic era.

Sonate No. 10, 1st Movement

1 part9 pages05:235 years ago1,818 views
Piano Sonata no. 10 in G Major, opus 14 no. 2, is, in the words of Beethoven's student and friend Carl Czerny, one of the most charming and cheerful piano sonatas in the repertoire. It's a piece that demands the lightest of touches, both in terms of one's fingers and interpretation.

The first movement is in sonata form. Theme 1—in G major—is one of Beethoven's trademark something from nothing themes. The basic thematic motive begins with an upward leap followed by a step ladder descent. The first movement opens with a brief sixteenth-note phrase which is heavily used throughout. It has many passages in thirty-second notes, limiting the tempo at which it can reasonably be taken. The development features a false recapitulation in E♭.

Sonate No. 10, 2nd Movement

1 part5 pages05:365 years ago1,365 views
Piano Sonata no. 10 in G Major, opus 14 no. 2, is, in the words of Beethoven's student and friend Carl Czerny, one of the most charming and cheerful piano sonatas in the repertoire. It's a piece that demands the lightest of touches, both in terms of one's fingers and interpretation.

The second movement is the earliest example of theme and variations form in Beethoven's piano sonatas. This second movement is a set of variations on a theme which is marked “La prima parte senza replica” (first part without repeat). The form of the music is Theme with Three Variations. It seems about to end quietly, like the first and last movements, but concludes abruptly with a crashing C major chord.

Beethoven's theme is a quirky march with an internal phrase structure of || a ||: b a1 :||. It's quirky, because during its concluding phrase—a1—it gets out of step with itself, as accents fall on the second, rather than the first beat of each hut-two.

Sonate No. 10, 3rd Movement

1 part8 pages03:095 years ago1,434 views
Piano Sonata no. 10 in G Major, opus 14 no. 2, is, in the words of Beethoven's student and friend Carl Czerny, one of the most charming and cheerful piano sonatas in the repertoire. It's a piece that demands the lightest of touches, both in terms of one's fingers and interpretation.

The third and final movement rondo brings back the rhythmic games and spare, generally two-voice texture of the first movement. The movement is in fast triple meter, and because of its mood and meter, Beethoven labeled it a scherzo even though, structurally, it's a full-blown rondo.

Sonate No. 11, 1st Movement

1 part12 pages07:335 years ago2,425 views
Piano
Beethoven was rightly proud of his Piano Sonata no. 11 in B♭ Major, op 22 (1800). He referred to opus 22 as a grand solo sonata and, compared to his more modest opus 14 sonatas, the B♭ is a big, four-movement work.

There is a singleness of purpose in the development of the first movement of opus 22, a powerful combination of intellect and expression unlike any other music of the Classical era but very much like the music of the High Baroque, in particular that of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Nowhere is Beethoven's synthesis of Baroque monothematicism and continuity with the dramatic contrasts and discontinuities of Classical-era sonata form more apparent than in the first movement of the Piano Sonata in B♭ Major, opus 22. Beethoven's inspiration lay deep in the past, but the way he used that inspiration in his music looked far to the future.

As Charles Rosen noted, This sonata is Beethoven's farewell to the eighteenth century.

Sonate No. 11, 2nd Movement

1 part6 pages07:425 years ago1,079 views
Beethoven was rightly proud of his Piano Sonata no. 11 in B♭ Major, op 22 (1800). He referred to opus 22 as a grand solo sonata and, compared to his more modest opus 14 sonatas, the B♭ is a big, four-movement work.

Nowhere is Beethoven's synthesis of Baroque monothematicism and continuity with the dramatic contrasts and discontinuities of Classical-era sonata form more apparent than in the first movement of the Piano Sonata in B♭ Major, opus 22. Beethoven's inspiration lay deep in the past, but the way he used that inspiration in his music looked far to the future.

The second movement is in E♭ major and is, as the 1st movement, in sonata form. The exposition starts in the tonic key and ends in the dominant key. The development plays around with the first theme of the exposition, slowly building intensity until both hands play constant 16th notes. The right hand plays a second voice above its 16th notes, and a little later, the left hand plays a bass line consisting of just B flats. The left hand then stops and the right hand flows right into the recapitulation. The recapitulation stays in the tonic key for the rest of the movement.

As Charles Rosen noted, This sonata is Beethoven's farewell to the eighteenth century.

Sonate No. 11, 3rd Movement

1 part3 pages03:165 years ago2,873 views
Beethoven was rightly proud of his Piano Sonata no. 11 in B♭ Major, op 22 (1800). He referred to opus 22 as a grand solo sonata and, compared to his more modest opus 14 sonatas, the B♭ is a big, four-movement work.

Nowhere is Beethoven's synthesis of Baroque monothematicism and continuity with the dramatic contrasts and discontinuities of Classical-era sonata form more apparent than in the first movement of the Piano Sonata in B♭ Major, opus 22. Beethoven's inspiration lay deep in the past, but the way he used that inspiration in his music looked far to the future.

The third movement is in minuet and trio form, but the trio is instead a very contrasting “Minore”. The first 30 measures of the Minuetto are in B♭ major, the Minore is in G minor (the relative minor of B♭ major). The end of the Minore is marked Minuetto da capo senza replica which means to play the Minuetto again, this time without taking the repeats.

The minuet and trio we encounter in movement 3 is the second-to-last one we will hear in Beethoven's piano sonatas. After opus 31 no. 3, of 1802, they will all be scherzi.

As Charles Rosen noted, This sonata is Beethoven's farewell to the eighteenth century.

Sonate No. 11, 4th Movement

1 part10 pages04:345 years ago1,421 views
Beethoven was rightly proud of his Piano Sonata no. 11 in B♭ Major, op 22 (1800). He referred to opus 22 as a grand solo sonata and, compared to his more modest opus 14 sonatas, the B♭ is a big, four-movement work.

Nowhere is Beethoven's synthesis of Baroque monothematicism and continuity with the dramatic contrasts and discontinuities of Classical-era sonata form more apparent than in the first movement of the Piano Sonata in B♭ Major, opus 22. Beethoven's inspiration lay deep in the past, but the way he used that inspiration in his music looked far to the future.

The fourth movement is in a rondo form: A-B-A-C-A-B-A-Coda. The first “A” theme starts in the tonic key, and the “B” theme transitions into the dominant key with big grand arpeggios in the right hand using a good portion of the keyboard. After the arpeggios, both hands play around with the “A” theme's melody before arriving back to the tonic key at the second “A” theme (with very little deviation from the first “A” theme). Suddenly, the “C” theme begins with a key change into B flat minor (although not marked in the key signature). The sharp forte chords, although in stark contrast with the rest of the rondo, bear some resemblance to the first few chords of the “B” theme. The right hand then plays urgent 32nd notes while the left hand supports with staccato 16th notes. This reaches a climax, a “call-and-response” play on the beginning of the “C” theme, and the 32nd note passage with the climax again. Not unlike the end of the “B” theme, the “A” theme's melody is suggested a few times before returning to the tonic key and a third “A” section. However, the melody of this “A” section is in the left hand until the right hand has a two-measure 32nd note run that flows into the rest of the melody, this time the right hand octaves being broken. The next section (second “B” section) is very similar to the first “B” section except that it stays in the tonic key all the way through. A fake “A” section is played in the subdominant key before developing into the final “A” section where the melody consists of triplet 16th notes instead of regular duplet 16th notes. The very end of the final “A” sections runs right into the coda that builds up to an exciting final climax before relaxing to a piano dynamic level and two big chords (dominant seventh to tonic) to conclude the sonata.

As Charles Rosen noted, This sonata is Beethoven's farewell to the eighteenth century.

Sonate No. 12, “Funeral March” 1st Movement

1 part11 pages05:566 years ago5,061 views
The Piano Sonata op 26 is significantly different from every one of Beethoven's piano sonatas that came before it. Among its differences is that it does not have a sonata form movement.

The Piano Sonata no 12 in Ab Major, op 26, is an experimental artwork. Never before had a Classical-era piano sonata exhibited such a degree of contrast between its component movements. That large-scale contrast is the essential story line of this sonata, with the funeral march as the expressive anchor.

Conversely, Beethoven minimizes the degree of contrast within each of the four movements. There is no sonata form movement—with its internal contrasts and conflicts—anywhere to be found in the piece. Beethoven begins the sonata with a theme and variations form movement, a formal procedure that offers no internal structural contrast whatsoever.

This innovation wasn't entirely new for the genre of piano sonata, but it was new for Beethoven. Like Mozart's Piano Sonata in A Major, K 331, of 1778, Beethoven's op 26 begins with a theme and variations form movement.
This sonata was greatly admired by Chopin, who repeated its basic sequence of scherzo, funeral march with trio, and animated, resolving finale, in his own piano sonata in B flat minor. His first movement, however, is also animated and in sonata form, unlike Beethoven's Andante con variazioni.

The resemblance between the two sonatas, however, ends there. Beethoven's op 26 is a big, four-movement sonata, where Mozart's is a modest, three-movement work. Beethoven's op 26 exhibits an amazing degree of contrast between its movements and has, as its third movement, an anguished funeral march, the likes of which Mozart would never have conceived of putting in a piano sonata!

In Schubert's Impromptu in A flat major, op 142-2, the main theme is strikingly similar to the theme in the first movement of Beethoven's sonata. The four-bar phrases that open these pieces are almost identical in most musical aspects: key, harmony, voicing, register, and basic as well as harmonic rhythm. Another, less immediate connection, exists with the main theme, also in A flat major, of the Adagio movement in Schubert's piano sonata in C minor, D 958. Indeed, Schubert may have borrowed these themes from Beethoven, as he often did in his compositions.

Beethoven's theme—in A flat major—is among the most exquisite and lyric melodies in the repertoire. It exhibits an internal phrase structure of a a1 b a1.

During the course of the theme, Beethoven makes extensive use of an effect called subito piano, meaning suddenly piano. A subito piano is a crescendo followed suddenly by a dynamic marking of piano; there are seven such subito pianos in the theme alone.

Sonate No. 12, “Funeral March” 2nd Movement

1 part3 pages03:256 years ago1,285 views
The Piano Sonata op 26 is significantly different from every one of Beethoven's piano sonatas that came before it. Among its differences is that it does not have a sonata form movement.

The Piano Sonata no 12 in Ab Major, op 26, is an experimental artwork. Never before had a Classical-era piano sonata exhibited such a degree of contrast between its component movements. That large-scale contrast is the essential story line of this sonata, with the funeral march as the expressive anchor.

Conversely, Beethoven minimizes the degree of contrast within each of the four movements. There is no sonata form movement—with its internal contrasts and conflicts—anywhere to be found in the piece. Beethoven begins the sonata with a theme and variations form movement, a formal procedure that offers no internal structural contrast whatsoever.

The second movement is an awesome scherzo, filled with thematic atomization, syncopations, harmonic invention, and pianistic brilliance. The opening phrases waft upward.

Sonate No. 12, “Funeral March” 3rd Movement

1 part4 pages06:026 years ago3,324 views
The Piano Sonata op 26 is significantly different from every one of Beethoven's piano sonatas that came before it. Among its differences is that it does not have a sonata form movement.

The Piano Sonata no 12 in Ab Major, op 26, is an experimental artwork. Never before had a Classical-era piano sonata exhibited such a degree of contrast between its component movements. That large-scale contrast is the essential story line of this sonata, with the funeral march as the expressive anchor.

Conversely, Beethoven minimizes the degree of contrast within each of the four movements. There is no sonata form movement—with its internal contrasts and conflicts—anywhere to be found in the piece. Beethoven begins the sonata with a theme and variations form movement, a formal procedure that offers no internal structural contrast whatsoever.

With movement 3, the funeral march, we have arrived at the heart of the sonata; this movement is so striking and different from what we would expect to hear in a piano sonata that it renders everything we've heard to this point as merely preparation.

Beethoven marks the movement Marcia funebre sulla morte d'un eroe—Funeral march on the death of a hero. The Beethoven literature seems to agree that Beethoven's hero is an imaginary one, though given Beethoven's autobiographical proclivities, it wouldn't be impossible that he was building a musical monument to himself.

Over the years, various annotators have claimed that this piano sonata movement is essentially a study for the groundbreaking and heartrending second-movement funeral march of Beethoven's Third Symphony, op 55, of 1803.

Sonate No. 12, “Funeral March” 4th Movement

1 part9 pages02:416 years ago4,650 views
The Piano Sonata op 26 is significantly different from every one of Beethoven's piano sonatas that came before it. Among its differences is that it does not have a sonata form movement.

The Piano Sonata no 12 in Ab Major, op 26, is an experimental artwork. Never before had a Classical-era piano sonata exhibited such a degree of contrast between its component movements. That large-scale contrast is the essential story line of this sonata, with the funeral march as the expressive anchor.

Conversely, Beethoven minimizes the degree of contrast within each of the four movements. There is no sonata form movement—with its internal contrasts and conflicts—anywhere to be found in the piece. Beethoven begins the sonata with a theme and variations form movement, a formal procedure that offers no internal structural contrast whatsoever.

The funeral march movement (3rd Movement) is the heart and soul of the sonata; it must be approached slowly, from a distance. The lyric stasis of the first movement theme and variations creates a calmness, a quietude that is a necessary preparation for the darkness and introspective quality of the funeral march.

