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Piano Sonata No.24 in F Sharp Major Op.78

Ludwig van Beethoven 1770-1827

Sonata No.24 in F Sharp Major, Op. 78

With the completion of the ‘Appassionata’ Sonata (Op.57) in 1806, Beethoven came to the end of a period that had witnessed the composition of a series of masterpieces for solo piano. He did not return to the medium for another three years, and when he did in 1809, it was to produce a work that is among the shortest, the most economical, and the loveliest of all his sonatas: the Sonata in F sharp major, Op. 78, which was published in Leipzig be Breitkopf and Härtel with a dedication to Countess Therese von Bruswick.

The first of its two movements opens with four-bar slow introduction: of the various short motifs that make up the main theme of the Allegro into which this leads, the broad opening theme (only four bars long) is by far the most important, though the semiquaver runs immediately following it are also much used throughout the exposition, development and recapitulation.

The second movement, which has the character of a mercurial scherzo, is in a cross between sonata form and rondo, its refrain being the terse (and harmonically ambiguous) theme with which it begins, and its episodes being based on the fluttering semiquavers (with their emphasis on repeated notes) that succeed it.

© Robin Golding

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