L. V. BEETHOVEN: SONATA N. 3 OP. 69 FOR CELLO AND PIANO.

‚≠ź BEETHOVEN PROJECT ‚≠ź

Ludwig van Beethoven’s¬†Cello Sonata No. 3 in¬†A major,¬†Op.¬†69¬†was written in¬†1808, during¬†his middle period. The sonata was composed in the same year as the¬†Piano Trios Op. 70¬†and the¬†Choral Fantasy, and the same year the¬†Fifth¬†and¬†Sixth¬†Symphonies, which were begun earlier, premiered.¬†It was first performed in March 1809 by cellist¬†Nikolaus Kraft¬†and pianist¬†Dorothea von Ertmann, and dedicated to Baron¬†Ignaz von Gleichenstein, who was a cellist himself.

If you click on the caption of the photo depicting Rostopovich on the cello and Richter on the piano you can listen to the video of their live performance now entered in the history of musical interpretation that you can find on my YouTube channel.

‚ě°ÔłŹM. ROSTROPOVICH, CELLO
S. RICHTER, PIANO.

In the course of his life, Beethoven composed five sonatas for cello and piano. The Op. 69 was the first he had written since¬†his Op. 5¬†over a decade earlier.¬†Mark Kaplan¬†writes: “In general, the writing in op. 69 is thinner than in the early cello sonatas … greater compositional technique allowed Beethoven the possibility of using fewer notes with confidence.”¬†The contemporary cellist¬†Steven Isserlis¬†describes it as the first cello sonata in history to give the two instruments equal importance.

Frontispiece of the Breikopf & Hartel Edition


The work contains three movements, with an 18-bar slow introduction before the third movement:

Allegro ma non tanto

Scherzo. Allegro molto (in A minor)

Adagio cantabile ‚Äď Allegro vivace.

The first movement opens with an expansive melody with cello, as follows:

I movement with an expressive melody of cello

The piano then plays a cadenza-like flourish, which leads into a repetition of the opening theme, this time played in octaves by the piano. A bridge passage follows, leading to a second theme, which is also repeated. The development gives greater emphasis to the first theme. The movement is in sonata form.

The scherzo which follows is in the tonic minor, A minor, and makes prominent use of off-beat accents. The trio is in the major and is heard twice.

Scherzo

The slow introduction to the finale is in 2/4 time and the dominant key, E major. The finale is in sonata form and ends with an expressive coda

Adagio to introduce the finale
Finale

Great recorders of the history.

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