And the rondo finale offers the necessary relief from the oppression of the funeral march without allowing us to forget the impression it made.

Sonate No. 13, 1st Movement

1 part5 pages04:405 years ago2,394 views
From the moment it was published in 1802, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata became one of his most famous and popular compositions. Although he was pleased with its commercial success, Beethoven was also aware that the Moonlight's popularity would eclipse many other of his works that he believed were of equal worth, and that is certainly true in the case of the Moonlight's sister composition, opus 27 no. 1.

Like the Moonlight, opus 27 no. 1, is labeled as a Sonata quasi una fantasia. In fact, opus 27 no. 1, is much more fantasy-like than the Moonlight, in that the same thematic material reappears regularly during the course of its four movements. The first movement continues the assault on the traditional Classical sonata template that Beethoven began in the Funeral March Sonata, opus 26, that is, beginning a piano sonata with something other than a sonata form movement. Beethoven began to experiment with moving much of the dramatic locus of the work from the first movement to the last.

The first movement of opus 27 no. 1, is an idiosyncratic construct that has been variously analyzed as a three-part structure, a theme and variations form movement, and a hybrid of theme and variations and rondo.

Sonate No. 13, 2nd Movement

1 part4 pages02:275 years ago1,759 views
From the moment it was published in 1802, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata became one of his most famous and popular compositions. Although he was pleased with its commercial success, Beethoven was also aware that the Moonlight's popularity would eclipse many other of his works that he believed were of equal worth, and that is certainly true in the case of the Moonlight's sister composition, opus 27 no. 1.

Like the Moonlight, opus 27 no. 1, is labeled as a Sonata quasi una fantasia. In fact, opus 27 no. 1, is much more fantasy-like than the Moonlight, in that the same thematic material reappears regularly during the course of its four movements. The first movement continues the assault on the traditional Classical sonata template that Beethoven began in the Funeral March Sonata, opus 26, that is, beginning a piano sonata with something other than a sonata form movement. Beethoven began to experiment with moving much of the dramatic locus of the work from the first movement to the last.

The second movement, marked allegro molto e vivace—very fast and lively—is a full-blown, three-part scherzo and trio in C minor. It is also almost devoid of anything we might call a thematic melody; theme, in this movement, is strictly a function of rhythm and harmonic progression.

Sonate No. 13, 3rd Movement

1 part2 pages02:385 years ago1,891 views
From the moment it was published in 1802, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata became one of his most famous and popular compositions. Although he was pleased with its commercial success, Beethoven was also aware that the Moonlight's popularity would eclipse many other of his works that he believed were of equal worth, and that is certainly true in the case of the Moonlight's sister composition, opus 27 no. 1.

Like the Moonlight, opus 27 no. 1, is labeled as a Sonata quasi una fantasia. In fact, opus 27 no. 1, is much more fantasy-like than the Moonlight, in that the same thematic material reappears regularly during the course of its four movements. The first movement continues the assault on the traditional Classical sonata template that Beethoven began in the Funeral March Sonata, opus 26, that is, beginning a piano sonata with something other than a sonata form movement. Beethoven began to experiment with moving much of the dramatic locus of the work from the first movement to the last.

The essentially a-melodic second movement is a perfect setup for the third movement adagio con espressione—slowly, with expression—which has the character of a single, continuous aria for piano.

Sonate No. 13, 4th Movement

1 part11 pages05:105 years ago1,612 views
From the moment it was published in 1802, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata became one of his most famous and popular compositions. Although he was pleased with its commercial success, Beethoven was also aware that the Moonlight's popularity would eclipse many other of his works that he believed were of equal worth, and that is certainly true in the case of the Moonlight's sister composition, opus 27 no. 1.

Like the Moonlight, opus 27 no. 1, is labeled as a Sonata quasi una fantasia. In fact, opus 27 no. 1, is much more fantasy-like than the Moonlight, in that the same thematic material reappears regularly during the course of its four movements. The first movement continues the assault on the traditional Classical sonata template that Beethoven began in the Funeral March Sonata, opus 26, that is, beginning a piano sonata with something other than a sonata form movement. Beethoven began to experiment with moving much of the dramatic locus of the work from the first movement to the last.

The finale is the most extended movement of the work; Charles Rosen notes, “With this movement, Beethoven began an experiment, to which he continued to return and develop through the years, of displacing some of the weight of the work from the opening movement to the finale”. The work is in fast tempo and in sonata rondo form. In the coda section, the main theme of the slow movement briefly returns, followed by a brief cadenza. There follows a short final section, marked Presto, based on a tightly compressed version of the main theme.

Sonate No. 14, “Moonlight” 1st Movement

1 part4 pages06:166 years ago150,309 views
Piano
The first Movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. The first movement, in C♯ minor, is written in an approximate truncated sonata form. The movement opens with an octave in the left hand and a triplet figuration in the right. A melody that Hector Berlioz called a "lamentation", mostly by the right hand, is played against an accompanying ostinato triplet rhythm, simultaneously played by the right hand. The movement is played pianissimo or "very quietly", and the loudest it gets is mezzo forte or "moderately loud".

The adagio sostenuto has made a powerful impression on many listeners; for instance, Berlioz said of it that it "is one of those poems that human language does not know how to qualify". Beethoven's student Carl Czerny called it "a nocturnal scene, in which a mournful ghostly voice sounds from the distance". The movement was very popular in Beethoven's day, to the point of exasperating the composer himself, who remarked to Czerny, "Surely I've written better things."

Sonata No. 14 “Moonlight” 2nd Movement

1 part2 pages02:036 years ago33,316 views
The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor “Quasi una fantasia”, Op. 27, No. 2, popularly known as the “Moonlight Sonata”, is a piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, it is one of Beethoven's most popular compositions for the piano.

The second movement is basically a relatively conventional scherzo and trio, a moment of relative calm written in D-flat major, the more easily-notated enharmonic equivalent of C♯ major, the parallel major of C♯ minor. Franz Liszt is said to have described the second movement as "a flower between two chasms". The slight majority of the movement is in piano, but a handful of sforzandos and forte-pianos helps to maintain the movement's cheerful disposition.

Sonate No. 14, Moonlight 3rd Movement

1 part12 pages06:466 years ago371,276 views
Piano
Last Movement of Moonlight Sonata written by Ludwig van Beethoven. The stormy final movement (C♯ minor), in sonata form, is the weightiest of the three, reflecting an experiment of Beethoven's (also carried out in the companion sonata, Opus 27, No. 1 and later on in Opus 101) placement of the most important movement of the sonata last. The writing has many fast arpeggios and strongly accented notes, and an effective performance demands lively and skillful playing.

It is thought that the C♯ minor sonata, particularly the third movement, was the inspiration for Frédéric Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu, which manifests the key relationships of the sonata's three movements.

Of the final movement, Charles Rosen has written "it is the most unbridled in its representation of emotion. Even today, two hundred years later, its ferocity is astonishing."

Beethoven's heavy use of sforzando notes, together with just a few strategically located fortissimo passages, creates the sense of a very powerful sound in spite of the predominance of piano markings throughout. Within this turbulent sonata-allegro, there are two main themes, with a variety of variation techniques utilized.

Sonate No. 15, “Pastoral” 1st Movement

1 part11 pages09:305 years ago2,055 views
It has been speculated whether the title “pastoral” refers to the sense of countryside and nature (the 6th symphony pastoral sense), or to its sense of calm, simplicity and lightness. Beethoven wrote most of his works with greatly contrasting parts, and behaves no different in making this sonata. Though its first and last movements can well be described as “pastorale”, the inner two find no real similarity to the nickname at all.

Certainly, the formal layout of opus 28 betrays no experimental impulse: it is a four-movement sonata with a first movement sonata form, a second movement andante, a third movement scherzo, and a fourth movement rondo. However, it is also an experimental work for Beethoven, in which he attempts to wed the generic elements of pastoral music with the compositional rigor and artistic seriousness of the piano sonata.

The first movement, Allegro, begins in the tonic major with a repetitive and monotone bass line sometimes described as “timpanic”. On top is the simple primary theme of the movement. It is very simple and quiet, yet cunning. Eventually, the work introduces a second, more tense melody in F sharp minor, which builds up into a passage of constant quavers, on which is laid a rather simple, yet elegant melody.

The development of the movement runs through various minor keys, ever becoming more dramatic and angst filled as it compresses the main theme into a repeated one-bar rhythm, which gradually fades away. It then recapitulates back into the sweet and easy-going themes of the beginning.

Sonate No. 15, “Pastoral” 2nd Movement

1 part5 pages075 years ago2,775 views
It has been speculated whether the title “pastoral”' refers to the sense of countryside and nature (the 6th symphony pastoral sense), or to its sense of calm, simplicity and lightness. Beethoven wrote most of his works with greatly contrasting parts, and behaves no different in making this sonata. Though its first and last movements can well be described as “pastorale”, the inner two find no real similarity to the nickname at all.

Certainly, the formal layout of op 28 betrays no experimental impulse: it is a four-movement sonata with a first movement sonata form, a second movement andante, a third movement scherzo, and a fourth movement rondo. However, it is also an experimental work for Beethoven, in which he attempts to wed the generic elements of pastoral music with the compositional rigor and artistic seriousness of the piano sonata.

The Andante movement is more forlorn and subdued. It is in D minor. The primary feature is the staccato semiquaver bass, giving the sense of a march. There is a slight diversion in the tonic major involving dialogue between a dotted, staccato rhythm and a gentle, rather playful set of semiquaver triplets. It then returns to the sombre tune with graceful harmonisation and variations of the primary melody. There is a sense of quiet solitude to it, but it is never menacing or overemotional. This movement was a personal favourite of Beethoven's.

Sonate No. 15, “Pastoral” 3rd Movement

1 part3 pages02:175 years ago1,329 views
It has been speculated whether the title “pastoral” refers to the sense of countryside and nature (the 6th symphony pastoral sense), or to its sense of calm, simplicity and lightness. Beethoven wrote most of his works with greatly contrasting parts, and behaves no different in making this sonata. Though its first and last movements can well be described as “pastorale”, the inner two find no real similarity to the nickname at all.

Certainly, the formal layout of opus 28 betrays no experimental impulse: it is a four-movement sonata with a first movement sonata form, a second movement andante, a third movement scherzo, and a fourth movement rondo. However, it is also an experimental work for Beethoven, in which he attempts to wed the generic elements of pastoral music with the compositional rigor and artistic seriousness of the piano sonata.

The scherzo e trio is rather playful, and certainly humorous. The tune is joyous and cheerful yet straightforward. Its most important feature is the contrast between four long notes, each an octave apart, and a fast quaver melody. The trio simply repeats a four-bar melody eight times over. It gives the scherzo a diversion, as the melody is played in many different ways. The movement provides an interesting comparison with the interlude of the second.

Sonate No. 15, “Pastoral” 4th Movement

1 part9 pages05:025 years ago1,726 views
It has been speculated whether the title “pastoral” refers to the sense of countryside and nature (the 6th symphony pastoral sense), or to its sense of calm, simplicity and lightness. Beethoven wrote most of his works with greatly contrasting parts, and behaves no different in making this sonata. Though its first and last movements can well be described as “pastorale”, the inner two find no real similarity to the nickname at all.

Certainly, the formal layout of opus 28 betrays no experimental impulse: it is a four-movement sonata with a first movement sonata form, a second movement andante, a third movement scherzo, and a fourth movement rondo. However, it is also an experimental work for Beethoven, in which he attempts to wed the generic elements of pastoral music with the compositional rigor and artistic seriousness of the piano sonata.

The final movement is a lilting rondo, and is probably the movement which comes closest to the sense of the word “pastoral”. It sways and moves. Interestingly, out of not only his piano sonatas but all of his published works up to this point, this is the first time that Beethoven decides to write non troppo, therefore this instruction clearly means a lot to him. Some critics attribute the repeating bass line to a bagpipe, others to a dancing gigue. Beethoven employs various amusing, interesting and very adventurous episodes, all with different moods, rhythms, and harmonic texture. The finale, played a little faster than the allegro, can be termed as the only “virtuoso” passage in the whole sonata. This exciting, brilliant ending rounds off what is generally a calm sonata.

It is the last time that Beethoven ever used the traditional sonata form. Beethoven personally felt dissatisfied with the work, and pledged to take on a new path and direction.

Sonate No. 16, 1st Movement

1 part10 pages06:395 years ago2,033 views
Piano
In the three sonatas of op 31, Beethoven used an organizational template that had served him well for the three sonatas of both op 2 and op 10. In each of these sets, Beethoven sought to achieve maximum contrast between the sonatas, and he did this by including one sonata in minor, one sonata in a sharp key, and one sonata in a flat key. The best known sonata of the set, op 31-2, the Tempest, is in D minor while op 31-1, is in G major (a sharp key) and finally op 31-3, is in Eb major (a flat key).

In light of his dissatisfaction with the 'classical' style of music, Beethoven pledged to 'take a new path' of musical composition and style. The Opus 31 works are the first examples of Beethoven's new innovative and unconventional ideas, at an attempt to make a name for himself in the annals of music history. It is important to take into account that these pieces were written after the famous Heiligenstadt Testament of 1802.

