World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Piano Sonata No. 8 (Beethoven)

Article Id: WHEBN0000203203
Reproduction Date:

Title: Piano Sonata No. 8 (Beethoven)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Enigma Variations, Ludwig van Beethoven, Hundred twenty-eighth note, Piano Sonata No. 23 (Beethoven), Sonata rondo form
Collection: 1798 Compositions, Compositions in C Minor, Piano Sonatas by Ludwig Van Beethoven
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Piano Sonata No. 8 (Beethoven)

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. It has remained one of his most celebrated compositions.[1] Beethoven dedicated the work to his friend Prince Karl von Lichnowsky.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] However, Beethoven's sonata uses a unique motif line throughout, a major difference from Haydn or Mozart’s creation.[2]


  • Movements 1
    • Grave – Allegro di molto e con brio 1.1
    • Adagio cantabile 1.2
    • Rondo: Allegro 1.3
  • Reactions of Beethoven's contemporaries 2
  • Further media 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


All files courtesy of Musopen

Problems playing these files? See .

In its entirety, encompassing all three movements, the work takes approximately 19 minutes to perform.

The sonata consists of three movements:

  1. Grave (Slowly, with solemnity) – Allegro di molto e con brio (Quickly, with much vigour)
  2. Adagio cantabile (Slowly, in a singing style)
  3. Rondo: Allegro (Quickly)

Grave – Allegro di molto e con brio

The first movement is in

External links

  1. ^ a b Craig Wright, Listening to Western Music, pp. 209–12. Cengage Learning.
  2. ^ a b Beethoven Pathetique Sonata Op. 13 All About Beethoven. Retrieved May 1, 2008.
  3. ^ Burkhart, Charles: Anthology for Musical Analysis, p. 233. Schirmer 2004.
  4. ^ Marks, F. Helena. The Sonata: Its Form and Meaning as Exemplified in the Piano Sonatas by Mozart. W. Reeves, London, 1921.
  5. ^ Program details, WCLVAdventures in Good Music with Karl Haas
  6. ^ Holley, Joe (8 February 2005). "Classical Radio Personality Karl Haas, 91, Dies". The Washington Post. p. B06. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  7. ^ Maynard Solomon, Beethoven, p. 80. Revised Edition, Schirmer Trade Books.
  8. ^ Jan Swafford, Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph, p. 219. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  9. ^ a b H. C. Robbins Landon, Beethoven: A Documentary Study, pp. 61–62. Thames & Hudson 1970.


See also

run time is 13 minutes, 20 seconds

Problems playing this file? See .

Further media

Anton Schindler, a musician who was a friend of Beethoven in the composer's later years, wrote: "What the Sonate Pathétique was in the hands of Beethoven (although he left something to be desired as regards clean playing) was something that one had to have heard, and heard again, in order to be quite certain that it was the same already well-known work. Above all, every single thing became, in his hands, a new creation, wherein his always legato playing, one of the particular characteristics of his execution, formed an important part."[9]

When the pianist and composer Ignaz Moscheles discovered the work in 1804, he was ten years old; unable to afford to buy the music, he copied it out from a library copy. His music teacher, on being told about his discovery, "warned me against playing or studying eccentric productions before I had developed a style based on more respectable models. Without paying heed to his instructions, however, I laid Beethoven's works on the piano, in the order of their appearance, and found in them such consolation and pleasure as no other composer ever vouchsafed me."[9]

The Pathétique was an important success for Beethoven, selling well[7] and helping to create his reputation as a composer,[8] not just an extraordinary pianist. Not only was it immediately popular, it also exposed the world to the characteristics that Beethoven's music would continue to develop in the coming years.[1]

Reactions of Beethoven's contemporaries

Rondo: Allegro
About this sound Third movement  
MIDI rendition, 4:25 minutes, 17 KB

The sonata closes with a cut time movement in C minor. The main theme closely resembles the second theme of the Allegro of the first movement: its melodic pattern is identical for its first four notes, and its rhythmic pattern for the first eight. There is also a modified representation of the melody from the second movement, thus connecting all three movements together. The movement's sonata rondo form includes a coda. The three rondo episodes are in E-flat major, A-flat major, and C major. The common use of sforzando creates a forceful effect.

Rondo: Allegro

The cantabile from this movement was used as the theme music for radio's most widely listened-to classical music program,[5][6] Adventures in Good Music, which aired nationally in the United States and in many other countries from 1970 to 2007. The theme was performed by Karl Haas, the program's host. Billy Joel used the cantabile as the melody for the chorus of his 1984 song, "This Night" from the album An Innocent Man.

The main theme of this movement opens nearly identically to an episode in the slow movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 14, K. 457.

The famous Adagio cantabile: first eight bars
About this sound Second movement  
MIDI rendition, 5:03 minutes, 12 KB

This movement exemplifies the expressive Adagio style of many slow movements in the classical period. The famous cantabile melody is played three times, always in A-flat major, separated by two modulating episodes; the movement is thus a simple rondo rather than the sonata form more common for movements of this seriousness. The first episode is set in F minor (relative minor of A-flat major), further modulating to E-flat major before returning to the main theme. The second episode begins in A-flat minor and modulates 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. There is a brief coda.

Adagio cantabile

Grave introduction: first four bars
About this sound First movement  
MIDI rendition, 6:57 minutes, 30 KB

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.

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.

(semihemidemisemiquavers). hundred twenty-eighth notes, with ideas from the opening allegro, closes the section. Some performers of the sonata include the introduction in the repeat of the exposition (Rudolf Serkin and András Schiff, for example), but most return to the beginning of the allegro section. This movement is one of the few compositions that contain codetta with tremolo. A Alberti-type figuration for the bass, and features an E-flat major, mediant to the modulated and crossed hands. Theme 3 has grace notes. This theme is more lyrical and makes use of parallel major rather than its customary E-flat minor octaves in the left hand. Beethoven then makes use of unorthodox mode-mixture, as he presents the second theme in tremolo, accompanied with constant octaves theme covering two rocket of C minor and features three themes. Theme 1 features an aggressive key) in the home alla breve time (2

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.