ClassicalScores

Allegretto, third movement from Piano Sonata No. 17, Op. 31/2

Wilhelm Kempff, piano (Live)

The Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2, was composed in 1801/02 by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is usually referred to as “The Tempest” (or Der Sturm in his native German), but this title was not given by him, or indeed referred to as such during his lifetime; instead, it comes from a claim by his associate Anton Schindler that the sonata was inspired by the Shakespeare play. However, much of Schindler’s information is distrusted by classical music scholars. Renowned British music scholar, Donald Francis Tovey, in his authoritative book A Companion to Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas, states that “The story that Beethoven connected this sonata with The Tempest is evidently one of many such inventions by his biographer Anton Schindler”. The third movement, in the key of D minor, is very moving, first flowing with emotion and then reaching a climax, before moving into an extended development section which mainly focuses on the opening figure of the movement, reaching a climax at measures 169-173. The recapitulation is preceded by an extensive cadenza-like passage of sixteenth notes for the right hand and the coda which follows is quite substantial, reaching what can be considered the climax of the movement at measure 381, a fortissimo falling chromatic scale.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

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Piano Sonata No. 2 (Chopin)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Frédéric Chopin composed his Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 mainly in 1839 at Nohant near Chateauroux in France, although the third movement, which comprises the funeral march had been composed as early as 1837.

The sonata consists of four movements. 1. Grave; Doppio movimento
2. Scherzo
3. Marche funèbre: Lento
4. Finale: Presto

The first movement features a stormy opening theme and a gently lyrical second theme. The second movement is a virtuoso scherzo with a more relaxed melodic central section. The third movement begins and ends with the celebrated funeral march in B flat minor which gives the sonata its nickname, but has a calm interlude in D flat major. The finale contains a whirlwind of unison notes with unremitting (not a single rest or chord until the final bars) unvarying tempo or dynamics (changes of volume); James Huneker, in his introduction to the American version of Mikuli edition of the Sonatas, quotes Chopin as saying “The left hand unisono with the right hand are gossiping after the March”. Others[weasel words] have remarked that the fourth movement is “wind howling around the gravestones”.[citation needed]

The Sonata confused contemporary critics who found it lacked cohesion. Robert Schumann suggested that Chopin had in this sonata “simply bound together four of his most unruly children.” (See Schirmer’s modern reprint of the Mikuli edition)