Category: Program Notes

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 109

The last decade of Beethoven’s life is universally regarded as one of the most intensely creative periods of any artist. Musicologists cannot resist the allure of the tortured genius, conscious of his approaching death choosing to sacrifice his life to…

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 81a ‘Les Adieux’

Sonata in E flat major Op 81a ‘Les Adieux’ (1810/11) Das Lebewohl: Adagio – Allegro Das Abwesenheit: Andante espressivo Das Wiedersehen: Vivacissimamente In the 11 years between Op 10 and Op 81a, much had changed both for Beethoven personally and…

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 57 ‘Appassionata’

Piano Sonata in F minor Op 57 “Appassionata” Allegro assai Andante con moto Allegro ma non troppo The difference in style between the three early sonatas and Appassionata is marked. In the intervening 12 years, Beethoven had written 20 piano…

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 54

Sonata in F major Op 54 In Tempo d’un Menuetto Allegretto With stories of his tantrums and grumpy demeanour in plentiful supply, it is difficult to imagine Beethoven ever cracking a smile or telling a joke. This sonata proves without…

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 27 No.2 ‘Moonlight’

Op 27 No.2 ‘Moonlight’ Adagio sostenuto Allegretto Presto Like the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, the first movement of the Moonlight sonata has become a victim of its own popularity. The piece has been transcribed for all manner of instruments…

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 27 No.1

Beethoven was 31 years old when he was writing Op 27. He had been living in Vienna for eight years, was firmly established as one of the best pianists around and had his first symphony, six string quartets, five violin…

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 10 No. 3

Sonata in D major, Op. 10, No. 3 (1796-98) Presto Largo e mesto Menuetto: Allegro Rondo: Allegro The D major sonata is regarded by most critics as the finest of the Op 10 set. Music historian Ernest Walker wrote that…

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 10 No. 2

Sonata in F major, Op. 10, No. 2 (1796-98) Allegro Allegretto Presto Beethoven made a few minor changes to the standard sonata form in this piece, the first of which occurs in the development of the first movement. Traditionally, the…

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 10 No.1

An important part of the Beethoven myth is the idea that he was not bound to any one job or patron but rather wrote what suited him, when it suited. While it is true that he was not employed in…

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 7

Sonata in E flat major Op 7 Allegro molto e con brio Largo con gran espressione Allegro Rondo: Poco Allegretto e grazioso Op 7 was written in 1797 and the influence of Haydn and Clementi is very apparent. Despite the…

Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op 2 No. 3

Piano Sonata in C major Op 2 No 3 Allegro con brio Adagio Scherzo: Allegro Allegro assai At nearly 10 minutes longer, the third piano sonata is the weightiest of the three Opus 2 works and is generally recognised to…

Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op 2 No. 2

Piano Sonata in A major Op 2 No 2 Allegro Vivace Largo appassionato Scherzo: Allegretto Rondo: Grazioso Like the first Sonata, this opening movement is very Classical sounding and one could be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a…

Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op 2 No. 1

Although they were not conceived as a cycle like the Well Tempered Clavier, Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas are a formidable complement to Bach’s opus. Referred to by many as the Old and New Testament of piano literature, they form the…