Annotations on Some Pianoforte Sonatas
THE pianoforte sonatas Op. 2 and Op. 111 represent the corner and capstone of Beethoven's creation in the field of the pianoforte sonata. The sonata trilogy Op. 2 (published in 1796 and dedicated to Joseph Haydn) seems to have been known in Vienna in manuscript form as early as the spring of 1795. The C minor sonata, Op. 111, is dated January 13, 1822, and fell between the maturing of the Missa Solemnis and the gestation of the Ninth symphony. The C sharp minor sonata, Op. 27 (if we go by the symphonies) stems from the period between the first and second symphonies. And after the Eroica-- in the Fidelio period--the Appassionata was conceived and carried out. Finally the composition of the C minor variations, issued without opus number, dates from the year 1806 when this great F minor sonata was completed.
The C minor variations, Op. 191, can be characterized as a grandiose "study." Naturally this word is not to be understood in the sense of dry brain work, but-like Chopin's perhaps most genial creations, the Etudes, or the superb Paganini Variations of Brahms--as studies in the sense of the systematic treatment of a particular artistic-