BEETHOVEN'S PIANO SONATAS
WOO 51 (in C Major)



Actually, from a chronologial viewpoint, this fragment should already be listed among and alongside Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas.  With respect to this work, Thayer reports:

"Another Bonnian product, which has come down to us as only a fragment, is the Sonata in C major for Pianoforte, published by Dunst in Frankfurt, with a dedication to Eleonore von Breuning. In a letter to her in 1794 he writes: "I have a great deal to do or I would have transcribed the sonata I promised you long ago; it is a mere sketch in manuscript. . . . " (19) {For full letter see page 163 below] Eleonore von Breuning received it from him in 1796. In the copy sent to the publisher eleven measures at the end of the Adagio were lacking. These were supplied by Ferdinand Ries in the manner of Beethoven. There can scarcely be a doubt that Beethoven finished the Adagio, and it can be assumed that he also composed a last movement, which has been lost" (Thayer: 125 - 126).

Our translation of the relevant passage in Beethoven's letter to Eleonore von Breuning reads as follows: 

"I have a lot to do, othewise, I would have copied the sonata for you that I had promised you a long time ago, in my manuscript, it is almost only a sketch, and it would have been difficult for the otherwise so skilled Paraquen to copy it" (translated from:  Schmidt, Beethoven=Briefe: 6).

Solomon has this to say with respect to this fragment: 

"The later, fragmentary Sonata in C, WoO 51, composed for Eleonore von Breuning, makes little attempt at thematic development; it is transparent and undemanding, with the lovely ornamental passagework of its Allegro reminiscent of the Italian style of Galuppi or Domenico Scarlatti. The graceful Adagio, however, recalls the early sonatas of the Viennese school" (Solomon: 46).

If we consider that Beethoven had intended this work for his Bonn friend Eleonore von Breuning, it is not surprising that this sonata is more "lovely" than "difficult". 

Why don't you form your own opinion about this little piece?  For this purpose, we offer you a link to a midi file.  When you reach the midi file website, you will find that the midi files are arranged by WoO numbers that are listed below each other to the right.  

Link to WoO 51

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:


WoO 51 - Search