Following the footsteps laid by his earlier contemporaries, Mozart
, and Haydn
, Ludwig van Beethoven
set upon composing his 8th piano sonata opus 13 in 1798, most widely referred to as “Pathétique (passionate/sorrowful).”
The entitlement of the piece is thought to have resided in the mind of Beethoven himself; however it was actually named by his publisher, who sought refuge in the sonata’s wondrous resonance. Of all his sonatas, his 8th in C minor is one of his most treasured, even to this day. Like all Beethoven compositions in C minor, this work strikes definite moments of magniloquence, having a genuine feeling of his mastership along its outer edges, while also dividing the line between baroque and romantic themes, with a classical scalpel.
Conventional, yet daring, the sonata begins confidently, however somewhat held back behind the cloud of tonic chords. It speedily shifts form, following standard sonata convention, and enters Beethoven’s virtuosic realm. The two main the motifs within “Grave,”
the slow chordal development, and the later quick paced torrent of defined notes, are one the finest examples of Beethoven’s catalogue of piano music. Often, this piece is disregarded amongst the public, most notably because it is overshadowed by the more popular Moonlight Sonata
; the sonata that is used most frequently abused on cinematic soaps, and romances. While this issue will probably never become completely resolved, it makes the music from Grave much more tantalising for the first-time listener who probably hasn’t heard the diverse selection of music from the composer.
begins much more uncertain than is self-assured predecessor, and marks the well rounded apex of the work. The movement itself uncoils itself gently, slowly and romantically within a saddening melodic line, and delicate chordal accompaniment. Clearly later romantic composers must have made asylum with such a movement when composing similar stylised pieces, especially those of Brahms
. Adagio cantabile is later measured in the shallow bowl of “Rondo. Allegro,”
where the composer returns back to the initial idea channel. Busy key modulations continually develop to maintain a strong binding force with the listener. Despite this, it probably marks the decline of the piece from an experiential perspective, but collectively it’s a wonderful finalising touch to an already captivating sonata, one that will acts as a unique standpoint on the composer’s purpose as a pivotal premeditated catalyst between the classical era, and later romantic eras.