Violin Sonata No. 4 (Beethoven)

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Beethoven portrait by Carl Traugott Riedel from 1801.
Count Moritz von Fries, dedicatee of the violin sonatas op.23 and 24, with his wife ( Jean-Laurent Mosnier , approx. 1801)

The Violin Sonata No. 4 in A minor, Op. 23 is a sonata for violin and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven .


Violin Sonata No. 4 was written in 1800/1801 at the same time as Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24 , the "Spring Sonata", composed in 1801 . Like this, the sonata op. 23 is dedicated to Moritz Reichsgraf von Fries .

To the music

The violin sonata op. 23, with its dramatic mood, forms a contrast to the cheerful “Spring Sonata” that was written at the same time. With both works, Beethoven finally leaves the level of casual music that up until then was accustomed to violin sonatas.

1st movement: Presto

The first movement is of an extended implementation embossed, with 92 clocks the 71 clocks long exposure exceeds. She processes the main theme and the two motifs of transition. A revision of the main theme is heard in place of the expected recapitulation and again in the coda .

2nd movement: Andante scherzoso più allegretto

The Andante scherzoso più allegretto , laid out in the form of a sonata movement , only gains metric stability from the violin starting from bar 8. The transition is designed as a counterpoint .

3rd movement: Allegro molto

The finale is characterized by the same drama as the first movement. The three couplets of the movement are followed by a sentence ending, which musicologist Peter Cahn regards as an extended coda. Shortly before the movement is finally completed, the three couplets begin again.

The composer's sketches show that Beethoven worked out three drafts for the end of the sonata until he decided on the present, unconventional version.


Initially, both sonatas were published under the common opus number 23. The division between opus numbers 23 and 24 was presumably made when the violin part of the “Spring Sonata” was printed in landscape format instead of in the usual portrait format.

While both sonatas were still being published under the common opus number 23, the Allgemeine Musikische Zeitung certified both works that they were not "just a little spiced with a fleeting, new idea" and wrote:

"Rec. counts them among the best that B. has written, and that really means, among the best that are being written right now. "

- Allgemeine Musikische Zeitung ”, October 1801

Today the Violin Sonata op. 23 stands in the shadow of the “Spring Sonata”.


supporting documents

further reading

  • Peter Cahn : Violin Sonata in A minor, Op. 23 , in: Interpretations 1994 , Volume 1, pp. 190–196

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Peter Cahn : Violin Sonata in A minor, Op. 23 , in: Interpretations 1994 , Volume 1, p. 196