Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 2 no. 1 (Beethovens Werke, Serie XVI)

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Of all adagios in this metre, there are two for which Czerny appears to have had insider knowledge. The first of these is found in the second movement of the Piano Concerto op. Although both seem feasible speeds for this movement, the fact that Czerny played it several times in public makes it likely that his speed is probably a better estimation. For the Adagio sostenuto containing quavers and crotchets in the first movement of the Piano Sonata op. Very similar speeds are suggested for the second movement of the Violin Sonata op.

This Adagio cantabile movement, however, contains some semiquavers in the theme, but the most common note values are still crotchets and quavers. The first is the thirteenth variation of the Variations for Piano Trio op. Secondly, the Romanze op. Thirdly, the Song Das Liedchen von der Ruhe op.

Beethoven / Sviatoslav Richter, 1976: Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1 - Complete

The first is found in the second movement of the String Quartet op. Finally, the opening Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo of the String Quartet op. This seems unusually slow, and this speed would make it the slowest adagio in this metre discussed so far, despite the fact that the tempo indication and the range of note values suggest that it should be among the fastest.

The approximated intended speeds for adagios in this metre are summarized in Table 3. Furthermore, although the slowest adagio in the table is not quite half as slow as the fastest, it seems very likely that this is due to the fact that there is just a single slow adagio in this metre. The previous chapter demonstrated in Section 2. As seen in Table 3. This is not really the case: as Table 3. In fact, closer examination shows that the bottom two rows of Table 3.

Before moving on, however, it is worth examining what this means for the method employed in this thesis. Firstly, the method employed in this thesis could have given a false impression of the speeds in either or both metres, or the comparison between the two tables could have given a skewed image due to small differences in note values in the two pieces. A third alternative hypothesis is that Beethoven misconstrued the relationship between theory and practice, and that he was not aware that he was using both metres in a similar way. In other words, there may have been a difference between his musical intuition and his conscious knowledge of his own performance practice.

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It is hard to say with any certainty which of the last two explanations is more likely, and it is possible that both are true to varying degrees. In addition to adagios with the seven time signatures discussed above, there are a number of late works which use more experimental metres. Using these two principles, it should be possible to ascertain whether the adagios in rare time signatures are part of the same system, or whether they are used for different reasons. The adagios that will be discussed in this section are found in Table 3.

It is marked Adagio ma non troppo e molto cantabile, and contains single quavers and crotchets as most common note values, with no semiquavers appearing until the first variation. The other adagio with twelve beats in a bar is found in the third movement of the Piano Sonata op. On the other hand, the note values in the sonata are much smaller than those in the string quartet, which would suggest that the sonata might be slower than one would expect on the basis of the time signature.


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It seems possible that the presence of the semiquavers explains the difference in speed, or that both editors significantly underestimated the intended speed of this section. The last movement of the Piano Sonata op. Here, Czerny and Moscheles give speeds in the same range as those for op. Evidence from the autograph score suggests that Beethoven was struggling to find the right way to express what he had in mind, as it shows various changes of the tempo indication as well as the time signature in this movement, which could perhaps explain why Beethoven used this somewhat unusual metre.

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In a number of adagios, there is a sharp distinction between the range of notes values at the start, which are often relatively large, and those that occur later on, which are often much smaller. In these cases, the former seem to determine the tempo, rather than the latter. This raises the question whether these smaller note values are intended to be played in the same tempo as before, or that Beethoven expected a slight decrease in tempo to allow for a little more time in the execution of these faster notes. Beethoven 2. This is probably at least in part due to the transmission of these speeds: since the original document has yet to resurface—according to Holz it was placed in a library in St.

In addition, the way that Lenz chose to represent these speeds in the book, i. With the exception of the Cantata WoO 87, in which the term occurs in no less than three movements, all of the pieces in which largo appears involve a piano. Only a single Largo has a metronome mark by the composer, and editorial speeds by Czerny and Moscheles are given in brackets.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)

One uses this word to indicate the most common slow tempo that is appropriate for feelings that express themselves with a solemn slowness. For the composers it is the rule that a piece this slow has to be short, as it is not possible to sustain the concentration that is required for a long time. In both cases these note values appear quite near the beginning of the movement, although the figuration in op.

