|Ludwig van Beethoven opus 101|
Piano Sonata No. 28 in A majorPiano Sonata in A major. 1816. Time: 18'00.
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Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, was written in 1816 and was dedicated to the pianist Baroness Dorothea Ertmann. This piano sonata runs for about 20 minutes and consists of four movements:
The Piano Sonata No. 28, Op. 101 is the second of the series of Beethoven's "Late Period" sonatas, when his music moved in a new direction toward a more personal, more intimate, sometimes even an introspective, realm of freedom and fantasy. In this period he had achieved a complete mastery of form, texture and tonality and was subverting the very conventions he had mastered to create works of remarkable profundity and beauty. It is also characteristic of these late works to incorporate contrapuntal techniques (e.g. canon and fugue) into the sonata form.
Beethoven himself described this sonata, composed in the town of Baden, just south of Vienna, during the summer of 1816, as "a series of impressions and reveries." The more intimate nature of the late sonatas probably has some connection with his deafness, which by this stage was almost total, isolating him from society so completely that his only means of communicating with friends and visitors was by means of a notebook.
For the first time Beethoven used the German term Hammerklavier to refer to the piano (although it was the next of his sonatas, Op. 106, that became widely known as the Hammerklavier sonata).
This was the only one of his 32 sonatas that Beethoven ever saw played publicly; this was in 1816, and the performer was a bank official and musical dilettante.
The tempo marking for the opening movement, Etwas Lebhaft und mit innigsten Empfindung is roughly translated as "rather lively and with the warmest feeling," a marking which seeks to convey something of the romantic, elegiac aura of this opening movement. The adoption of this more subjective, personalised marking breaks away from the conventional tempo markings and demands a more intuitive engagement between the performer and the music, which would have been especially important to Beethoven as the interpretation of his music was left in the hands of the performers of the day because of his deafness.
The coda draws to an end with the beautiful, meditative melodies in the middle register supported by an embellishment of the E major chord (in the higher register) which creates a delicate, ponderous resonance.
The second movement takes the form of a vigorous romantic march characterized by a daring, formidable and clamorous network of dotted rhythms and harmonic dislocation. The effect can be disconcerting, alternating between static and accelerando and fusing seemingly distant and irrational musical motives. Erratic dynamics reinforce the eccentric rhythmic and contrapuntal forces. The opening voice-leading, tonal progressions and hypermetric patterns provide the model for the duration of the A-section.
Third and fourth movements
The third movement acts as a bit of an introduction to the fourth movement, perhaps akin to the nearly static "Introduzione" middle movement of the Waldstein, Sonata No. 21. Strikingly, the opening melody of the first movement is recalled just as the third movement nears its conclusion. Downward arpeggios accelerate upward, then trills move upward. The concluding fugue of the fourth movement leaps forth mit Entschlossenheit.
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