Nº 5, Op. 10 nº 1

Coursera just launched a new set of lectures, part 3, for the course “Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas” by Jonathan Biss.

Below some notes and references for Sonata Op. 10 nº 1 (link to Coursera).

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) composed this work in his late twenties, between 1795 and 1797. Published in 1798 and dedicated to Countess Anna Margarete von Browne.

Portrait of Beethoven as a young man (1801, 31 years)

Marketed as a trio with 3 movements (not 4) making it a little more accessible to the public.


It is a first-period composition, anticipating more notable C minor works such as the Pathétique Sonata and the Fifth Symphony (the short development section in the 3rd movement contains a foreshadow of the theme from the 5th).

In the Sonata No.5 there are several clear signs that Beethoven eagerly studied Mozart’s masterpiece: the ‘Mannheim rocket’ – a swiftly ascending triad motif in the first bars of the first movement’s main theme, the subsequent dialogue between imperious and supplicatory ‘characters’, a shift to the minor key of the second theme in the reprise, the influence of operatic bel canto in the slow movement, and the explosive nervous tension of the finale. [Text of the booklet “Ludwig van Beethoven. Complete Piano Sonatas, vol.5. IGOR TCHETUEV”]


Before there were MOOCs, András Schiff did a series of lecture-recitals of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas at Wigmore Hall (2004-6).

Andras Schiff: The Lectures Beethoven Sonatas Wigmore Hall from 2004–6

For a visual impression, all sonatas of Beethoven are available on YouTube in color-coded analysis using Adobe Audition.




Color-coded Analysis

Detailed analysis of the sonata in the description of the video on YouTube.

See also


Artur Schnabel – 1935

Annie Fischer – 1977

Richard Goode – 1993

Daniel Barenboim, Berlin State Opera House, 2007
Barenboim on Beethoven Masterclass DVD

Jonathan Biss – 2011
WQXR’s Beethoven Piano Sonata Marathon, The Greene Space on Nov. 20, 2011.

Vadim Chaimovich – 2014

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