Compared to the adagios in the same metre, this raises an interesting issue, as there are no adagios with the same range of note values that have a metronome mark, either by the composer or by a contemporary. The Largo e mesto in the second movement of the Piano Sonata op.

Since neither editor has claimed insider knowledge about this work, it seems possible that they have interpreted the presence of the term mesto as meaning very slow, which, as seen in the discussion of the third movement of the String Quartet op. Not all largos, however, have suggested speeds slower than their adagio equivalents. The fifteenth variation of the Variations op. This suggestion is particularly surprising considering the fact that this variation contains demisemiquaver figurations from the second bar onwards, which, in the eighth bar, transforms into semihemidemisemiquaver figuration.

In the first bars, the note values in this movement range from crotchets in the strings to semiquavers in the piano, but demisemiquavers soon become the most common note value in the piano part. In general, the distribution and range of note values used is fairly similar to that in the Adagio espressivo second movement of the Violin Sonata op. This preliminary conclusion, however, needs to be presented with a substantial caveat: as with the other largos discussed so far neither editor has claimed any insider knowledge of the Violin Sonata op.

Both of these have crotchets and quavers at the beginning; in op.


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  5. The only metronome mark by Beethoven for a Largo is found in the fourth movement of the Piano Sonata op. This of course makes comparison with Adagios somewhat difficult, as Beethoven never explicitly indicated this time signature before or since the publication of op. Nevertheless, as Section 3. If anything, the comparison between these two movements suggests that adagio is slower than largo, as despite the fact that the Quartet is clearly a fast adagio and the Sonata is only a plain largo, both movements have a similar speed, which suggests that the ma non troppo is needed as compensation for the difference between adagio and largo.

    Given the uncertain and experimental nature of the time signatures in both pieces, however, it seems Barry Cooper, ed.


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    The last two largos in Table 3. The first of these, found in the first movement of the Piano Sonata op. Unfortunately, there are no metronome marks for those either. The one adagio that does have the same range of note values—the Romance op. Finally, the second movement of the Piano Concerto op. These speeds are similar to those for adagios in the same metre with the same range of note values, which, as Table 3. As the above discussion has shown, adagios with the same range of note values and the same time signature as largos have very similar speeds. In other words, Beethoven uses largo in sections in which the slow speed can already be explained by other factors, most commonly relatively small notes.

    As these note values appear to have an almost identical effect in adagios, the question becomes why Beethoven used the term largo in the first place, if adagio indicates the same tempo.

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    One possible answer can perhaps be found in the description by Koch quoted at the beginning of this section. The solemn expression that the term largo indicated might have been what Beethoven was looking for, in cases in which he thought that adagio did not quite communicate what he had in mind. Koch describes the term as follows: Going, or stepwise. With this expression a tempo is indicated that is between slow and fast.

    When this indication is not used for special character pieces that determine the manner of performance, such as overtures, marches, etc. Everything is moderate. In addition, Koch indicates that there are two different kinds of andante. This expression indicates that the piece in which it is used has to be performed lively and powerfully, and that the tempo should not drag. Given the rarity of plain andantes and the frequent occurrence of andante con moto, in essence this means that plain andantes are relatively slow andantes. Bagatelle op.

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    This movement contains note values that are overall one degree larger than those in the Fifth Symphony, but which are generally similarly distributed to those in the Fifth Symphony: quavers are clearly the most common note value at the beginning, and although some single dotted semiquavers followed by demisemiquavers do show up, they are far less common in this movement.

    The difference between the metronome marks for these two movements can therefore be reasonably attributed to the note values used in both andantes. Unlike the andantes in the two symphonies, the third andante with a metronome mark—the second movement of the String Quartet op.