In critical terms, this sonata is light, breezy and has touches of humor and irony amongst its movements. Critics say that the Opus 31 works show now a more pronounced 'Beethovenian' sense of style that will become more evident in later, mature works.

The first movement, Allegro vivace, begins in an animated fashion. Almost comical, the main theme is littered with brisk, semiquaver passages, and chords written in a stuttering fashion, where Beethoven suggests, the hands are unable to play in unison with one another. Elements of wit and whimsy is needed as the piece demands for brisk fingerwork and precision, to avoid a heavy or clumsy sound. Episodes suggest a more sensitive or romantic feeling, but overall, the piece is light, elegant and entertaining.

Sonate No. 16, 2nd Movement

1 part11 pages09:355 years ago1,971 views
In the three sonatas of op 31, Beethoven used an organizational template that had served him well for the three sonatas of both op 2 and op 10. In each of these sets, Beethoven sought to achieve maximum contrast between the sonatas, and he did this by including one sonata in minor, one sonata in a sharp key, and one sonata in a flat key. The best known sonata of the set, op 31-2, the Tempest, is in D minor while op 31-1, is in G major (a sharp key) and finally op 31-3, is in Eb major (a flat key).

In light of his dissatisfaction with the 'classical' style of music, Beethoven pledged to 'take a new path' of musical composition and style. The Opus 31 works are the first examples of Beethoven's new innovative and unconventional ideas, at an attempt to make a name for himself in the annals of music history. It is important to take into account that these pieces were written after the famous Heiligenstadt Testament of 1802.

In critical terms, this sonata is light, breezy and has touches of humor and irony amongst its movements. Critics say that the Opus 31 works show now a more pronounced 'Beethovenian' sense of style that will become more evident in later, mature works.

The second movement, marked adagio grazioso, slowly and gracefully, is a genuine serenade, complete with a long, highly embellished, Italianate melody line and a guitar-like accompaniment. With long, drawn out trills and reflective pauses, the Adagio grazioso in C Major is the more sentimental movement. The heavy ornamentation almost suggests a grotesque parody, but there are several, graceful melodies in the piece that saves it from merely being a joke.

Beethoven's light, comic strategy for this sonata continues through the third and final movement rondo-sonata. Although some have been pointed out that the rondo theme is in the style of a gavotte, an old French dance in duple meter, it is even more in the style of Mozart—lyric and light, with just enough chromaticism (meaning just enough notes outside the home key of G major) to give it a sense of harmonic depth and richness.

Sonate No. 16, 3rd Movement

1 part12 pages06:185 years ago1,801 views
In the three sonatas of op 31, Beethoven used an organizational template that had served him well for the three sonatas of both op 2 and op 10. In each of these sets, Beethoven sought to achieve maximum contrast between the sonatas, and he did this by including one sonata in minor, one sonata in a sharp key, and one sonata in a flat key. The best known sonata of the set, op 31-2, the Tempest, is in D minor while op 31-1, is in G major (a sharp key) and finally op 31-3, is in Eb major (a flat key).

In light of his dissatisfaction with the 'classical' style of music, Beethoven pledged to 'take a new path' of musical composition and style. The Opus 31 works are the first examples of Beethoven's new innovative and unconventional ideas, at an attempt to make a name for himself in the annals of music history. It is important to take into account that these pieces were written after the famous Heiligenstadt Testament of 1802.

In critical terms, this sonata is light, breezy and has touches of humor and irony amongst its movements. Critics say that the Opus 31 works show now a more pronounced 'Beethovenian' sense of style that will become more evident in later, mature works.

The rondo theme appears first in the treble of the piano, accompanied simply, then in the bass, accompanied above by a running line in triplets.

The rondo is similar in character to the first movement; light, enthusiastic and youthful. This rondo is considered by critics to be one of the finest rondos to be written by Beethoven. Here, a single simple theme is variated, ornamented, syncopated, modulated ... nearly anything that could be done to a melody, throughout the piece. But Beethoven's creativity never makes us bore of it. All the ideas are fresh, inviting and intriguing. Beethoven eventually pulls the song into a brief adagio, but when it seems the piece has finished, a presto erupts, ending this vibrant sonata on an ebullient finale.

Sonate No. 17, “Tempest” 1st Movement

1 part11 pages07:176 years ago11,603 views
Piano
The Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2, was composed in 1801/02 by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is usually referred to as "The Tempest" (or Der Sturm in his native German), but the sonata was not given this title by Beethoven, or indeed referred to as such during his lifetime. The name comes from a claim by his associate Anton Schindler that the sonata was inspired by the Shakespeare play. However, much of Schindler's information is distrusted by classical music scholars.

The first movement alternates brief moments of seeming peacefulness with extensive passages of turmoil, after some time expanding into a haunting "storm" in which the peacefulness is lost. This musical form, one will note, is rather unique among all Beethoven sonatas to that date. Concerning the time period and style, it was definitely thought of as an odd thing to write; a pianist's skills were demonstrated in many ways, and showing changes in tone, technique and speed efficiently many times in one movement was one of them. The development begins with rolled, long chords, quickly ending to the tremolo theme of the exposition. There is a long recitative section at the beginning of this movement's recapitulation, again ending to fast and suspenseful passages.

Sonate No. 17, “Tempest” 2nd Movement

1 part6 pages07:556 years ago4,500 views
The Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2, was composed in 1801/02 by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is usually referred to as "The Tempest" (or Der Sturm in his native German), but the sonata was not given this title by Beethoven, or indeed referred to as such during his lifetime. The name comes from a claim by his associate Anton Schindler that the sonata was inspired by the Shakespeare play. However, much of Schindler's information is distrusted by classical music scholars.

The second movement in B flat major is slower and more dignified. It mirrors the opening of the first movement both through use of a rolling recitative-like arpeggio on the first chord, and the rising melodic ideas in the opening six measures, which are reminiscent of the first movement's recitative. Other ideas in this movement mirror the first, for instance, a figure in the eighth measure and parallel passages of the second movement are similar to a figure in the sixth measure of the first.

Sonate No. 17, “Tempest” 3rd Movement

1 part17 pages07:116 years ago141,241 views
While Beethoven was at work on the op 31 sonatas during the summer and early fall of 1802, he said that he wanted to take a new path. It's an article of faith that Beethoven's groundbreaking composition is the 3rd Symphony, the Eroica of 1803. While the 3rd Symphony might have been Beethoven's public declaration of his new path, the piano sonatas were, collectively, his workshop for getting there. And more than any other piano sonata, it is the Tempest—the Piano Sonata no 17 in D Minor, op 31-2—that truly marks the beginning of Beethoven's new path.

The third movement is known as a moto perpetuo, meaning a perpetual motion; once the subdivision of six sixteenth notes (or sextuplet) is introduced in the first measure, it continues, non-stop, for 399 measures, to the last note of the movement. Given this absolute rhythmic consistency from start to finish, Beethoven will have to work that much harder to differentiate his themes.

The third movement, in the key of D minor, is very moving, first flowing with emotion and then reaching a climax, before moving into an extended development section which mainly focuses on the opening figure of the movement and meanders through many keys and dynamics, before entering the recapitulation and coda (which is also quite substantial).

Sonate No. 18, “The Hunt” 1st Movement

1 part10 pages07:405 years ago1,582 views
At four movements in length, opus 31 no. 3, will be the last of Beethoven's piano sonatas, before sonata no. 28 and 29, to contain more than three movements and the last to include a minuet among its movements.

According to Charles Rosen: The first bars of the Sonata in E♭ Major, opus 31 no. 3, are emotionally the most unsettling that Beethoven had written. What may seem unsettling is the questioning nature of the opening. This movement, purportedly in E♭ major, does not begin in E♭ major, and the sense of question and answer that characterizes the opening is, in reality, a search for a tonic harmony and the eventual discovery of a tonic harmony.

The duality of this opening theme is what makes it so unsettling; it is a rhetorical gesture or a musical question—Where has E♭ major gone? —and, at the same time, the first theme in a sonata-form movement. We observed the same sort of duality in the first theme of the first movement of the Tempest Sonata, where a single theme represented two different emotional and spiritual states!

Sonate No. 18, “The Hunt” 2nd Movement

1 part7 pages04:325 years ago1,146 views
At four movements in length, opus 31 no. 3, will be the last of Beethoven's piano sonatas, before sonata no. 28 and 29, to contain more than three movements and the last to include a minuet among its movements.

According to Charles Rosen: The first bars of the Sonata in E♭ Major, opus 31 no. 3, are emotionally the most unsettling that Beethoven had written. What may seem unsettling is the questioning nature of the opening. This movement, purportedly in E♭ major, does not begin in E♭ major, and the sense of question and answer that characterizes the opening is, in reality, a search for a tonic harmony and the eventual discovery of a tonic harmony.

The second movement is marked allegretto vivace—moderately fast and full of life—and is set in duple meter. Despite this fact, almost every music scholar wants to call this movement a scherzo, which is usually understood to be a triple-meter form. The confusion in the literature of precisely what to call this movement is almost as comic as the music itself.

Sonate No. 18, “The Hunt” 3rd Movement

1 part3 pages04:385 years ago1,042 views
At four movements in length, opus 31 no. 3, will be the last of Beethoven's piano sonatas, before sonata no. 28 and 29, to contain more than three movements and the last to include a minuet among its movements.

According to Charles Rosen: The first bars of the Sonata in E♭ Major, opus 31 no. 3, are emotionally the most unsettling that Beethoven had written. What may seem unsettling is the questioning nature of the opening. This movement, purportedly in E♭ major, does not begin in E♭ major, and the sense of question and answer that characterizes the opening is, in reality, a search for a tonic harmony and the eventual discovery of a tonic harmony.

There is no slow movement in opus 31 no. 3; the third movement is a minuet and trio. It is music of extraordinary grace and sophistication, as if Beethoven had set out to prove that he could still compose beautifully in this overdone genre.

Sonate No. 18, “The Hunt” 4th Movement

1 part10 pages05:075 years ago1,615 views
At four movements in length, opus 31 no. 3, will be the last of Beethoven's piano sonatas, before sonata no. 28 and 29, to contain more than three movements and the last to include a minuet among its movements.

According to Charles Rosen: The first bars of the Sonata in E♭ Major, opus 31 no. 3, are emotionally the most unsettling that Beethoven had written. What may seem unsettling is the questioning nature of the opening. This movement, purportedly in E♭ major, does not begin in E♭ major, and the sense of question and answer that characterizes the opening is, in reality, a search for a tonic harmony and the eventual discovery of a tonic harmony.

The final movement of opus 31 no. 3, is, like the final movement of the “Tempest Sonata”, a tarantella—a fast, compound-duple-meter dance of southern Italian origin. Marked presto con fuoco—very fast, with fire—this movement, like the final movement of the “Tempest”, is about rhythm, energy, and movement!

Sonate No. 19, 1st Movement

1 part5 pages03:466 years ago2,646 views
The Piano Sonatas nos 19 and 20, op 49-1 and 49-2, are the anomalies among Beethoven's piano sonatas.Despite the fact that they were published in 1805 and, as a result, have an opus number that places them among Beethoven's mid-career works, they were composed almost a decade before as Hausmusik— light music to be performed by amateurs at home. Piano Sonata, op 49-1, in G Minor was likely composed in 1797, and Piano Sonata, op 49-2, in G Major was probably composed in 1796.

Beethoven had put the manuscripts for these sonatas aside as not to be published, but his brother Casper sent the manuscripts to the Viennese Bureau of Arts and Industry for publication, without consulting Ludwig. Beethoven was enraged when he discovered what Casper had done, but by then, it was too late to stop publication. Posterity, however, is indebted to Casper.

The sonatas op 49-1 and 49-2, are each two movements in length; each begins with a sonata form first movement and concludes with a rondo. The rondo that concludes op 49-2, is of particular note because of its theme, a tune in G major and triple meter marked tempo di menuetto—in the tempo of a minuet.

The first movement of the 19th sonata is a standard Sonata-Allegro form. After the first and second theme, it moves into the recapitulation with very little development. After restating the theme in the bass with new counterpoint in the treble, Beethoven closes with a brief coda.

Sonate No. 19, 2nd Movement

1 part7 pages02:566 years ago1,468 views
The Piano Sonatas nos 19 and 20, op 49-1 and 49-2, are the anomalies among Beethoven's piano sonatas.Despite the fact that they were published in 1805 and, as a result, have an opus number that places them among Beethoven's mid-career works, they were composed almost a decade before as Hausmusik— light music to be performed by amateurs at home. Piano Sonata, op 49-1, in G Minor was likely composed in 1797, and Piano Sonata, op 49-2, in G Major was probably composed in 1796.

Beethoven had put the manuscripts for these sonatas aside as not to be published, but his brother Casper sent the manuscripts to the Viennese Bureau of Arts and Industry for publication, without consulting Ludwig. Beethoven was enraged when he discovered what Casper had done, but by then, it was too late to stop publication. Posterity, however, is indebted to Casper.

The sonatas op 49-1 and 49-2, are each two movements in length; each begins with a sonata form first movement and concludes with a rondo. The rondo that concludes op 49-2, is of particular note because of its theme, a tune in G major and triple meter marked tempo di menuetto—in the tempo of a minuet.

