Program Notes for Beethoven's Waldstein Thesis
Excerpt from Thesis :
The Waldstein sonata is considered to be one of the notable piano sonatas that Beethoven ever composed, maybe equaled only by the Appassionata sonata. They are both part of the works between op. 50 and op. 60 that, through their content, form and proportions represent the height of Beethoven's creation" ("Waldstein," All about Beethoven, 2006). The first movement entitled "Allegro con brio" opens "with repeated chords, played pianissimo. This initial straightforward, but anxious rhythm is devoid of melody for two bars. It then swiftly ascends and follows with a three-note descent in the middle register and a four-note descent in the upper. More of this teasing rhythm rumbles forward, until 45 seconds later, when the notes seem to almost stumble over themselves," into a "dolce," or sweet choral theme in E major, followed by an ending with a heavy coda ("Piano Sonata No 21," All academic dictionary, 2009).. The short second section "Introduzione Adagio molto -- attacca" is more of an introduction to the third movement in 6/8 time than a complete movement in
and of itself. The third, "Rondo Allegretto moderato" alternates sweetness with staccato before it unexpectedly segues "into the Prestissimo coda, a wondrous section that plays with the various themes of the movement and more before ending in a triumphant rush of grandeur" ("Piano Sonata No 21," All academic dictionary, 2009).
Even the longer first and third sections are only eleven minutes each, but each contain a passion play -- the first is a hopeful, tremulous, almost birdlike song, followed by the collage of passionate sounds of the third. The sonata contains seismic shifts of rhythm and tone. Yet it suggests a sweeping torrent of complex human emotions in a way that marks its composer as a true Romantic.
Parekh, Nilesh. "Biography of Beethoven." Buzzle.com. 2005.
"Piano Sonata No 21." All academic dictionary. May 17, 2009.
"Sonata." All About Beethoven. 2006. May 17, 2009.
"Waldstein Piano Sonata No 21 in C Major Op. 53." All About Beethoven. 2006. May 17, 2009…
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