Some Features of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas

Beethoven - the great maestro, master of sonata form, throughout his life was looking for new facets of this genre, fresh ways to translate his ideas into it.

Until the end of his life, the composer was faithful to the classical canons, but in his search for new sound, he often went beyond the limits of style, finding himself on the threshold of discovering a new, unknown yet Romanticism. Beethoven's genius is that he brought the classical sonata to the peak of perfection and opened the window to a new world of composition.

Unusual examples of Beethoven’s interpretation of the sonata cycle

Panting within the framework of the sonata form, the composer tried more and more often to depart from the traditional shaping and structure of the sonata cycle.

This can be seen already in the Second Sonata, where instead of the minuet he introduces a scherzo, which he will then do more than once. He uses non-traditional sonatas genres:

  • March: in sonatas number 10, 12 and 28;
  • instrumental recitatives: in Sonata №17;
  • arioso: in Sonata №31.

He interprets the sonata cycle itself very freely. Freely addressing the traditions of alternating slow and fast parts, he begins with slow music to Sonata No. 13, Moonlight Sonata No. 14. In Sonata No. 21, the so-called "Aurora" (some Beethoven's sonatas have names), the final part is preceded by a kind of introduction or introduction, performing the function of the second part. We observe a kind of slow overture in the first part of the Sonata No. 17.

Not satisfied with Beethoven and the traditional number of parts in the sonata cycle. His two-part nos. 19, 20, 22, 24. 27, 32 sonatas, more than ten sonatas have a four-part structure.

No sonata allegro as such does not have a sonata number 13 and number 14.

Variations in Beethoven's Piano Sonatas

Composer L. Beethoven

An important place in Beethoven's sonata masterpieces is occupied by parts interpreted in the form of variations. In general, the variation technique, variation as such, was widely used in his work. Over the years, she gained more freedom and became not like the classic variations.

The first part of the Sonata No. 12 is an excellent example of variations in the composition of the sonata form. For all its laconicism, this music expresses a wide range of emotions and states. The pastoral and contemplative nature of this beautiful piece, no other form than variation, could express so gracefully and sincerely.

The author himself called the state of this part "pensive reverence." These thoughts of a dreamy soul, caught up in nature, are deeply autobiographical. Attempting to escape from thoughts of thought and plunge into the contemplation of a beautiful environment, each time ends with the return of even more somber thoughts. No wonder after these variations should funeral march. Variability in this case is ingeniously used as a way of observing the internal struggle.

Such “reflections in oneself” is full of the second part “Appassionaty”. It is no coincidence that some variations sound in a low register, immersing themselves in dark thoughts, and then soar into the upper one, expressing the warmth of hope. The variability of the music conveys the instability of the hero's mood.

The second part “Appasionaty” is written in the form of variations ...

Sonat finals No. 30 and No. 32 are also written in the form of variations. The music of these parts is permeated with dreamy memories, it is not effective, but contemplative. Their themes are emphatically emotional and tremulous, they are not acutely emotional, but rather restrainedly melodious, like memories through the prism of past years. Each variation transforms the image of the dream. In the heart of the hero, there is hope, then a desire to fight, alternating with despair, then again the return of the image of a dream.

Fugues in Beethoven's Late Sonatas

Beethoven enriches his variations with a new principle of a polyphonic approach to composition. Beethoven was so imbued with a polyphonic composition that he introduced it more and more. Polyphony is an integral part of the development in Sonata No. 28, the final Sonata No. 29 and 31.

In the later years of creativity, Beethoven outlined a central philosophical idea that runs through all the works: interconnections and interpenetration of contrasts into each other. The idea of ​​the conflict of good and evil, light and darkness, which was so vividly and vigorously reflected in the middle years, is transformed by the end of his work into the deep thought that victory in trials comes not in heroic battle, but through rethinking and spiritual strength.

Therefore, in his later sonatas he comes to the fugue, as to the crown of dramatic development. He finally realized that he could become the result of music, to such an extent dramatic and mournful, after which even life cannot continue. Fugue - the only possible option. Thus he spoke about the final fugu of the Sonata No. 29 G. Neuhaus.

The most difficult fugue in Sonata №29 ...

After suffering and upheaval, when the last hope fades away, there are no emotions, no feelings, all that remains is the ability to reflect. Cold sober mind, embodied in polyphony. On the other hand, there is an appeal to religion and unity with God.

It would be totally inappropriate to complete this kind of music with fun rondo or quiet variations. This would be a blatant disagreement with its whole concept.

The fugue of the Sonata No. 30 finale has become a nightmare for the performer. It is huge, two-dark and very complex. Creating this fugu, the composer tried to embody the idea of ​​the triumph of reason over emotions. There are really no strong emotions in it, the development of music is ascetic and thoughtful.

Sonata No. 31 also ends with a polyphonic ending. However, here, after a purely polyphonic fugiene episode, a homophonic texture pattern returns, which suggests that the emotional and rational principle in our life are equal.

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