Demonstrating the insignificance of this work, Beethoven skips the slow movement and dance movement and moves directly to the finale, which is simply a brief, light-hearted Rondo in G major.

Sonate No. 20, 1st Movement

1 part7 pages05:166 years ago2,106 views
Sonata No. 20 Opus 49 No.2 is composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. This sonata is a relatively simple work, featuring less sophistication than most of the other piano sonatas. Strangely, there are no dynamic indications in the autograph or first edition. It is considered the easier of the two "Easy Sonatas", and is also considered the easiest of all the Beethoven piano sonatas.

The first movement features a stately theme. It, and a more playful second theme undergo only minimal development before recapitulating at the end, making for a simplified sonata form, with its main theme based heavily on a G Major triad.

Sonate No. 20, 2nd Movement

1 part5 pages04:146 years ago2,230 views
Piano
Sonata No. 20 Opus 49 No. 2 is written by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was possibly written around the time Beethoven composed the Third and Fourth sonatas, but because it was published in Vienna in 1805, nearly a decade after it was actually written, it was assigned then-current opus and sonata numbers, which classified it alongside works from the composer's middle period. Very similar circumstances caused Beethoven's B-flat Piano Concerto to appear as his second, even though it predated the first.

Beethoven often suppressed works in his early years, either revising them later for publication or determining that they were not fit. In fact, he withheld many early works from publication for life. In the case of these two sonatas, it was Caspar van Beethoven, the composer's brother, who decided they were worthy of publication. Against the composer's will, he presented them to a publishing house, thus allowing posterity to hear works that might otherwise have been lost or destroyed.

This sonata is a relatively simple work, featuring less sophistication than most of the other piano sonatas. Strangely, there are no dynamic indications in the autograph or first edition. It is considered the easier of the two "Easy Sonatas", and is also considered the easiest of all the Beethoven piano sonatas.

The second movement of the Piano Sonata No. 20 shares a melodic theme with the Minuet of the Op. 20 Septet. Because the Septet was the later piece (1799–1800), Beethoven's suppression of the sonata and reuse of one of its themes suggests that he perhaps planned to scrap the piano work altogether. But the composer was known to recycle melodies, in some instances several times. This movement is cast in the form of a rondo, with the main rondo theme being, essentially, a minuet; the minuet features a charming melody that, along with its accompanying material, is repeated several times, varying somewhat in appearance, but remaining simple and unsophisticated.

Sonate No. 21, “Waldstein” 1st Movement

1 part18 pages10:236 years ago7,511 views
Piano
Beethoven began work on the Waldstein sometime in December of 1803 or January of 1804, immediately after having finished the composition of his Third Symphony, the Eroica. The sheer length and power of the Eroica; its breathtaking degree of contrast and dramatic range; the relatively huge orchestra it called for; its amazing degree of motivic development, harmonic invention, and rhythmic drive; and its heroic expressive message all combine to create a piece of symphonic music the likes of which no one had ever heard to its time or even imagined as being possible.

The Piano Sonata in C Major, op 53 (Waldstein), was the first piano sonata Beethoven composed after having drafted his Third Symphony, and we can be assured that more than a little of the revolutionary spirit of the Third Symphony rubbed off on the Waldstein Sonata!

The first movement opens with repeated chords, played pianissimo. This initial straightforward, but anxious rhythm is devoid of melody for two bars. It then swiftly ascends upward and follows with a three-note descent in the middle register and a four-note descent in the upper. More of this teasing rhythm rumbles forward, until 45 seconds later where the notes seem to almost stumble over themselves.

The second subject group, marked dolce, is a sweet chordal theme in E major. Though not unprecedented (the first movement of the op 31-1 sonata also has a second group in the mediant), this was the first major work in which Beethoven had chosen to modulate elsewhere than the customary fifth up for the second group, an idea to which he would return later (in the Hammerklavier Sonata, for example).

For the recapitulation, Beethoven transposes the second subject into A major, which quickly changes into A minor and then back to C major again. The movement ends in a heavy coda.

Sonate No. 21, “Waldstein” 2nd Movement

1 part2 pages04:126 years ago2,188 views
Beethoven began work on the Waldstein sometime in December of 1803 or January of 1804, immediately after having finished the composition of his Third Symphony, the Eroica. The sheer length and power of the Eroica; its breathtaking degree of contrast and dramatic range; the relatively huge orchestra it called for; its amazing degree of motivic development, harmonic invention, and rhythmic drive; and its heroic expressive message all combine to create a piece of symphonic music the likes of which no one had ever heard to its time or even imagined as being possible.

The Piano Sonata in C Major, Opus 53 (Waldstein), was the first piano sonata Beethoven composed after having drafted his Third Symphony, and we can be assured that more than a little of the revolutionary spirit of the Third Symphony rubbed off on the Waldstein Sonata!

The second movement is a short Adagio set in jutting 6/8 time as an introduction to the third movement. At once halting, angular, and tranquil, the music gradually gets more agitated before calming down to segue into the Rondo. This movement replaced an earlier, longer middle movement, which was later published separately as the Andante Favori, WoO 57.

Sonate No. 21, “Waldstein” 3rd Movement

1 part19 pages10:056 years ago5,320 views
Beethoven began work on the Waldstein sometime in December of 1803 or January of 1804, immediately after having finished the composition of his Third Symphony, the Eroica. The sheer length and power of the Eroica; its breathtaking degree of contrast and dramatic range; the relatively huge orchestra it called for; its amazing degree of motivic development, harmonic invention, and rhythmic drive; and its heroic expressive message all combine to create a piece of symphonic music the likes of which no one had ever heard to its time or even imagined as being possible.

The Piano Sonata in C Major, op 53 (Waldstein), was the first piano sonata Beethoven composed after having drafted his Third Symphony, and we can be assured that more than a little of the revolutionary spirit of the Third Symphony rubbed off on the Waldstein Sonata!

Opening bars of final movement rondo begins with a sweet and consoling tune played pianissimo, which soon comes back fortissimo, over daringly fast scales in the left hand and a continuous trill on the dominant in the right. Beethoven then introduces the second theme - a series of broken chords in triplets - but soon interrupts it with a turbulent section in A minor that foreshadows the central episode.

Soon the music returns to C major, and the sweet theme is repeated before being followed by a series of staccato octaves in C minor that mark the start of the central episode, one of the few cases of where such melodic change is seen, a theme repeated in larger works like the Emperor Piano Concerto. Soon the octaves are accompanied by swirling triplets in first the left and then right hands; the music grows more tense and runs into a series of angular chords, which transitions into a more quiet section, which returns after much drama to the C major theme, now played in a triumphant fortissimo.

The second theme reappears, followed by another long line of beautiful dance-like music which is perfectly characteristic of Beethoven. Another series of fortissimo chords is struck, ushering in a short, delicate pianissimo section, and the movement seems to die away, but then unexpectantly segues into the Prestissimo coda, a wondrous section that plays with the various themes of the movement and more before ending in a triumphant rush of sound.

Sonate No. 22, 1st Movement

1 part9 pages04:455 years ago1,298 views
The Piano Sonata in F Major, opus 54, is in two movements. The first, marked in the tempo of a minuet, is a rondo-like movement intended as a parody of a minuet and trio. The second movement is a comic, perpetual-motion–type movement in an ersatz sonata form.

Op 54 is an inspired, virtuosic, and genuinely experimental piece of music. It is not, however, overtly dramatic, nor does it struggle with any great metaphorical or metaphysical issues. It's just music, pure and straightforward.

By 1802, Beethoven had single-handedly rendered the expressive significance and formal limitations of the minuet and trio form obsolete. In the first movement of op 54, however, he adds insult to injury by writing a parody of minuet and trio form.

The minuet theme is a fabulous and subtle bit of writing... lyric and elegant, it nevertheless can hardly get through two measures without stopping on a closed cadence. The mock formality of this theme and the ancient nobility it is meant to represent are the dual objects of Beethoven's subtle and effective parody. The contrasting episode is a perpetual-motion etude, an exercise in running octaves and sixths. Where the minuet theme had to stop for breath every few beats, this contrasting episode moves like a runaway truck, its energy and drive unstoppable. Where the minuet theme was dainty, subtle, and elegant, the contrasting episode is coarse, youthful, and inelegant.

“If the first movement was constipated, then the second movement suffers from the opposite ailment.” (Anton Kuerti)

Sonate No. 22, 2nd Movement

1 part8 pages05:585 years ago1,260 views
The Piano Sonata in F Major, opus 54, is in two movements. The first, marked in the tempo of a minuet, is a rondo-like movement intended as a parody of a minuet and trio. The second movement is a comic, perpetual-motion–type movement in an ersatz sonata form.

Opus 54 is an inspired, virtuosic, and genuinely experimental piece of music. It is not, however, overtly dramatic, nor does it struggle with any great metaphorical or metaphysical issues. It's just music, pure and straightforward.

By 1802, Beethoven had single-handedly rendered the expressive significance and formal limitations of the minuet and trio form obsolete. In the first movement of op 54, however, he adds insult to injury by writing a parody of minuet and trio form.

If you do not already know the second movement of this sonata, you will find it phenomenal. On the one hand, it is a piece of radical, experimental art—a test of how much mileage Beethoven can get out of a single thematic idea and how many harmonic areas he can explore with that single idea. On the other hand, the movement is a throwback to the Baroque era. How can a single movement be both a radical experiment and a throwback to the Baroque?

What should we call the form of this movement. Quasi-sonata form? Ersatz sonata form? The truth is that we can call the movement whatever we want to call it, because there is no precedent for it; it is entirely contextual, relevant only to itself. The exposition introduces only one theme: a rising, arpeggiated melody in continuous sixteenth notes, initially heard in the bass. The theme is then imitated in the treble.

Beethoven may have been influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach's Fugue in E Minor for Two Voices from the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier, composed around 1720.

Sonate No. 23, “Appassionata” 1st Movement

1 part19 pages09:175 years ago8,860 views
Late in life, Beethoven acknowledged that his favorite piano sonatas were the Sonata no 23 in F Minor (Appassionata), op 57; the Sonata no 24 in F♯ Major, op 78; and the Sonata no 29 in B♭ Major (Hammerklavier), op 106. The Appassionata has evoked some spectacular comparisons: Hugo Leichtentritt has likened it to Dante's Inferno; Arnold Schering, to Shakespeare's Macbeth; Romain Rolland, to Corneille's tragedies; and Donald Francis Tovey, to nothing less than Shakespeare's King Lear.

Appassionata means passionate. Beethoven hated the nickname, mainly because it in no way describes the brooding and tragic nature of the sonata, evident from its very first notes.

The first movement begins with a theme that is stunning in its simplicity and dramatic power. The theme consists of two elements, the first of which is a falling, then rising F minor arpeggio, played in both hands, two octaves apart.

The movement moves quickly through startling changes in tone and dynamics, and is characterized by an economic use of themes. The main theme, in double octaves, is quiet and ominous. Just after four bars the main theme is repeated in G-flat major, creating a great contrast. There is a short but important recurrent four note motif reminiscent of the main theme in Beethoven's Symphony No 5.

In the recapitulation the fortissimo outbreak is triumphantly shifted to F-major. The second theme begins as a free inversion of the main theme. As in Beethoven's Waldstein-sonata the coda is unusually long, containing quasi-improvisational arpeggios which span most of the (early 19th-century) piano's range. The choice of F-minor becomes very clear when one realizes that this movement makes frequent use of the deep, dark tone of the lowest F on the piano, which was the lowest note available to Beethoven at the time.

Sonate No. 23, “Appassionata” 2nd Movement

1 part5 pages06:195 years ago5,333 views
Piano
Late in life, Beethoven acknowledged that his favorite piano sonatas were the Sonata no 23 in F Minor (Appassionata), op 57; the Sonata no 24 in F♯ Major, op 78; and the Sonata no 29 in B♭ Major (Hammerklavier), op 106. The Appassionata has evoked some spectacular comparisons: Hugo Leichtentritt has likened it to Dante's Inferno; Arnold Schering, to Shakespeare's Macbeth; Romain Rolland, to Corneille's tragedies; and Donald Francis Tovey, to nothing less than Shakespeare's King Lear.

Appassionata means passionate. Beethoven hated the nickname, mainly because it in no way describes the brooding and tragic nature of the sonata, evident from its very first notes.

The second movement is a necessary break between the intense outer movements, the calm between the storms. Its form is a theme and variations on a slow, quiet, hymn-like tune in D♭ major, comprising two eight-bar sections that both repeat; the second section starts in A♭ major.

The theme is a gentle, sonorous, chorale-like tune in binary form, meaning that it is structured in two parts, with each part immediately repeated: a a b b. The theme is in D♭ major—the same key Beethoven used for the final appearance of theme 2 in the first movement.

Sonate No. 23, “Appassionata” 3rd Movement

1 part14 pages08:465 years ago22,777 views
Late in life, Beethoven acknowledged that his favorite piano sonatas were the Sonata no 23 in F Minor (Appassionata), op 57; the Sonata no 24 in F♯ Major, op 78; and the Sonata no 29 in B♭ Major (Hammerklavier), op 106. The Appassionata has evoked some spectacular comparisons: Hugo Leichtentritt has likened it to Dante's Inferno; Arnold Schering, to Shakespeare's Macbeth; Romain Rolland, to Corneille's tragedies; and Donald Francis Tovey, to nothing less than Shakespeare's King Lear.

