Beethoven and the Classical and Romantic Periods Essay

Beethoven and the Classical and Romantic Periods Essay

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Out of all of Beethoven’s one hundred and ten works, he wrote thirty-two piano sonatas. Of those thirty-two piano sonatas, the thirty-first piano sonata was one of the most important and was composed in the year 1821towards the end of Beethoven’s life. It is one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s final sonatas for the piano, given the full name: Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major, op. 110. I am writing about a video performance – found on YouTube – by Richard Goode in 1993. The performance piece is a sonata which is defined by Kerman as “a chamber-music piece in several movements” (Kerman, 427)
The thirty-first sonata came to be in an interesting way. Moritz Schlesinger, in the summer of 1819, had made a request to Ludwig van Beethoven. Schlesinger was in search of some music and thought that Beethoven would be perfect for the job. He asked Beethoven to compose the desired music for him and would pay Beethoven in return. The two agreed in the May of 1820 that Beethoven would write twenty-five songs and three sonatas for Schlesinger at the cumulative price of one hundred and fifty ducats. Beethoven quickly finished the songs and made them available to his commissioner. He then began work on the three sonatas when he suddenly came under attack by a disease known as jaundice. This delayed the finishing of the three sonatas which later became well-known as the final sonatas – some of the last works of Beethoven. All three were completed and sent to Schlesinger by the end of 1822.
The thirty-first sonata is broken up into three separate movements. The first movement starts at 0:00 in the video – the very beginning. This movement is marked moderato because it is playing at a moderate speed (it is not too fast but not too slow). It beg...


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...ten. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012. Print.
Miller, Carole B. "The Classical Period." MostlyWind. Mostly Wind, n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2014. .
Miller, Carole B. "The Romantic Period." MostlyWind. Mostly Wind, n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2014. .
MrPalika123. “Beethoven - Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major, Op. 110 (Richard Goode).” YouTube. 26 May 2012. Web. 28 Jan. 2014. .
Rosen, Charles. Beethoven's Piano Sonatas: A Short Companion. New Haven: Yale UP, 2002. Print.
Shotwell, C. M. "Music Traits of the Romantic Period." Augusta State University. Augusta State University, Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. .
Steen, Michael. The Lives and Times of the Great Composers. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. Print.

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