- Piano Sonata No. 12 (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethovencomposed his Piano Sonata No. 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 in 1800– 1801, around the same time as he completed his First Symphony. He dedicated the sonata to Prince Karl von Lichnowsky, who had been his patron since 1792.
Consisting of four movements, the sonata takes around 20 minutes to perform.
#"Andante con variazioni"
#"Scherzo, allegro molto"
#"Maestoso andante, marcia funebre sulla morte d'un eroe"
The structure of the sonata is unconventional in that the piece opens with a relatively slow movement in the format of theme and variations. In contrast, the remaining movements of the sonata proceed according to classical principles in fast-slow-fast alternation. The third movement of this sonata incorporates a
funeral march, clearly anticipating the watershed of the Eroica Symphony that Beethoven wrote the following year. One can only speculate upon the identity of the hero to whom Beethoven's funeral marches were addressed.
In Schubert's Impromptu in A-flat major, Op. 142 No. 2, the main theme is strikingly similar to the theme in the first movement of Beethoven's sonata. The four-bar phrases that open these pieces are almost identical in most musical aspects: key, harmony, voicing, register, and basic as well as harmonic rhythm. Another less immediate connection exists with the main theme, also in A-flat major, of the "Adagio" movement in Schubert's piano sonata in C minor, D. 958. Indeed, Schubert may have borrowed these themes from Beethoven, as he often did in his compositions.
This sonata was greatly admired by Chopin, who repeated its basic sequence of scherzo, funeral march with trio, and animated, resolving finale, in his own piano sonata in B-flat minor [see Wayne C. Petty's article, Chopin and the ghost of Beethoven, "19-Century Music" XXII/3, 1999, pp. 281-299; see also Rosen, p. 150.] . His first movement, however, is also animated and in sonata form, unlike Beethoven's "Andante con variazioni".
This particular piece was used widely in the 2007 film "Joshua".
*Rosen, Charles, "Beethoven's Piano Sonatas - A Short Companion", 2002, Yale University Press, pp. 150-152.
* For a public domain recording of this sonata visit [http://musopen.com Musopen]
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