Appassionata means passionate. Beethoven hated the nickname, mainly because it in no way describes the brooding and tragic nature of the sonata, evident from its very first notes.

The third movement is a sonata-allegro in which, very unusually, only the second part is directed to be repeated. The movement is based on a perpetuum mobile theme, with rapid sixteenth notes that are only interrupted for brief moments in the development and coda. The coda, when it arrives, contains a totally new theme in binary form, which is very percussive. It leads into a climax in unwavering F minor and its dominant seventh, which eventually crashes down in a manner similar to that of the op 27-2 sonata. The movement is mysteriously complex and fast-paced in nature. It has some short melodic fragments and canons. The movement has been called many things by music critics — passionate, despairing, and breath-taking.

Sonate No. 24, “À Thérèse”, 1st Movement

1 part7 pages06:395 years ago1,387 views
Opus 78 is rarely performed. Unfortunately, it's a work that's about subtlety, lyricism, and charm, three words that the music-consuming public does not want to associate with Beethoven's music of the year 1809. Like op 54, op 78 is a two-movement work, but again, we must be careful not to assume that a two-movement sonata is a lesser artwork than a three- or four-movement sonata. Think of it as not short but compact.

This first movement is a masterpiece of motivic development and transformation, with the opening notes of the introduction transformed into theme 1, the opening of the modulating bridge, theme 2, and the cadence material.

Sonate No. 24, “À Thérèse”, 2nd Movement

1 part7 pages02:285 years ago1,138 views
Opus 78 is rarely performed. Unfortunately, it's a work that's about subtlety, lyricism, and charm, three words that the music-consuming public does not want to associate with Beethoven's music of the year 1809. Like opus 54, opus 78 is a two-movement work, but again, we must be careful not to assume that a two-movement sonata is a lesser artwork than a three- or four-movement sonata. Think of it as not short but compact.

The second movement is as quirky a movement as Beethoven ever wrote. The movement is a rondo, although it is, admittedly, a strange rondo. We hear the rondo theme—a short, punchy, upbeat theme with a number of oddly placed rests. The first contrasting episode features a melody in the bass accompanied by fast, rising, two-note units. About halfway through the episode, the melody in the bass ends, leaving only the rising, two-note units, sounding almost like musical bugs flitting about the piano.

The rondo theme returns, followed by varied version of the first contrasting episode. A third contrasting episode follows, consisting of a rising arpeggio figure, accompanied above by the same two-note units that we heard throughout the first contrasting episode. As in the first contrasting episode, the two-note units eventually take over the texture, leading to the next restatement of the rondo theme. This restatement is followed by passages that combine elements of both the first and second contrasting episodes, then more two-note units, a coda featuring another statement of the rondo theme, more two-note units, and so on.

Sonate No. 25, 1st Movement

1 part8 pages05:046 years ago1,819 views
The Piano Sonata No. 25 in G major, Op. 79, was written by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1809. It is one of Beethoven's shorter sonatas with an approximate performance time of only eleven minutes, if Beethoven's prescribed repeats are all observed. It is also the shortest of his sonatas with more than two movements.

The first movement opens forcefully with a three-note motive (G, B, G) heard frequently throughout the movement. The second theme group in D major is based on fast scale and arpeggio passages and leads very swiftly into the forceful codetta. A few hesitant octave notes are played before the exposition repeats. The entire exposition is but 35 seconds long (without the repeat).

The development section dominates this movement, being approximately 60 seconds long. It features frequent modulation as well as themes borrowed and fragmented from the exposition including the opening three note motive which is heard in the form of left-hand crossovers. This motive starts on E major, then moves on to B 7th and later moves in C minor followed by G 7th, ending in almost strange E-flat major, B Flat 7th combination. The recapitulation snaps the listener back to the home key forcefully with its opening three note motive, then proceeds to repeat the exposition entirely in the home key.

The development and recapitulation together are enclosed in a second, longer repeat mark.

As a final touch to this sonata, the coda features the main theme played in G Major in the left hand with treble, then the theme again in A minor in the right hand with bass accompaniment, then the same thing again except with comedic acciaccatura inserted. The recapitulation and coda together take up approximately another minute.

The whole movement (with the exposition repeated) lasts approximately three minutes. If the second repeat prescribed by Beethoven, encompassing the development and recapitulation, is observed, this brings the total performance time to around four and a half minutes.

Sonate No. 25, 2nd Movement

1 part3 pages02:136 years ago2,376 views
Piano
The Piano Sonata No. 25 in G major, Op. 79, was written by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1809. It is one of Beethoven's shorter sonatas with an approximate performance time of only eleven minutes, if Beethoven's prescribed repeats are all observed. It is also the shortest of his sonatas with more than two movements.

The andante movement, in G minor, uses a tranquil theme in 9/8 time (quite uncommon in Beethoven's works) and gentle, light atmosphere to present contrast to the ecstatic first movement. It is about two and a half minutes long in performances.

Sonate No. 25, 3rd Movement

1 part5 pages01:516 years ago1,419 views
The Piano Sonata No. 25 in G major, Op. 79, was written by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1809. It is one of Beethoven's shorter sonatas with an approximate performance time of only eleven minutes, if Beethoven's prescribed repeats are all observed. It is also the shortest of his sonatas with more than two movements.

The finale movement is the most playful sounding as well as being the shortest at barely two minutes long. The movement is constructed in rondo form (ABACA' and a Coda), with a two-part theme in parts A and contrasting episodes in key (section B) and in rhythm (section C) in the other sections. A very brief coda brings this quick, light-hearted sonata to a brisk end. Beethoven later uses the chord progression found at the beginning of the A section to start his Op. 109 sonata. (A comparison of the two pieces gives a dramatic illustration of how Beethoven's piano-writing developed in the 11 years that intervened between the two sonatas. The Opus 109 theme is altogether subtler and subject to dramatic twists that lead the listener into quite unexpected harmonic territory.)

Sonate No. 26, “Les Adieux” 1st Movement

1 part9 pages06:315 years ago1,784 views
Beethoven's Piano Sonata no. 26 in E♭ Major, opus 81a (Farewell), of 1810 is the third and last of the three piano sonatas he composed in 1809 and 1810, including no. 24 in F♯ Major, opus 78, and no. 25 in G Major, opus 79. Of the three, it is this one, the Farewell Sonata, that is the most expressively substantial and technically groundbreaking.

The sonata was dedicated to the Austrian Archduke Johann Joseph Rainer Rudolph, a composition student and patron of Beethoven's and a genuine musician. The 20-year-old archduke was fleeing Vienna (hence, the Farewell Sonata) in anticipation of an attack by Napoleon's army.

Beethoven's Farewell Sonata is about Archduke Rudolph's departure from Vienna on May 4, 1809, in the face of the French invasion; the pain of his absence; and the joy of his return. The three movements of the sonata are entitled Das Lebewohl, (The Farewell); Abwesenheit, (Absence); and Das Wiedersehn, (The Return).

In terms of the programmatic and emotional content of each movement, Beethoven could not have been more explicit, a fact that has bothered 20th-century musicologists, who can't stand the thought that Beethoven would stoop so low as to compose descriptive music.

Over the course of the sonata, Beethoven's aggrieved farewell to Archduke Rudolph, his melancholy over the archduke's absence (portrayed in the second movement), and his joy at the archduke's return (portrayed in the third) become generalized and universalized.

The sonata opens in a 2/4 time Adagio with a short, simple motif of three chords, over which are written the three syllables Le-be-wohl (Fare-thee-well). This motif is the basis upon which both the first and the second subject groups are drawn. As soon as the introduction is over and the exposition begins, the time signature changes to split C (alla breve) and the score is marked Allegro.

Sonate No. 26, “Les Adieux” 2nd Movement

1 part3 pages03:155 years ago1,231 views
Beethoven's Piano Sonata no. 26 in E♭ Major, opus 81a (Farewell), of 1810 is the third and last of the three piano sonatas he composed in 1809 and 1810, including no. 24 in F♯ Major, opus 78, and no. 25 in G Major, opus 79. Of the three, it is this one, the Farewell Sonata, that is the most expressively substantial and technically groundbreaking.

The sonata was dedicated to the Austrian Archduke Johann Joseph Rainer Rudolph, a composition student and patron of Beethoven's and a genuine musician. The 20-year-old archduke was fleeing Vienna (hence, the Farewell Sonata) in anticipation of an attack by Napoleon's army.

Beethoven's Farewell Sonata is about Archduke Rudolph's departure from Vienna on May 4, 1809, in the face of the French invasion; the pain of his absence; and the joy of his return. The three movements of the sonata are entitled Das Lebewohl, (The Farewell); Abwesenheit, (Absence); and Das Wiedersehn, (The Return).

In terms of the programmatic and emotional content of each movement, Beethoven could not have been more explicit, a fact that has bothered 20th-century musicologists, who can't stand the thought that Beethoven would stoop so low as to compose descriptive music.

Over the course of the sonata, Beethoven's aggrieved farewell to Archduke Rudolph, his melancholy over the archduke's absence (portrayed in the second movement), and his joy at the archduke's return (portrayed in the third) become generalized and universalized.

The Andante espressivo might be misunderstood as an introduction to the ending Vivacissimamente, but a closer look finds the beauty and depth in this movement. The movement is 2/4 time throughout and is naturally junctured to the finale.

Sonate No. 26, “Les Adieux” 3rd Movement

1 part10 pages04:505 years ago2,236 views
Beethoven's Piano Sonata no. 26 in E♭ Major, opus 81a (Farewell), of 1810 is the third and last of the three piano sonatas he composed in 1809 and 1810, including no. 24 in F♯ Major, opus 78, and no. 25 in G Major, opus 79. Of the three, it is this one, the Farewell Sonata, that is the most expressively substantial and technically groundbreaking.

The sonata was dedicated to the Austrian Archduke Johann Joseph Rainer Rudolph, a composition student and patron of Beethoven's and a genuine musician. The 20-year-old archduke was fleeing Vienna (hence, the Farewell Sonata) in anticipation of an attack by Napoleon's army.

Beethoven's Farewell Sonata is about Archduke Rudolph's departure from Vienna on May 4, 1809, in the face of the French invasion; the pain of his absence; and the joy of his return. The three movements of the sonata are entitled Das Lebewohl, (The Farewell); Abwesenheit, (Absence); and Das Wiedersehn, (The Return).

In terms of the programmatic and emotional content of each movement, Beethoven could not have been more explicit, a fact that has bothered 20th-century musicologists, who can't stand the thought that Beethoven would stoop so low as to compose descriptive music.

Over the course of the sonata, Beethoven's aggrieved farewell to Archduke Rudolph, his melancholy over the archduke's absence (portrayed in the second movement), and his joy at the archduke's return (portrayed in the third) become generalized and universalized.

The finale, as the 1st movement also in sonata form, starts joyfully on the dominant, B♭, in 6/8 time. After the startling introduction, the first subject shows up in the right hand and is immediately transferred to the left hand, which is repeated twice with an elaboration of the arrangement in the right hand. Before the second subject group arrives, there's one remarkable bridge passage, introducing a phrase that goes from G♭ major to F major, first through distinctive forte arpeggios, then in a more delicate, fine piano arrangement.

Sonata No. 27, 1st Movement

1 part9 pages05:016 years ago1,591 views
This is the first Movement of the Sonata No. 27, written by Ludwig van Beethoven. The first movement is written in a 3/4 tempo, sounding mysteriously agitated and restless, described by Beethoven as "a contest between the head and heart", based on the situation of the Count deciding whether he should marry a young Viennese dancer. It starts out with powerful chords, responded by more subdued material. The falling semitone, particularly the G-F sharp, dominates the first and second subject groups, and most of the episodic work between.[

Sonata No. 27, 2nd Movement

1 part14 pages08:206 years ago1,464 views
The second Movement of Sonata No. 27 Opus 90 composed by Ludwig van Beethoven.
The second movement, a rondo in the tonic major, however, quiets down into a beautiful melody with a 2/4 rhythm. The two contrasting movements suggest an agitated situation calmed by restful contentness. Notably, Beethoven uses German tempo marks for both movements.
English composer Bramwell Tovey characterized the movement as one 'full of passionate and lonely energy'. This contrasting gesticulation of emotion is especially evident in the piece's discernible dialogical form, where the head exposes an idea which is thereafter disputed by the heart.

Sonate No. 28, 1st Movement

1 part4 pages03:195 years ago1,008 views
The Piano Sonata no. 28 in A Major, opus 101, was written for and dedicated to Baroness Dorothea von Ertmann. Like the dedication of the Farewell Sonata to Archduke Rudolph, the dedication to the baroness was much more than a political formality.

The baroness was one of Beethoven's piano students and a brilliant musician in her own right. Opus 101 is a piece shaped by Beethoven's feelings for the baroness, as well as what he understood to be her personal tastes and pianistic idiosyncrasies. It is unique among Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in that he had someone else's hands and spirit in mind, other than his own, when he composed it.

