Violin Sonata No. 1 (Beethoven)

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The Violin Sonata No. 1 in D major, Op. 12 No. 1 is a sonata for violin and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven .


The violin sonatas op. 12 were written in 1797 and 1798. Beethoven dedicated the sonatas published in 1798 under the title “Tre Sonate per il Clavicembalo o Forte-Piano con un Violino” to his teacher Antonio Salieri (possibly with the hope of furthering his career through his teacher).

To the music

Beethoven had been familiar with the violin since his time in the Bonn court orchestra, where he played the violin, and continued to refine it after he moved to Vienna . As early as 170/92 he composed a sonata in A major (Hess 46) that had remained a fragment and the Rondo in G major WoO 41 , with the secondary theme developing into the counterpoint of the main theme. In his violin sonatas, Beethoven continued on the path taken by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart . In his violin sonatas he had begun to develop the violin, which before Mozart had only an accompanying function in the sonatas by Johann Schobert and Johann Christian Bach , to become an equal partner of the piano.

Beethoven follows his model in the three-movement sonatas with an opening Allegro in sonata form and a final rondo . Beethoven's violin sonatas are characterized by the dialogue between piano and violin and differ from earlier works of the genre that were conceived as light music - with the terrified reactions of the audience - through the use of syncope and idiosyncratic modulations and rhythms .

1st movement: Allegro con brio

The figurative pattern of this movement points to Beethoven's 1798/99 String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 18.3 , which was also in D major .

The four-bar introduction with its broken D major triad echoes the E flat major triad that introduces the Variations WoO 46 . The eighth movements of the main theme are continued in the second theme, which does not begin in the dominant but in the double dominant . Further motifs are a descending scale and a four-bar group. At the end of the movement there is no coda , only the recapitulation .

2nd movement: Tema con Variazioni. Andante con moto

The theme, which comprises 32 bars, is followed by four variations and a coda.

3rd movement: Rondo. Allegro

Third movement (violin: Carrie Rehkopf)

The rondo, which is in 6/8 time, deviates from the usual scheme, so that musicologist Dieter Rexroth came to the conclusion that “Beethoven [...] in this movement interwoven the rondo form with the sonata form”. Beethoven achieved this u. a. by developing the topic and motivational work. The development-like section of the finale shares with F major the key of the development of the first movement.


The audience's shocked reaction to Beethoven's first violin sonatas - the dedicatee Antonio Salieri is said to have reacted in a strange way to the new style of music - is reflected in the review in the “ Allgemeine Musikischen Zeitung ”:

“It is undeniable, Herr von Beethoven goes his own way: but what a bizarre, arduous walk it is! Taught, taught and continually taught and no nature, no song [...] A reluctance to which one feels little interest, a search for rare modulations, a disgust for ordinary connections, an accumulation of difficulty upon difficulty that one feels You lose patience and joy. "

Composer Robert Schumann countered this when he wrote in 1836:

“Yes, it is in the course of nature and in the nature of things. Thirty-seven years have passed: the name Beethoven has unfolded like a heavenly sunflower, while the reviewer shrinks to a blunt nettle in an attic. "


supporting documents

further reading

  • Dieter Rexroth : 3 violin sonatas in D major, A major and E flat major op. 12. In: Interpretations 1994. Volume 1, pp. 83-89.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Lewis Lockwood : Beethoven: His Music - His Life. Metzler, 2009, ISBN 978-3-476-02231-8 , p. 76.
  2. Jurij Chopolow: Rondo in G major for piano and violin WoO 41. In: Interpretations 1994. Volume 2, p. 409.
  3. Dieter Rexroth: 3 Violin Sonatas in D major, A major and E flat major op.12. In: Interpretations 1994. Volume 1, p. 86.
  4. ^ Franz Gerhard Wegeler , Ferdinand Ries : Biographical Notes on Ludwig van Beethoven. Koblenz 1838. (Reprint with additions and explanations by Alfred C. Kalischer, Berlin and Leipzig 1906: Reprint Hildesheim etc., 1972, p. 10)