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List of sonatas Early sonatas. Beethoven's early sonatas were highly influenced by those of Haydn and Mozart.The first three sonatas, written in 1782-3 are usually not acknowledged as part of the complete set of piano sonatas, due to the fact that he was 13 when they were published.
Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas constitute a great treasure that embodies a part of the human eternity. Numerous pianists and musicologists have researched or studied them, trying to impart to their students or readers the prodigality of these true musical riches. Beethoven holds a key role in the transformation and evolution of the ...
Aug 06, 2018 · Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas are considered probably his greatest piano sonatas. But did you know that it's possible to objectively rank them from worst to best? You won't BELIEVE number 17! #32: Sonata No. 11 in Bb major, Op. 22
- The Moonlight
- Piano Sonatas, Opp.109, 110, 111
To single out just a few. The most important of the early Sonatas is the Pathétique. For the first time Beethoven uses a slow introduction, and an introduction of such weight you know something truly significant is going on. The opening chord breaks once and for all with Haydn and Mozart. You are in Beethoven’s world now. Among Beethoven’s few close friends in Vienna were the piano-building couple, Andreas and Nanette Streicher. The Pathétiquedemanded a wider keyboard than ever before, the sheer power of the chords demanded a stronger piano frame, and more resilient strings. The Streichers started building pianos to accommodate Beethoven’s needs. Thus we owe the beginning of the development of the modern concert grand to Beethoven. If you are in any doubt of the sheer versatility of Beethoven’s music, listen to the beautiful simplicity of the second movement of the Pathétique – a theme so perfect it is as if it emerged from Beethoven fully formed; none of the struggle we usually ass...
The most famous movement of any of the 32 Piano Sonatas is the opening movement of The Moonlight – the Sonata he composed for the woman he wanted to marry, Giulietta Guicciardi [see Chapter 6, Beethoven’s Women]. For the first time he put the slow movement first (something neither Haydn or Mozart ever did). Just like the opening bars of the Fifth Symphony, this movement is universally known. Yet – again as with the Fifth– try singing it. You can’t. That’s a trick of Beethoven’s: music instantly memorable, that lodges in your head, that you can play in your brain, but that is impossible to reproduce except on the piano. Plenty of amateur pianists can do that. Ask anyone who says they can play Beethoven to demonstrate it, and the opening movement of the Moonlight is what they’ll play (or Für Elise, more correctly a Bagatelle). Then ask them to play the third movement …
We already know the origin of the Waldstein from Chapter 3, The Spaniard. The gloriously spacious theme of the final movement is prefaced by a mysterious, fragmented middle movement, which presages it perfectly. That was not Beethoven’s original intention. The middle movement was a long complete piece with an instantly catchy tune. He realised it was misplaced, and published it separately. It became an instant hit with the amateur pianists of Vienna. It was published under the title Andante grazioso, but was nicknamed Andante favori by Beethoven himself, who said: I wish I had never written the piece. I cannot walk down a street without hearing it coming through some window or other. The Andante favoriwas at the centre of a dramatic sense of humour failure on Beethoven’s part. Ferdinand Ries recounts how, when Beethoven played the piece for the first time to him and a friend, they liked it so much they persuaded Beethoven to repeat it. On his way home Ries called in on Beethoven’s u...
Wagner’s favourite was the Appassionata. He loved playing it, and marvelled at the theme of the first movement rising from the depths. Once again, as with the Pathétique, the middle movement is simplicity itself, almost a theme on a single note. The entire work has such nobility and passion it is small wonder the publisher gave it the name by which it is known. As with the Pastoral Symphony, the only Piano Sonata where Beethoven tells us what his music represents (though not as literally as with the Symphony) is Les Adieux. It has become known by its French name, since the publishers subtitled it in French, but the original (rather more cumbersome) German title was Das Lebewohl, Abwesenheit und Wiedersehn [The Farewell, Absence and Return]. Beethoven composed it in the most fraught year in recent Viennese history. On 9 May 1809 Austria (yet again) declared war on France. Napoleon Bonaparte, who had occupied Vienna three years before peacefully, this time decided to teach the recalci...
We come to the most monumental of all the Piano Sonatas, the Hammerklavier. This was the work that Beethoven composed at the height of the traumatic court case, when he was composing little else. What spurred him to do it? More than likely the thoroughly prosaic fact that at the beginning of the year he had received a remarkable gift. The famous London piano maker Broadwood & Sons shipped a specially built, specially robust six-octave grand piano to Beethoven, sending it by sea to Trieste and then overland to Vienna. This, combined with the fact that the Archduke’s name-day was on 17 April, persuaded Beethoven to compose a new Sonata. Beethoven loved the piano, with its heavier English action which suited his music and playing style, and he was touched to see that Ferdinand Ries had signed his name on the board behind the keys. This most famous of Broadwood pianos – by the time of Beethoven’s death in poor state due to his pounding on the keys and numerous repairs – was sold at the...
The Hammerklavier is often taken to signify the start of Beethoven’s Late Period. Certainly everything that now follows – Missa Solemnis, Ninth Symphony, Piano Sonatas, String Quartets– are on an entirely different plane to what has gone before. Profoundly deaf, deeply miserable, failing health – and the greatest works of all. The final set of Piano Sonatas, opp.109, 110, 111, (no names, just opus numbers) stand alone too. Not so monumental as the Hammerklavier, but more intimate and more deeply personal. Intimacy pervades op.109, there is warmth and optimism in op.110, and if you want more proof that Beethoven was a composer ahead of his time, listen to the second and final movement of op.111. It is a set of variations. For a whole page Beethoven writes pure syncopated rhythm. It is a glimpse of the future; it is jazz. One passage of one of the three Sonatas in particular grips me every time I hear it. It is the final two movements of op.110. Beethoven has composed one of his sadde...
Nov 13, 2011 · Update (11-16-11): I forgot to mention three more sonatas by Beethoven that may also be spurious: No. 36 in C major, WoO 51 supposedly written in 1798 after the 4th sonata. No. 37 in G major, Anh 5, No. 1, also supposedly written in 1798 No. 38 in F major, Anh 5, No. 2 The latter two are Sonatinas. I just happen to have recordings of all of these.