All About Ludwig van Beethoven

Information on Beethoven, his life, his music and classical sheet music

Best 5 Beethoven Books on Amazon

1.Beethoven: The Universal Composer by Edmund Morris

2.Beethoven by Maynard Solomon

3.Beethoven: The Music and the Life by Lewis Lockwood

4.Late Beethoven: Music, Thought, Imagination by Maynard Solomon

5.Beethoven as I Knew Him by Anton Felix Schindler

Classical Sheet Music Downloads at Virtual Sheet Music

Beethoven's Sonatas for Cello and Piano

A Step Forward

Beethoven was the first great composer of cello sonatas, and he remained really the only one until Brahms wrote two at the end of the last century, and then in our own time Martinu wrote three. Aside from a few individual works by other composers (Grieg, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Barber, and Britten), that about sums up the entire repertoire for this particular combination. It's a difficult medium, because the low notes of the cello tend to get covered by the bass of the piano, and balance between the two instruments is always precarious. - David Hurwitz

The sonata for cello and piano is approached before the sonata for violin and is then continued after the closure of the violin sonata cycle. Beethoven wrote five sonatas for cello and piano:

  1. Sonata in F major no. 1, op. 5
  2. Sonata in G minor no. 2, op. 5
  3. Sonata in A major no. 3, op. 69
  4. Sonata in C major no. 4, op. 102
  5. Sonata in D major no. 5, op. 102

Hence, in the beginning of 1796 he composes the Sonatas for cello and piano, op. 5, in Berlin, which have a distinct succession as such: the first movement is slow, followed by two more rapid movements, where the cello is treated like an equal instrument with the piano.

Sonata in A major no.3, op. 69, dedicated to baron Gleichenstein and composed in 1808, is the most popular and at the same time the most loved cello sonata of the composer’s work. This is explainable through the diversity of the thematic material and the improvisational character of the themes. The sonata was first performed in 1812 by Czerny and Linke and was later presented at the concert held in 1927 at the Paris Opera by Alfred Cortot and Pablo Casals.

The sonatas for cello and piano op. 102 composed in 1815, realize the transition towards the great string quartets, bringing great change in the field of structure, even though apparently it only looks like a return to the baroque. Through the title given by Beethoven to the Sonata in C major op. 102, no. 1, Freie Sonate (the Free Sonata) he declares the freedom of expression in a deeply romantic sense.

Read more about Beethoven's music

  • Beethoven Symphonies - Each of the nine Beethoven symphonies analyzed.
  • The piano sonatas - Analysis of the sonata form and the most important Beethoven Piano Sonatas.
  • Trios - General discussion regarding Beethoven's trios for various instruments and ensembles.
  • Sonatas for Violin and Piano - Overview of Beethoven's ten sonatas for violin and piano.
  • String Quartets - Brief analysis of Beethoven's seventeen string quartets.
  • The Opera "Fidelio" - The background, subject and influences of Beethoven's only opera.
  • The Concertos - Beethoven's five piano concertos, his violin concerto and triple concerto analyzed.
  • The Overtures - Brief overview of some of the most important Beethoven overtures.