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Ludwig van Beethoven   opus 90

Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor

Piano Sonata in E minor. 1814. Time: 14'00.
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The Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor is Ludwig van Beethoven's Op. 90. The work, written in the summer of 1814 in Beethoven's late Middle period, was dedicated to Count Moritz von Lichnowsky.

Unlike a typical sonata, this piece consists of only two movements:

  1. Mit Lebhaftigkeit und durchaus mit Empfindung und Ausdruck (With liveliness and with feeling and expression throughout)
  2. Nicht zu geschwind und sehr singbar vorgetragen (Not too swiftly and conveyed in a singing manner) (cantabile)

The first movement is written in a 3/4 tempo, sounding mysteriously agitated and restless, described by Beethoven as 'a contest between the head and heart'. The second movement, a rondo in the tonic major, however, quiets down into a beautiful melody with a 2/4 rhythm. The two contrasting movements suggest an agitated situation calmed by restful contentness. Notably, Beethoven uses German tempo marks for both movements.

English composer Bramwell Tovey characterized the movement as one 'full of passionate and lonely energy'. This contrasting gesticulation of emotion is especially evident in the piece's discernible dialogical form, where the head exposes an idea which is thereafter disputed by the heart.

Head and Heart

The entire piece entertains this form and elevates to noticeable climaxes, where one of the two aspects (i.e. head or heart) erupts into intimated expression that is subject to interpretation but is clearly pertinent to the composer's intention and perception of the sonata. The head, which opens the piece, can be viewed as the bold, firm, definite melody that sets the mood and key and is fortified by block chords and one that exudes impregnable resolution, whereas the lighter, more poignant ruminations echo the heart's desire to break free of cerebral constraint. The descending scalic passages are a mixture of the two aspects, though the dogma of head likely shines through in bars 45-54.


External links

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Piano_Sonata_No._27_(Beethoven)". Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.

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