The Piano Sonata no. 28 in A Major, opus 101 is unlike any other four-movement sonata Beethoven composed. The first three movements are extremely brief and so highly contrasted as to make us wonder what they're doing together in the same sonata, but the fourth movement answers that question.

The first movement is a perfect example of Beethoven's contextual use of form, by which he uses traditional formal structures—in this case, sonata form—only up to the point that they fill his expressive needs. In the exposition, there is no second theme, no modulating bridge, and no cadence material; just a single, long principal theme that starts in the tonic key of A major and modulates to the dominant key of E major.

Although the development section of this first movement does indeed build up to a modest climax, the music never loses its ethereal, dreamlike quality.

Sonate No. 28, 2nd Movement

1 part5 pages05:305 years ago1,041 views
The Piano Sonata no. 28 in A Major, opus 101, was written for and dedicated to Baroness Dorothea von Ertmann. Like the dedication of the Farewell Sonata to Archduke Rudolph, the dedication to the baroness was much more than a political formality.

The baroness was one of Beethoven's piano students and a brilliant musician in her own right. Opus 101 is a piece shaped by Beethoven's feelings for the baroness, as well as what he understood to be her personal tastes and pianistic idiosyncrasies. It is unique among Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in that he had someone else's hands and spirit in mind, other than his own, when he composed it.

The Piano Sonata no. 28 in A Major, opus 101 is unlike any other four-movement sonata Beethoven composed. The first three movements are extremely brief and so highly contrasted as to make us wonder what they're doing together in the same sonata, but the fourth movement answers that question.

The gentle, song-like dreamscape created by the first movement is swept aside by the sheer physicality of the second movement march. The movement is a three-part structure: A B A1. The contrasting section (B) is a quasi-canonic episode based on motives drawn from the opening march and yet another classic example of Beethoven making something out of nothing.

Sonate No. 28, 3rd Movement

1 part2 pages02:145 years ago924 views
The Piano Sonata no. 28 in A Major, opus 101, was written for and dedicated to Baroness Dorothea von Ertmann. Like the dedication of the Farewell Sonata to Archduke Rudolph, the dedication to the baroness was much more than a political formality.

The baroness was one of Beethoven's piano students and a brilliant musician in her own right. Opus 101 is a piece shaped by Beethoven's feelings for the baroness, as well as what he understood to be her personal tastes and pianistic idiosyncrasies. It is unique among Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in that he had someone else's hands and spirit in mind, other than his own, when he composed it.

The Piano Sonata no. 28 in A Major, opus 101 is unlike any other four-movement sonata Beethoven composed. The first three movements are extremely brief and so highly contrasted as to make us wonder what they're doing together in the same sonata, but the fourth movement answers that question.

The third movement adagio is not so much a self-standing movement as a lengthy introduction to the fourth movement finale. We encountered just this sort of slow, introductory middle movement in the Waldstein Sonata, in which the second of that sonata's three movements was essentially an introduction to the last movement. Beethoven indicates that the movement be played slowly and longingly. The opening section combines the block chord–like character of a hymn with the gentle melodic embellishments of the opera house.

Rather than introduce any new thematic or contrasting ideas, the remainder of the movement features a long, descending bass line, over which Beethoven explores the gentle, turn-like embellishment that began the theme.

A gentle cadenza follows, based again on the turn-like embellishment that began the movement, and then, in a complete surprise, the cadenza leads directly into a restatement of the opening of the first movement! Marked “tempo del primo pezzo”—the tempo of the first movement—this brief bit of reminiscence is a masterstroke: it bookends the first three movements of the sonata and effectively seals them off from what follows.

Sonate No. 28, 4th Movement

1 part11 pages075 years ago1,639 views
Piano
The Piano Sonata no. 28 in A Major, opus 101, was written for and dedicated to Baroness Dorothea von Ertmann. Like the dedication of the Farewell Sonata to Archduke Rudolph, the dedication to the baroness was much more than a political formality.

The baroness was one of Beethoven's piano students and a brilliant musician in her own right. Opus 101 is a piece shaped by Beethoven's feelings for the baroness, as well as what he understood to be her personal tastes and pianistic idiosyncrasies. It is unique among Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in that he had someone else's hands and spirit in mind, other than his own, when he composed it.

The Piano Sonata no. 28 in A Major, opus 101 is unlike any other four-movement sonata Beethoven composed. The first three movements are extremely brief and so highly contrasted as to make us wonder what they're doing together in the same sonata, but the fourth movement answers that question.

The fourth movement is a fascinating and monumental hybrid, in which Beethoven combines a Classical-era construct—sonata form—with a Baroque-era construct—a fugue. This is not a fugue finale, like the one we will encounter in Beethoven's next piano sonata, the Hammerklavier, op 106, in which the entire last movement is a fugue. The finale in op 101 is a sonata form movement with a fugue for its development section. Beethoven tells us that this fourth and final movement should be played Quickly, but not too quickly, and with determination.

Sonate No. 29, “Hammerklavier” 1st Movement

1 part16 pages085 years ago3,634 views
Between late 1813 and late 1815, Beethoven experienced a surge of popularity unlike any other in his lifetime. Napoleon's defeats at Moscow in 1812, at the battle of Vittoria in 1813, and at Waterloo in 1814 unleashed a flood of patriotism and hope in Vienna that found its parallel in Beethoven's heroic music and crusty personal attitude.

In late 1813, Beethoven's music—particularly the recently premiered Wellington's Victory and the Seventh Symphony—became an overnight symbol of Austrian power. Then, in late 1815, Beethoven went from hot to not.

The reasons behind Beethoven's fall from popular grace are many and complex. First, the series of overblown and bombastic works he composed in 1814–1815 to celebrate the fall of Napoleon were used by Beethoven's critics as evidence that he was written out. Beethoven also showed little interest in exploring the emerging musical styles and trends in post-Napoleonic Europe, such as the Italian bel canto style and the Neo-Classic Biedermeier style.

Also, adding to his troubles... by 1815, most of Beethoven's patrons had been lost to him through death, permanent departure from Vienna, or personal estrangement, and his hearing was deteriorating rapidly. Finally, Beethoven's brother Casper died of tuberculosis in 1815, leading to Beethoven's brutal and prolonged fight to gain custody of his nephew.

Why is the sonata called the Hammerklavier? Beethoven saw no reason why a native German speaker should have to use, exclusively, Italian terminology. Beethoven's German-language patriotism peaked in 1817, when he sent a letter to the publisher Sigmund Anton Steiner. Framed in a mock-military style, Beethoven wrote: …hereafter on all our works, in place of “pianoforte”, “Hammerklavier” will be printed.

Beethoven went so far as to attempt to retitle the Piano Sonata in A Major, opus 101, which was already at the printer. Ultimately, the title of opus 101 was not changed, and the designation Hammerklavier was saved for Beethoven's next piano sonata, a work in B♭ major, completed in 1818. That piece—published as opus 106—was printed in Germany in 1823 under the title: Große Sonate für das Hammerklavier—Grand Sonata for the Hammerklavier.

The first movement opens with a series of fortissimo B♭ major chords, which form much of the basis of the first subject. Another series of the same chords ushers in the more lyrical second subject, in the submediant (that is, a minor third below the tonic), G Major. The development section opens with a fughetta subject that descends continuously by thirds. The recapitulation, in keeping with Beethoven's exploration of the potentials of sonata form, avoids a full harmonic return to B♭ until long after the return to the first theme. The movement ends with a coda, the final notes one of the rare fortississimo passages in Beethoven's work.

Sonate No. 29, “Hammerklavier” 2nd Movement

1 part6 pages02:045 years ago1,754 views
Between late 1813 and late 1815, Beethoven experienced a surge of popularity unlike any other in his lifetime. Napoleon's defeats at Moscow in 1812, at the battle of Vittoria in 1813, and at Waterloo in 1814 unleashed a flood of patriotism and hope in Vienna that found its parallel in Beethoven's heroic music and crusty personal attitude.

In late 1813, Beethoven's music—particularly the recently premiered Wellington's Victory and the Seventh Symphony—became an overnight symbol of Austrian power. Then, in late 1815, Beethoven went from hot to not.

The reasons behind Beethoven's fall from popular grace are many and complex. First, the series of overblown and bombastic works he composed in 1814–1815 to celebrate the fall of Napoleon were used by Beethoven's critics as evidence that he was written out. Beethoven also showed little interest in exploring the emerging musical styles and trends in post-Napoleonic Europe, such as the Italian bel canto style and the Neo-Classic Biedermeier style.

Also, adding to his troubles... by 1815, most of Beethoven's patrons had been lost to him through death, permanent departure from Vienna, or personal estrangement, and his hearing was deteriorating rapidly. Finally, Beethoven's brother Casper died of tuberculosis in 1815, leading to Beethoven's brutal and prolonged fight to gain custody of his nephew.

Why is the sonata called the Hammerklavier? Beethoven saw no reason why a native German speaker should have to use, exclusively, Italian terminology. Beethoven's German-language patriotism peaked in 1817, when he sent a letter to the publisher Sigmund Anton Steiner. Framed in a mock-military style, Beethoven wrote: …hereafter on all our works, in place of “pianoforte”, “Hammerklavier” will be printed.

Beethoven went so far as to attempt to retitle the Piano Sonata in A Major, opus 101, which was already at the printer. Ultimately, the title of opus 101 was not changed, and the designation Hammerklavier was saved for Beethoven's next piano sonata, a work in B♭ major, completed in 1818. That piece—published as opus 106—was printed in Germany in 1823 under the title: Große Sonate für das Hammerklavier—Grand Sonata for the Hammerklavier.

The brief second movement includes a great variety of harmonic and thematic material. The scherzo's theme - which has been described as a parody of the first movement's first subject - is at once playful, lively, and pleasant. The trio, marked "semplice", visits the minor, but the effect is more shadowy than dramatic. Following this dark interlude, Beethoven inserts a more intense presto section in 2/4 meter, which eventually segues back to the scherzo. This time around, it is followed by a coda (with another meter change), before dying away into the third movement.

Sonate No. 29, “Hammerklavier” 3rd Movement

1 part13 pages12:295 years ago3,861 views
Between late 1813 and late 1815, Beethoven experienced a surge of popularity unlike any other in his lifetime. Napoleon's defeats at Moscow in 1812, at the battle of Vittoria in 1813, and at Waterloo in 1814 unleashed a flood of patriotism and hope in Vienna that found its parallel in Beethoven's heroic music and crusty personal attitude.

In late 1813, Beethoven's music—particularly the recently premiered Wellington's Victory and the Seventh Symphony—became an overnight symbol of Austrian power. Then, in late 1815, Beethoven went from hot to not.

The reasons behind Beethoven's fall from popular grace are many and complex. First, the series of overblown and bombastic works he composed in 1814–1815 to celebrate the fall of Napoleon were used by Beethoven's critics as evidence that he was written out. Beethoven also showed little interest in exploring the emerging musical styles and trends in post-Napoleonic Europe, such as the Italian bel canto style and the Neo-Classic Biedermeier style.

Also, adding to his troubles... by 1815, most of Beethoven's patrons had been lost to him through death, permanent departure from Vienna, or personal estrangement, and his hearing was deteriorating rapidly. Finally, Beethoven's brother Casper died of tuberculosis in 1815, leading to Beethoven's brutal and prolonged fight to gain custody of his nephew.

Why is the sonata called the Hammerklavier? Beethoven saw no reason why a native German speaker should have to use, exclusively, Italian terminology. Beethoven's German-language patriotism peaked in 1817, when he sent a letter to the publisher Sigmund Anton Steiner. Framed in a mock-military style, Beethoven wrote: …hereafter on all our works, in place of “pianoforte”, “Hammerklavier” will be printed.

Beethoven went so far as to attempt to retitle the Piano Sonata in A Major, opus 101, which was already at the printer. Ultimately, the title of opus 101 was not changed, and the designation Hammerklavier was saved for Beethoven's next piano sonata, a work in B♭ major, completed in 1818. That piece—published as opus 106—was printed in Germany in 1823 under the title: Große Sonate für das Hammerklavier—Grand Sonata for the Hammerklavier.

The third sonata-form slow movement, centered on F♯ minor, has been called, among other things, a “mausoleum of collective sorrow” and is notable for its ethereality and great length as a slow movement. Paul Bekker called the movement “the apotheosis of pain, of that deep sorrow for which there is no remedy... the immeasurable stillness of utter woe”.

Sonate No. 29, “Hammerklavier” 4th Movement

1 part22 pages09:355 years ago4,217 views
Between late 1813 and late 1815, Beethoven experienced a surge of popularity unlike any other in his lifetime. Napoleon's defeats at Moscow in 1812, at the battle of Vittoria in 1813, and at Waterloo in 1814 unleashed a flood of patriotism and hope in Vienna that found its parallel in Beethoven's heroic music and crusty personal attitude.

In late 1813, Beethoven's music—particularly the recently premiered Wellington's Victory and the Seventh Symphony—became an overnight symbol of Austrian power. Then, in late 1815, Beethoven went from hot to not.

The reasons behind Beethoven's fall from popular grace are many and complex. First, the series of overblown and bombastic works he composed in 1814–1815 to celebrate the fall of Napoleon were used by Beethoven's critics as evidence that he was written out. Beethoven also showed little interest in exploring the emerging musical styles and trends in post-Napoleonic Europe, such as the Italian bel canto style and the Neo-Classic Biedermeier style.

