Violin Sonata No. 10 (Beethoven)

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The Violin Sonata no. 10 in G major, Op. 96 is a sonata for violin and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven .


Beethoven wrote the violin sonata No. 10, his last composition for this type of work, in 1812 for the violinist Pierre Rode , who had come to Vienna in the same year. Beethoven adapted the work to Rode's playful abilities. The sonata may have been revised in 1815 before it was published.

To the music

1st movement: Allegro moderato

The first movement, which echoes the main theme of Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto , begins with a theme that is first heard individually in violin and piano parts and then in both together. The second theme is characterized by triplets and dotted rhythms, but still lyrical. The third theme of the movement is heard in the execution of the sentence and is also accompanied by triplets. At the end of the performance, the music comes to a standstill for a brief moment. After the recapitulation , the opening theme of the movement takes center stage in a detailed coda .

Based on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , the first movement of the sonata contains numerous motifs. With his character of the interplay between violin and piano, he possibly also inspired the E flat major trio by Franz Schubert , who admired this violin sonata for this reason.

2nd movement: Adagio espressivo

The Adagio, conceived as a three-part song, begins with a theme consisting of two phrases, the repetition of which piano and violin swap roles, which Hans Eppstein called the "dialogical principle". The second part extends from bar 21 to the cadenza of the violin leading to the recapitulation. In the coda, the movement ends with an E flat major chord, which leads to the D major chord of the following Scherzo with an E flat G C sharp sound.

3rd movement: Scherzo. Allegro

The Scherzo begins with a D major chord prepared by an E flat major chord from the preceding, transitional Adagio. A similar transition can be found, for example, between the third and fourth movements of Beethoven's Piano Trio in B flat major, Op. 97, composed in 1811 .

The beginning of the 32-bar movement, which is overemphasized in the syncopation , is juxtaposed with a song-like G major trio.

4th movement: Poco Allegretto - Adagio espressivo - Tempo I - Allegro - Poco Adagio - Presto

The first two bars of Jobsen's song from the Singspiel The funny shoemaker or the devil is going part II by Johann Georg Standfuß and Johann Adam Hiller form the nucleus for the finale of the sonata, a set of variations in G major. From the theme there is a transition from F sharp major to B major to the variations. The central fifth variation takes on the character of a cadence due to its numerous thirty-second runs and has a pensive undertone in its chromatics before the movement ends in the multi-part ending from bar 221 with the relaxed theme.

The movement was created after Beethoven had heard the violinist Pierre Rode for the first time. After Beethoven's abilities had made a rather moderate impression, the composer decided to forego brilliance in the fourth movement of his sonata and instead wrote a cheerful, easy finale. In the opinion of the violinist Joseph Szigeti , however, Beethoven's remark that “rushing passages” in the finale would not appeal to Rode was meant ironically, “because the last variation of the supposedly esoteric work is certainly of a rousing swing - a certain climax of this mature earthly and cheerful series of variations, the core of which is the Adagio Variation, a cantable, contemplative dialogue between the two instruments that has not yet been encountered in the violin sonata genre. The two passages in the end - the daring ascent of the violin up to high D and the subsequent passage of the piano - "tolerated in any case poorly with the intent to want to avoid this time the 'stile molto concertante." .

The scheme of this movement with regard to the use of time signature and key as well as folk music characteristics can already be found in the finale of Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 8 in G major Op. 30 No. 3 . As musicologist Peter Cahn noted, the finale of Op. 96 also contains parallels to Beethoven's Piano Trio No. 11, Opus 121a, composed in 1803 (variations on "Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu" by Wenzel Müller ).


The first private performance of the violin sonata took place in December 1812 in the house of Prince Franz Joseph Maximilian von Lobkowitz . Pierre Rode was the violin soloist, while Archduke Rudolph , Beethoven's student and dedicatee of the sonata, took over the piano part. The first public performance followed on January 7, 1813, also with Pierre Rode and Archduke Rudolph as soloists.

Even after the private performance in the Lobkowitz house, Beethoven was not very enthusiastic about Rode's performance, as he informed the Archduke: »I didn't rush to the last piece so much for the sake of punctuality. Since I had to write this more carefully with regard to the play by Rode, we like to have rushing passages in our finals, but this R doesn’t say yes, and - give me something - by the way, everything will go well on Tuesday « .

The composition was published - possibly in a revised form - in July 1816 by the Viennese publisher Tobias Haslinger . The " Allgemeine Musikische Zeitung " wrote about the work in 1817:

“The violin is by all means obligatory, in such a way that you can hardly make sense of individual lines from the piano part alone. Both voices are not only splendidly connected, but also, when they come together, each one of significant effectiveness. "

As the music critic Paul Bekker , who described the sonata op. 96 among Beethoven's violin sonatas as the "most poetic, musically subtly worked out" , the violinist Carl Flesch also considered the sonata to be Beethoven's most successful when he wrote:

“If, among the Beethoven violin sonatas, Op. 24, Op. 30, No. 2, and Op. 47, one singles out as those who enjoy the audience most, then Op. 96 is the most perfect work of the whole series. "

- Carl Flesch : Carl Flesch: The Art of Violin Playing , 2 volumes, Berlin, 1928, p. 171


supporting documents

  • Booklet accompanying the CD box set Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms - Violin Sonatas. Deutsche Grammophon Production (Universal), 2003.
  • Harenberg cultural guide chamber music. Brockhaus, Mannheim 2008, ISBN 978-3-411-07093-0 .
  • Jürgen Heidrich: Violin Sonatas. In: Beethoven manual. Bärenreiter, Kassel 2009, ISBN 978-3-476-02153-3 , pp. 466-475.
  • Lewis Lockwood : Beethoven: His Music - His Life. Bärenreiter / Metzler, Kassel / Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-476-02231-8 , p. 242f.

further reading

  • Sieghard Brandenburg , Remarks on Beethoven's Op. 96. In: Beethoven-Jahrbuch 9 (1973/1977), pp. 11-26.
  • Peter Cahn : Violin Sonata in G major op. 96. In: A. Riethmüller, C. Dahlhaus ,. A. Ringer (Ed.): Beethoven. Interpretations of his works. Volume 2. Laaber 1994, pp. 86-92.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Sieghard Brandenburg : Remarks on Beethoven's Op. 96 , in: BJ 9 (1973/77), pp. 11-26
  2. Booklet accompanying the CD box set Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms - Violin Sonatas. Deutsche Grammophon Production (Universal), 2003., p. 32
  3. ^ Martin Gustav Nottebohm : Beethoveniana. Articles and reports , Leipzig 1872, p. 30
  4. Peter Cahn : Violin Sonata in G major op. 96 , in: Interpretations 1994 , Volume 2, p. 91f.
  5. Beethoven to Archduke Rudolph , shortly before December 29, 1812 (Ludwig van Beethoven, Correspondence . Complete edition, on behalf of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, edited by Sieghard Brandenburg, six volumes and one register volume, Munich 1996–1998, 2/606 , P. 302)