Piano Sonata Hob. XVI/50 / 1794
3. Allegro molto
Until Beethoven, the piano sonata was not composed as a vehicle for virtuoso technique -- that was the domain of the concerto -- but as entertainment for amateurs in the privacy of their homes. Many such pieces were written for students, often as something of an exercise. Haydn had a number of students for whom he composed piano sonatas, and the wide range of ability among his students accounts for the disparate levels of sophistication we find among the over 50 surviving sonatas. Some of these works have been lost because Haydn gave the manuscripts to his students without making copies.
The C major sonata, in particular, betrays its temporal proximity to Haydn's unpredictable "London" Symphonies and their frequent eccentricities. The "additive" process at the opening of the first movement is only one example.
Fantasie brillante sur Le nozze di Figaro, Op. 493 / 1842
Carl Czerny was an Austrian composer, teacher, and pianist of Czech origin whose vast musical production amounted to over a thousand works. His books of studies for the piano are still widely used in piano teaching. He was one of Beethoven's numerous pupils.
In 1801, Wenzel Krumpholz, a Czech composer and violinist, scheduled a presentation for Czerny at the home of Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven asked Czerny to play his Pathétique Sonata and Adelaide. Beethoven was impressed with the 10-year-old and accepted him as a pupil. Czerny remained under Beethoven's tutelage until 1804 and sporadically thereafter. He particularly admired Beethoven's facility at improvisation, his expertise at fingering, the rapidity of his scales and trills, and his restrained demeanour while performing.
Czerny's autobiography and letters give many important references and details of Beethoven during this period. Czerny was the first to report symptoms of Beethoven's deafness, several years before the matter became public. Of his first meeting with Beethoven, he wrote: "I also noticed with that visual quickness peculiar to children that he had cotton which seemed to have been steeped in a yellowish liquid, in his ears."
Czerny was selected by Beethoven for the premiere of the latter's Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1806 and, at the age of 21, in February 1812, Czerny gave the Vienna premiere of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor". Czerny wrote that his musical memory enabled him to play all the Beethoven works by heart without exception and, during the years 1804–1805, he used to play these works in this manner at Prince Lichnowsky's palace once or twice a week, with the Prince calling out only the desired opus numbers. Czerny maintained a relationship with Beethoven throughout his life, and also gave piano lessons to Beethoven's nephew Carl.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata Op.106 “Hammerklavier” / 1818
II. Scherzo: Assai vivace
III. Adagio sostenuto
IV. Introduzione/ Largo... Allegro – Fuga: Allegro risoluto
Dedicated to his patron, the Archduke Rudolf, the sonata was written primarily from the summer of 1817 to the late autumn of 1818, towards the end of a fallow period in Beethoven's compositional career. It represents the spectacular emergence of many of the themes that were to recur in Beethoven's late period: the reinvention of traditional forms, such as sonata form; a brusque humour; and a return to pre-classical compositional traditions, including an exploration of modal harmony and reinventions of the fugue within classical forms.
The piano sonata is widely viewed as one of the most important works of the composer's third period and among the greatest piano sonatas of all time. Completed in 1818, it is often considered to be Beethoven's most technically challenging piano composition and one of the most demanding solo works in the classical piano repertoire. The first documented public performance was in 1836 by Franz Liszt in the Salle Erard in Paris.
The work was perceived as almost unplayable but was nevertheless seen as the summit of piano literature since its very first publication