Also, adding to his troubles... by 1815, most of Beethoven's patrons had been lost to him through death, permanent departure from Vienna, or personal estrangement, and his hearing was deteriorating rapidly. Finally, Beethoven's brother Casper died of tuberculosis in 1815, leading to Beethoven's brutal and prolonged fight to gain custody of his nephew.

Why is the sonata called the Hammerklavier? Beethoven saw no reason why a native German speaker should have to use, exclusively, Italian terminology. Beethoven's German-language patriotism peaked in 1817, when he sent a letter to the publisher Sigmund Anton Steiner. Framed in a mock-military style, Beethoven wrote: …hereafter on all our works, in place of “pianoforte”, “Hammerklavier” will be printed.

Beethoven went so far as to attempt to retitle the Piano Sonata in A Major, opus 101, which was already at the printer. Ultimately, the title of opus 101 was not changed, and the designation Hammerklavier was saved for Beethoven's next piano sonata, a work in B♭ major, completed in 1818. That piece—published as opus 106—was printed in Germany in 1823 under the title: Große Sonate für das Hammerklavier—Grand Sonata for the Hammerklavier.

The fourth movement begins with a slow introduction that serves to transition from the third movement; to do so, it modulates from D Minor to B Major to A Major, which modulates to B♭ major for the fugue. After a final modulation to B♭ major, the main substance of the movement appears: a titanic three-voice fugue in triple meter.

The subject of the fugue can be divided itself into three parts: (i) a tenth leap followed by a trill to the tonic, (ii) a 7-note scale figure repeated descending by a third, and (iii) a tail semiquaver passage marked by many chromatic passing tones, whose development becomes the main source for the movement's unique dissonance. Marked “with occasional license” (“con alcune licenze”), the fugue, one of Beethoven's greatest contrapuntal achievements, as well as making incredible demands on the performer, moves through a number of contrasting sections and includes a number of “learned” contrapuntal devices, often, and significantly, wielded with a dramatic fury and dissonance inimical to their conservative and academic associations.

Sonate No. 30, 1st Movement

1 part6 pages02:276 years ago1,516 views
The Piano Sonata no 30 in E Major, op 109, is dedicated to Maximiliana Brentano, daughter of Antonie Brentano, the woman now generally believed to have been Beethoven's Immortal Beloved.

Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No 30 in E major, Op 109 is the first of his late piano sonatas (Opus 109-111) composed between 1820-1822. This sonata (composed in 1820), like the other two, shows characteristics of Beethoven's last creative phase, including rich harmonic structures, a fascination with intricate counterpoint, and strict adherence to classical and baroque forms.

The opening movement is surprisingly brief, but its brevity demonstrates Beethoven's complete mastery over the sonata-allegro form. The entire first movement lasts about 3-4 minutes, though the first theme of the exposition takes about 5 seconds. The vivace sections of this movement are remarkably simplistic texturally, being basically a continuous line of sixteenth notes outlining an E Major chord progression.

The second theme is a dramatic contrast to the first theme. It begins with an arpeggiated diminished seventh chord, marked forte to contrast the piano coloring of the first theme. After a cantabile theme in thirds, it moves into simple arpeggiated runs that suggest a written-out improvisation.

The development begins with a seamless transition from the second theme by means of an ascending B Major scale. After modulating through various rare sharp keys (D-Sharp, C-Sharp, A-Sharp, F-Sharp, but not in that order), Beethoven leads into the recapitulation by introducing the first, and only, sustained lines in the movement. Beethoven ends the recapitulation with a cadenza-like passage in parallel sixths and leads into a brief but beautiful coda, ending on a sustained E Major triad.

Sonate No. 30, 2nd Movement

1 part7 pages02:076 years ago1,647 views
The Piano Sonata no 30 in E Major, op 109, is dedicated to Maximiliana Brentano, daughter of Antonie Brentano, the woman now generally believed to have been Beethoven's Immortal Beloved.

Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No 30 in E major, Op 109 is the first of his late piano sonatas (Opus 109-111) composed between 1820-1822. This sonata (composed in 1820), like the other two, shows characteristics of Beethoven's last creative phase, including rich harmonic structures, a fascination with intricate counterpoint, and strict adherence to classical and baroque forms.

The second movement, marked Prestissimo follows directly after the opening movement. Before the final chord of the opening movement has fully decayed, the second movement comes crashing in on the parallel minor. This movement, though not fugal in nature, comprises the counterpoint that was characteristic of Beethoven's late works. This movement is much closer to a Three-Part Invention than a fugue and is mostly almost entirely contrapuntal, doubled at the octave.

Sonate No. 30, 3rd Movement

1 part15 pages10:506 years ago5,882 views
Piano
The Piano Sonata no 30 in E Major, op 109, is dedicated to Maximiliana Brentano, daughter of Antonie Brentano, the woman now generally believed to have been Beethoven's Immortal Beloved.

Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No 30 in E major, Op 109 is the first of his late piano sonatas (Opus 109-111) composed between 1820-1822. This sonata (composed in 1820), like the other two, shows characteristics of Beethoven's last creative phase, including rich harmonic structures, a fascination with intricate counterpoint, and strict adherence to classical and baroque forms.

The finale is perhaps the most radical of the three movements while being the most traditional in form. It is a theme and variations in Baroque form, with the basic tempo remaining constant throughout the movement and increasing the speed (and virtuosity) by subdividing the measures further and further, adding more and more notes into the same amount of time. It should also be noted that this movement, like the second movement of Opus 111, which is also a theme and variations, is a slow movement; Beethoven obviously felt that these last sonatas should end with great emotional intensity.

Theme:
The dotted notes emphasise the second beat of the bar, giving this song-like theme something of the character of a Sarabande. Its "dignifed, meditative feel is strengthened by emphasis on the tonic E", which is reached through the falling third in bars 1 and 3, and later through other, wider intervals such as the falling fifth in bar 5 and the sixth in bar 7. Bars 1-2 are present in various shapes throughout the first eight bars. Bars 1-2 and 5-6 are based on a common thematic shape: G♯-E-D♯-B; bars 3-4 and 7-8 are based similarly on G♯-E-F♯-A♯-B.

Variation 1
This variation keeps the tempo of the theme. Compared with the quartet-like theme, it is more pianistic. The melody is an octave higher, thereby becoming more emotional. It is formed like a "ceremonial Waltz". With its accompanying formulae in the left hand, its ornamentation and its nuanced dynamics, it calls to mind many later compositions, such as bars 16-20 of Chopin's Waltz Op.34, No. 2 or Debussy's Prelude Dansueses de Delphe.

Variation 2
This variation is marked leggiermente. Whereas the theme and first variation were a binary phrase structure, here we have three variations collated, and presented as one. The first texture is a call and response which strongly recalls the beginning of the first movement. The second is a two voice canon in the right hand over a steady eighth note accompaniment. The two textures are then combined to form a third, with alternating sixteenth notes between the left and right hands, as in the beginning, with a steady eighth note chordal pulse as in the second part. This pattern is then repeated for the second half of the theme.

Variation 3
This variation breaks away from the original tempo and is marked allegro vivace. It also replaces the theme's 3/4 time signtaure with 2/4. It is a virtuosic Allegro in a two-part contrapuntal texture reminiscent of a two-part invention.

Variation 4
This variation is a little slower than the theme ("etwas langsamer, als das thema. un poco meno andante ciò è un poco più adagio come il tema."). It is in 9/8 time. The first half (repeated) is a contrapuntal texture varying between two and four voices. In the second half, between zero and two voices continue in the same vein over an accompaniment of broken chords.

Variation 5 (allegro ma non troppo)
After variation 4, Beethoven abandons numbering the variations and just provides tempo indications at the head of the remaining ones. The reasons are unknown. In spite of this, it is usual to refer to the remaining variations as numbers 5 and 6.
The driving rhythmic energy of the fifth variation gives the impression, at least to begin with, of a complex, many-voiced Chorale-like fugue.
The Schenker edition gives three different bar numberings for this variation, two of which imply the omission of some of the bars. Neither preface identifies the sources leading to these numberings.

Variation 6 (tempo primo del tema)
In extreme contrast to the energy and speed of the previous variation, this one begins with a four-bar passage marked cantabile, in quiet, slow crotchets at the tempo of the theme. Its peaceful, static character is emphasised by the repeated B in the top voice. As the sonata progresses to its conclusion, Beethoven intensifies almost every musical parameter to the maximum. Note values intensify the rhythm by increasing from crotchets through quavers, triplet quavers and semiquavers up to demisemiquavers. Contrast of register is increased by alternating very prominent high notes and deep bass notes. From bar 12, long-drawn-out trills in both hands and from bar 17, raging arpeggios and sequences in the top voice build further towards a climax. Then the last sixteen bars repeat the simple theme – just as if nothing had happened.

Sonate No. 31, 1st Movement

1 part8 pages06:035 years ago1,490 views
The Piano Sonata No. 31 in A♭ major, Opus 110, by Ludwig van Beethoven was composed in 1821. It is the central piano sonata in the group of three opera 109–111 which he wrote between 1820 and 1822, and the thirty-first of his published piano sonatas.

In the summer of 1819 Moritz Schlesinger, from the Schlesinger firm of music publishers based in Berlin, met Beethoven and asked to purchase some compositions. After some negotiation by letter, and despite the publisher's qualms about Beethoven's retaining the rights for publication in England and Scotland, Schlesinger agreed to purchase 25 songs for 60 ducats and three piano sonatas at 90 ducats (Beethoven had originally asked 120 ducats for the sonatas). In May 1820 Beethoven agreed, the songs (opus 108) already being available, and he undertook to deliver the sonatas within three months. These three sonatas are the ones now known as opera 109–111.

Beethoven was prevented from completing all three of the promised sonatas on schedule by factors including an attack of jaundice; Opus 109 was completed and delivered in 1820, but correspondence shows that Opus 110 was still not ready by the middle of December 1821, and the completed autograph score bears the date December 25, 1821. Presumably the sonata was delivered shortly thereafter, since Beethoven was paid the 30 ducats for this sonata in January 1822.

Alfred Brendel characterizes the main themes of the sonata as all derived from the hexachord - the first six notes of the diatonic scale - and the intervals of the third and fourth that divide it. He also points out that contrary motion is a feature of much of the work, particularly prominent in the scherzo second movement.

The first movement is marked Moderato cantabile molto espressivo (“at a moderate speed, in a singing style, very expressively”). Denis Matthews describes the first movement as in “orderly, predictable, sonata form”, and Charles Rosen calls the movement's structure Haydnesque. Its opening is marked con amabilità (“amiably”). After a pause on the dominant seventh the opening is extended in a cantabile theme. This leads to a light arpeggiated demisemiquaver transition passage. The second group of themes in the dominant E♭ includes appoggiatura figures, and a bass which descends in steps from E♭ to G three times while the melody rises by a sixth. The exposition ends with a semiquaver cadential theme. Beethoven does not ask for the exposition to be repeated.

The development section (which Rosen calls “radically simple”) consists of restatements of the movement's initial theme in a falling sequence, with underlying semiquaver figures. Tovey compares the artful simplicity of the development with the entasis of the Parthenon's columns.

The recapitulation begins conventionally with a restatement of the opening theme in the tonic (A♭ major), Beethoven combining it with the arpeggiated transition motif. The cantabile theme gradually modulates via the subdominant to E major (a seemingly remote key which both Matthews and Tovey rationalise by viewing it as a notational convenience for F♭ major). The harmony soon modulates back to the home key of A♭ major. The movement closes with a cadence over a tonic pedal.

Sonate No. 31, 2nd Movement

1 part4 pages01:565 years ago1,503 views
The Piano Sonata No. 31 in A♭ major, Opus 110, by Ludwig van Beethoven was composed in 1821. It is the central piano sonata in the group of three opera 109–111 which he wrote between 1820 and 1822, and the thirty-first of his published piano sonatas.

In the summer of 1819 Moritz Schlesinger, from the Schlesinger firm of music publishers based in Berlin, met Beethoven and asked to purchase some compositions. After some negotiation by letter, and despite the publisher's qualms about Beethoven's retaining the rights for publication in England and Scotland, Schlesinger agreed to purchase 25 songs for 60 ducats and three piano sonatas at 90 ducats (Beethoven had originally asked 120 ducats for the sonatas). In May 1820 Beethoven agreed, the songs (opus 108) already being available, and he undertook to deliver the sonatas within three months. These three sonatas are the ones now known as opera 109–111.

Beethoven was prevented from completing all three of the promised sonatas on schedule by factors including an attack of jaundice; Opus 109 was completed and delivered in 1820, but correspondence shows that Opus 110 was still not ready by the middle of December 1821, and the completed autograph score bears the date December 25, 1821. Presumably the sonata was delivered shortly thereafter, since Beethoven was paid the 30 ducats for this sonata in January 1822.

Alfred Brendel characterizes the main themes of the sonata as all derived from the hexachord - the first six notes of the diatonic scale - and the intervals of the third and fourth that divide it. He also points out that contrary motion is a feature of much of the work, particularly prominent in the scherzo second movement.

