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Piano Sonata No.19 in G Minor Op.49 No.1

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Piano Sonata No.19 in G Minor Op.49 No.1

Piano Sonata No.20 in G Major Op.49 No.2

The two little sonatas Beethoven published in January 1805 as Op.49 are much earlier works than their relatively advanced opus number suggests. The first of them, in G minor, probably dates from 1798, while the second, in G major, may well have been finished two years earlier. The sonatas were offered to the Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie in Vienna, which issued them as "Deux Sonates faciles", by Beethoven's brother Karl Kaspar, without the composer's consent, and to his considerable anger - though it is hard to see why he was reluctant to claim the credit for two of the most charming sonatinas ever written.

Only the first movement of No.1, a sonata-form Andante, is in G minor; the concluding rondo is in G major, but the key of the first movement is touched on twice during the first episode. The G major Sonata begins with an Allegro in miniature sonata form, and ends with a Tempo di Minuetto, whose material Beethoven later adapted (in 1800) for the third movement of his Septet, Op.20.

Robin Golding

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