Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op.2, No. 3
Although Beethoven wrote at least three sonatas during his
early years in Bonn, the fact that he did not give them opus numbers shows that he did not
consider them as part of the great series of 32 that began with the three sonatas
published in Vienna by Artaria as Op. 2 in March 1796 and dedicated to Haydn. These stand
out immediately as being on a much larger scale than their predecessors.
The third of the Op. 2 sonatas is in many ways the most
pianistically written of the three. The first movement, which is other wise in normal
sonata form (with a second subject in G minor that Beethoven took form the first movement
of a Piano Quartet in C major composed in Bonn in 1875), bursts out into a string of
arpeggios up and down the keyboard immediately after the first theme has been announced,
and with a short written-out cadenza included in the coda.
The Adagio is a kind of slow rondo, with a refrain
in E major and a more animated episode, with much hand-crossing, in E minor, which
reappears in E major after the second statement of the refrain and after a dramatic
remainder of the sonatas basic key. Next comes the second of Beethovens sonata
scherzos (Op. 2, No.1 has a Minuet): a playfully contrapuntal movement with a surging Trio
in A minor and a coda. The finale is another rondo, with a humorous theme in ascending
triads as its refrain and with two contrasting episodes: the first beginning with a
strongly accented theme in G major (moving to G minor) and the second a gentle, arching
theme in F major. The movement ends with a cadenza-like coda based on the refrain.
© Robin Golding