The scherzo is marked allegro molto. Matthews describes it as “terse”, and Kinderman as “humorous”, even though it is in the minor. The rhythm is complex with many syncopations and ambiguities. Tovey observes that this ambiguity is deliberate: attempts to characterise the movement as a Gavotte are prevented by the short length of the bars implying twice as many accented beats - and had he wanted to, Beethoven could obviously have composed a Gavotte.

Beethoven uses antiphonal dynamics (four bars of piano contrasted against four bars of forte), and opens the movement with a six-note falling-scale motif. Cooper finds that Beethoven here indulged the rougher side of his humour by using two folk songs, Unsa kätz häd kaz'ln g'habt (Our cat has had kittens) and Ich bin lüderlich, du bist lüderlich (lüderlich translates roughly as “dissolute” or “slob”). However, Tovey earlier decided that such theories of the themes' origins were “unscrupulous”, since the first of these folk songs was arranged by Beethoven some time before this work's composition in payment for a publisher's trifling postage charge - the nature of the arrangement making it clear that the folk songs were of little importance to the composer.

The trio in D♭ major juxtaposes “abrupt leaps” and “perilous descents”, ending quietly and leading to a modified reprise of the scherzo with repeats, the first repeat written out to allow for an extra ritardando. After a few syncopated chords the movement's short coda comes to rest quietly but uneasily in F major via a long broken arpeggio in the bass.

Sonate No. 31, 3rd Movement

1 part11 pages09:525 years ago2,913 views
The Piano Sonata No. 31 in A♭ major, Opus 110, by Ludwig van Beethoven was composed in 1821. It is the central piano sonata in the group of three opera 109–111 which he wrote between 1820 and 1822, and the thirty-first of his published piano sonatas.

In the summer of 1819 Moritz Schlesinger, from the Schlesinger firm of music publishers based in Berlin, met Beethoven and asked to purchase some compositions. After some negotiation by letter, and despite the publisher's qualms about Beethoven's retaining the rights for publication in England and Scotland, Schlesinger agreed to purchase 25 songs for 60 ducats and three piano sonatas at 90 ducats (Beethoven had originally asked 120 ducats for the sonatas). In May 1820 Beethoven agreed, the songs (opus 108) already being available, and he undertook to deliver the sonatas within three months. These three sonatas are the ones now known as opera 109–111.

Beethoven was prevented from completing all three of the promised sonatas on schedule by factors including an attack of jaundice; Opus 109 was completed and delivered in 1820, but correspondence shows that Opus 110 was still not ready by the middle of December 1821, and the completed autograph score bears the date December 25, 1821. Presumably the sonata was delivered shortly thereafter, since Beethoven was paid the 30 ducats for this sonata in January 1822.

Alfred Brendel characterizes the main themes of the sonata as all derived from the hexachord - the first six notes of the diatonic scale - and the intervals of the third and fourth that divide it. He also points out that contrary motion is a feature of much of the work, particularly prominent in the scherzo second movement.

The third movement's structure alternates two slow arioso sections with two faster fugues. In Brendel's analysis there are six sections - recitative, arioso, first fugue, arioso, fugue inversion and homophonic conclusion.

The movement uses the scherzo's concluding ritardando bass arpeggio in F major to resolve to B♭ minor, forming a seamless bridge between the rough humour of the scherzo and the doleful meditation of the Arioso, in A♭ minor. Commentators (including Rosen and Kinderman cited) have seen the initial recitative and arioso as “operatic”. The recitative, whose tempo changes frequently, leads to an extended arioso dolente, a lament whose initial melodic contour is similar to the opening of the scherzo (although Tovey dismisses this as insignificant). The lament is supported by repeated left hand chords.

The arioso leads into a three-voice fugue, whose subject is constructed from three parallel rising fourths. The opening theme of the first movement carried within it elements of this fugue subject (the motif A♭–D♭–B♭–E♭) and Matthews sees a foreshadowing of it also in the alto part of the first movement's antepenultimate bar. The countersubject moves by smaller intervals. Kinderman finds a parallel between this fugue and the fughetta of the composer's later Diabelli Variations, also finding similarities with the Agnus Dei and Dona Nobis Pacem movements of the contemporaneous Missa Solemnis.

The subject of this fugue opens with three ascending fourths (A♭ -> D♭ - B♭ -> E♭ - C -> F) and then goes downwards in gestures outlining fourths (i.e. F - E♭ - D♭ - C). The counterpoint has two themes working together to highlight the fourth.

At the point where Beethoven introduces a diminution of the subject's rising figure the piece comes to rest on the dominant seventh, which resolves enharmonically onto a G minor chord in second inversion, leading into a reprise of the arioso dolente in G minor marked “ermattet” (exhausted). Kinderman contrasts the perceived “earthly pain” of the lament with the “consolation and inward strength” of the fugue - which Tovey points out had not reached a conclusion. Rosen finds that G minor, the tonality of the leading note, gives the arioso a flattened quality befitting exhaustion, and Tovey describes the broken rhythm of this second arioso as being “through sobs”.

The arioso ends with repeated G major chords of increasing strength, repeating the sudden minor-to-major device that concluded the scherzo - now a second fugue emerges with the subject of the first inverted, marked “wieder auflebend” (again reviving) (“poi a poi di nuovo vivente” - little by little with renewed vigour - in the traditional Italian). There are many performance instructions in this passage that begin poi a poi and nach und nach (little by little). Initially the pianist is instructed to play una corda (i.e. to use the “soft pedal”); Brendel ascribes an unreal, illusory quality to it. The final fugue gradually increases in intensity and volume. After all three voices have entered, the bass introduces a diminution of the first fugue's subject (whose accent is also altered), while the treble augments the same subject with the rhythm across the bars. The bass eventually enters with the augmented version of the fugue subject in C minor, and this ends on E♭, the work's dominant. During this statement of the subject in the bass the pianist is instructed to gradually raise the una corda pedal. Beethoven here relaxes the tempo and introduces a truncated double-diminution of the fugue subject; after statements of the first fugue subject and its inversion surrounded by what Tovey calls this “flame” motif, the contrapuntal parts lose their identity. Brendel sees the following, final section as a “shaking off” of the constraints of polyphony, while Tovey goes so far as to label it a peroration, calling the closing passage “exultant”. It leads to a final four-bar tonic arpeggio and a last emphatic chord of A♭ major.

Matthews writes that it is not fanciful to see the final movement's second fugue as a “gathering of confidence after illness or despair”, a theme which can be discerned in other late works by Beethoven. Cooper describes the coda as “passionate” and “heroic”, but not out of place after the arioso's distress or the fugues' “luminous verities”. Rosen states that this movement is the first time in the history of music where the academic devices of counterpoint and fugue are integral to a composition's drama, and observes that Beethoven in this work does not “simply represent the return to life, but persuades us physically of the process”.

Sonate No. 32, 1st Movement

1 part11 pages07:565 years ago4,371 views
The Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Opus 111, is the last of Ludwig van Beethoven's piano sonatas. Along with Beethoven's 33 Variations on a waltz by Anton Diabelli, Opus 120 (1823) and his two collections of bagatelles—Opus 119 (1822) and Opus 126 (1824)—this was one of Beethoven's last compositions for piano. The work was written between 1821 and 1822. Like other “late period” sonatas, it contains fugal elements.

In the first movement of op 111, Beethoven reconciles the two competing artistic impulses he carried within himself: his Classical-era inheritance and his Johann Sebastian Bach, Baroque-era–inspired spiritual soul. What Beethoven does in this first movement is completely integrate fugue and sonata form.

The first movement begins with a jagged and dissonant introduction that functions as an image of chaos before the creation. It ends on an open cadence and a long, rumbling trill in the lowest reaches of the piano. Suddenly, this drum-roll trill gets faster and louder!

Theme 1 is an explosion based on a vicious three-note motive. Theme 1 is also a fugue subject, presented in octaves in both hands. Theme 2 is a much more familiar sounding thematic construct—a graceful, lyric tune characterized by dotted rhythms and some elaborate ornamentation, ending with two chords marked adagio, slowly. An avalanche of descending, broken thirds initiates the cadence material, which has the furious, contrapuntal character of theme 1.

The development section begins with a quick shift of key to G minor, and from there it's another fugue. This developmental fugue is based on a subject with the same head but a different tail than the one we heard in the exposition.

The fugue that is theme 1 ends, and the modulating bridge goes into high gear, with Beethoven substituting octaves for what had been, in the exposition, single notes. In the recapitulation, theme 2 is somewhat extended: heard first in C major, then in C minor. The cadence material and the brief coda that follows continue to feature fugue-like material to the very end of the movement, which concludes in C major.

In four of his last five piano sonatas, Beethoven grappled with the issue of how to incorporate the ancient procedure of fugue into his self-avowedly modern sonatas. In the Sonata in A major, op 101, of 1816, Beethoven did something that both Haydn and Mozart had done, he inserted a fugue into the fourth movement development section. In the Hammerklavier of 1818, Beethoven took it a step further, and dedicated his entire last movement to fugue. In the Sonata in Ab Major, op 110, of 1821, Beethoven alternated fugal and non-fugal elements in the third and final movement. Finally, here in the first movement of op 111, Beethoven achieves total synthesis between fugue and sonata form. There's nothing else like it in the repertoire.

Beethoven conceived of the plan for his final three piano sonatas (Opera 109, 110 and 111) during the summer of 1820, while he worked on his Missa Solemnis. Although the work was only seriously outlined by 1819, the famous first theme of the allegro ed appassionato was found in a draft book dating from 1801–1802, contemporary to his Second Symphony. Moreover, the study of these draft books implies that Beethoven initially had plans for a sonata in three movements, quite different from that which we know: it is only thereafter that the initial theme of the first movement became that of the String Quartet No. 13, and that what should have been used as the theme with the adagio—a slow melody in A♭ major—was abandoned. Only the motif planned for the third movement, the famous theme mentioned above, was preserved to become that of the first movement.

Sonate No. 32, 2nd Movement

1 part16 pages15:355 years ago6,324 views
The Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Opus 111, is the last of Ludwig van Beethoven's piano sonatas. Along with Beethoven's 33 Variations on a waltz by Anton Diabelli, Opus 120 (1823) and his two collections of bagatelles—Opus 119 (1822) and Opus 126 (1824)—this was one of Beethoven's last compositions for piano. The work was written between 1821 and 1822. Like other “late period” sonatas, it contains fugal elements.

The secand and final movement is in C major, is a set of variations on a 16-bar theme, with a brief modulating interlude and final coda. The last two are famous for introducing small notes which constantly divide the bar in 36 resp. 27 parts, which is very uncommon. Beethoven eventually introduces a trill which gives the impression of a further step (i.e. dividing each bar into 81 parts), though this is extremely technically difficult without slowing down to half-tempo.

Beethoven’s markings indicate that he wished variations 2-4 to be played to the same basic pulse as the theme, first variation and subsequent sections (using the direction “L'istesso tempo” at each change of time signature). However, performance practice today often makes the theme and first variation slow, with wide spaces between the chords, and lets the third variation, which has a powerful, stomping, dance-like character with falling 32-part notes, come out much faster and with heavy syncopation. Mitsuko Uchida has remarked that this variation, to a modern ear, has a striking resemblance to cheerful boogie-woogie, and the closeness of it to jazz and ragtime, which were still eighty years into the future at the time, has often been pointed out. Jeremy Denk, for example, describes the second movement using terms like “proto-jazz” and “boogie-woogie”.

The work is one of the most famous compositions of the composer's “late period” and is widely performed and recorded. The pianist Robert Taub has called it “a work of unmatched drama and transcendence ... the triumph of order over chaos, of optimism over anguish”. Alfred Brendel commented of the second movement that “what is to be expressed here is distilled experience” and “perhaps nowhere else in piano literature does mystical experience feel so immediately close at hand”.

Asked by Anton Schindler why the work has only two movements (this was unusual for a classical sonata but not unique among Beethoven's works for piano), the composer is said to have replied “I didn't have the time to write a third movement”. However, according to Robert Greenberg, this may have just as easily been the composer's prickly personality shining through, since the balance between the two movements is such that it obviates the need for a third. Jeremy Denk points out that Beethoven “whittles away everything down to the absolute difference of the two movements”, “an Allegro and an Adagio, two opposed poles”, and suggests that “as with the greatest Beethoven pieces, the structure itself becomes a message”.

Beethoven conceived of the plan for his final three piano sonatas (Opera 109, 110 and 111) during the summer of 1820, while he worked on his Missa Solemnis. Although the work was only seriously outlined by 1819, the famous first theme of the allegro ed appassionato was found in a draft book dating from 1801–1802, contemporary to his Second Symphony. Moreover, the study of these draft books implies that Beethoven initially had plans for a sonata in three movements, quite different from that which we know: it is only thereafter that the initial theme of the first movement became that of the String Quartet No. 13, and that what should have been used as the theme with the adagio—a slow melody in A♭ major—was abandoned. Only the motif planned for the third movement, the famous theme mentioned above, was preserved to become that of the first movement. The Arietta, too, offers a considerable amount of research on its themes; the drafts found for this movement seem to indicate that as the second movement took form, Beethoven gave up the idea of a third movement, the sonata finally appearing to him as ideal.