BEETHOVEN'S PIANO SONATAS
SONATA N0. 19, OP. 49/1
ON ITS MUSICAL CONTENT




In our look at the musical content of this sonata we follow the pattern indicated in our introductory comments on music criticism offered here.  This pattern offers you comments in the following sequence: 


 MUSCIOLOGISTS AND BEETHOVEN RESEARCHERS

ACTIVE MUSIC CRITICS

ACTIVE, PERFORMING ARTISTS


Each category can be directly accessed by clicking on the above links.  Therefore, if you prefer one kind of comment(s) over another, you can make your own selection. 


MUSCOLOGISTS AND BEETHOVEN RESEARCHERS


Unfortunately, we could not find a suitable comment for this category. 

 

ACTIVE MUSIC CRITICS

Joachim Kaiser discusses Op. 49, No. 1, as follows:  

"Die beiden zweisätzigen Werke Opus 49 sind der klavierspielenden Welt geläufig, weil Anfänger sich mit diesen als >>Leichte Sonaten<< bezeichneten Stücken den Eintritt in den heiligen Bezirk zu verdienen hoffen.  Obschon früher entstanden, stehen die Leichten Sonaten in den Ausgaben zwischen Sturm-Sonate und Waldstein-Sonate.  Wer aus dieser Perspektive auf die beiden Mini-Werke blickt, wird ein Lächeln nicht unterdrücken können.

Opus 49 Nr. 1 indessen auch >>lächelnd<< zu spielen, besteht kein Anlaß.  Ein Kind, das die empfindsamen Bewegungen des Andante und die verbissenen des Rondos hingebungsvoll übertreibt, verhält sich immer noch angemessener als ein >>Meister<<, der hier arrogant Überlegenheit bekundet:  Einstein, das Kleine Einmaleins aufsagend.

Doch für derlei Demonstrationen ist Opus 49 Nr. 1 zu schade.  Weder aus allzu brillanter Höhe noch mit tiefschürfendem Drücker will die leichte g-Moll-Sonate dargestellt werden.  Das Andante mit seinen Mozart-Anspielungen ist ein früher Beleg für Beethovens Kunst, Motive logisch abwechslungsreich zu entwickeln.  Diese Tendenz, nah bei der Sache zu bleiben und sich auf eine Gestalt zu konzentrieren, wird auch im Rondo ohne Pedanterie verfolgt.  Trotz aller Leichtigkeit wirkt das Stück nie beliebig oder harmlos-redselig.  Keine aufgeplusterte Banalität, keine leeren Stellen.  Die Sonate übernimmt sich nicht und vergibt sich nichts" (Kaiser: 344; --

-- Kaiser states that the two-movement sonatas, Op. 49, No. 1 and No. 2, are known to piano players since beginners hope to enter the holy realm with these >>easy<< sonatas, and, although they have been written earlier, they found their place between the >>Tempest<< sonata and the >>Waldstein<< Sonata and, if one looks at these mini works from this perspective, one might not be able to suppress a chuckle.  

However, contends Kaiser, Op. 49, No. 1 should not be taken lightly and he states that a child that enthusiastically overdoes his or her rendition of the sensitive motion of the Andante is acting more suitably than a >>master<< who arrogantly proclaims his superiority as if he were Einstein, performing simple multiplications.  

Kaiser thinks that for such >>demonstrations<<, Op. 49, No. 1, is too good and that it should neither be rendered from the perspective of overly brilliant heights nor from that of profoundness, as the Andante, with its hints at Mozart is an early proof of Beethoven's skill of developing motifs logically and without boredom.  This tendency of sticking close to the subject and to concentrate on one idea is also followed in the Rondo, yet without academic boredom, and in spite of all lightness, this piece never leaves the impression of being all too coincidental or harmlessly chatty, and it does not contain any overblown triviality and no empty passages, as it does not take on more than it can handle and thus also stays within rhyme and reason).


ACTIVE, PERFORMING ARTISTS

Anton Kuerti's view of these sonatas, from that of a professional pianist, is more "Einstein"-like:  

To start with, he is of the opinion that those two sonatas should not have been placed among the 32 piano sonatas by Beethoven, save for the fact that 32 is a "round figure".  Kuerti writes that external and internal evidence would suggest that these sonatas have been written very early, probably before the sonatas, Op. 2.  Such an indication is, for example, the complete absence of dynamic markings which are very important for Beethoven's style.  Beethoven's brother Kaspar, writes Kuerti, has offered these sonatas to a publisher without his brother's consent, what Kuerti describes as a further sample of the arguments between these brothers.  

Andante

Kuerti describes this g-minor Sonata as the better of the two sonatas, and particularly in the first movement, in which the major and minor key are balanced very well and treated with subtlety, and which also ends very delicately. 

Rondo: Allegro

Kuerti describes the second movement as hovering at the border of the charming and the strenuous, and, although this movement is actually supposed to be "easy", very different moods are expressed in it, starting with the brash, short introduction and ending with the unexpected tenderness of the coda.   (Kuerti: 42).

Here, we offer you a chance to listen to a midi file of this sonata, via the following link: 

Kunst der Fuge: Beethoven-Sonatas

We wish you a great deal of listening enjoyment!

For those of you who want to explore this topic further in a serious manner, we can offer you a link to the Beethoven Bibliography Data Base of the Ira Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies in San Jose, California:


Opus 49/1 - Search