Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 29 in B♭ major, Op. 106 (known as the Große Sonate für das Hammerklavier, or more simply as the Hammerklavier) is a piano sonata that 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.
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 Hammerklavier also set a precedent for the length of solo compositions (performances typically take about 40 to 45 minutes, depending on interpretative choices). While orchestral works such as symphonies and concerti had often contained movements of 15 or even 20 minutes for many years, few single movements in solo literature had a span such as the Hammerklavier's third movement.
The sonata's name comes from Beethoven's later practice of using German rather than Italian words for musical terminology. (Hammerklavier literally means "hammer-keyboard", and is still today the German name for the fortepiano, the predecessor of the modern piano.) It comes from the title page of the work, "Große Sonate für das Hammerklavier", which means "Grand sonata for the fortepiano". The more sedate Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101 has the same description, but the epithet has come to apply to the Sonata No. 29 only. "Hammerklavier" was part of the title to specify that the work was not to be played on the harpsichord, an instrument that was still very much in evidence in the early 1800s.[ citation needed ] The work also makes extensive use of the una corda pedal, with Beethoven giving for his time unusually detailed instructions when to use it.
The piece contains four movements, a structure often used by Beethoven, and imitated by contemporaries such as Schubert, Schumann, and Chopin, in contrast to the more usual three or two movements of Mozart's and Haydn's sonatas. The four movements are:
In addition to the thematic connections within the movements and the use of traditional Classical formal structures, Charles Rosen has described how much of the piece is organised around the motif of a descending third (major or minor). This descending third is quite ubiquitous throughout the work but most clearly recognizable in the following sections: the opening fanfare of the Allegro; in the scherzo's imitation of the aforementioned fanfare, as well as in its trio theme; in bar two of the adagio; and in the fugue in both its introductory bass octave-patterns and in the main subject, as the seven-note runs which end up on notes descended by thirds.
The first movement opens with a series of fortissimo B♭-major chords, which form much of the basis of the first subject. After the first subject is spun out for a while, the opening set of fortissimo chords are stated again, this time followed by a similar rhythm on the unexpected chord of D major. This ushers in the more lyrical second subject in the submediant (that is, a minor third below the tonic), G major. A third and final musical subject appears after this, which exemplifies the fundamental opposition of B♭ and B♮ in this movement through its chromatic alterations of the third scale degree. The exposition ends with a largely stepwise figure in the treble clef in a high register, while the left hand moves in an octave-outlining accompaniment in eighth notes.
The development section opens with a statement of this final figure, except with alterations from the major subdominant to the minor, which fluidly modulates to E♭ major. Directly after, the exposition's first subject is composed in fugato and features an incredible display of musical development. The fugato ends with a section featuring non-fugal imitation between registers, eventually resounding in repeated D-major chords. The final section of the development begins with a chromatic alteration of D♮ to D♯. The music progresses to the alien key of B major, in which the third and first subjects of the exposition are played. The retransition is brought about by a sequence of rising intervals that get progressively higher, until the first theme is stated again in the home key of B♭, signalling the beginning of the recapitulation.
In keeping with Beethoven's exploration of the potentials of sonata form, the recapitulation avoids a full harmonic return to B♭ major until long after the return to the first theme. The coda repetitively cites motives from the opening statement over a shimmering pedal point and disappears into pianississimo until two fortissimo B♭ major chords conclude the movement.
The brief second movement includes a great variety of harmonic and thematic material. The scherzo's theme – which Rosen calls a humorous form  of the first movement's first subject – is at once playful, lively, and pleasant. The scherzo, in B♭ major, maintains the standard ternary form by repeating the sections an octave higher in the treble clef.
The trio, marked "semplice", is in the parallel minor, B♭ minor, but the effect is more shadowy than dramatic. It borrows the opening theme from the composer's Eroica symphony and places it in a minor key. Following this dark interlude, Beethoven inserts a more intense presto section in 2
4 meter, still in the minor, which eventually segues back to the scherzo. After a varied reprise of the scherzo's first section, a coda with a meter change to cut time follows. This coda plays with the semitonal relationship between B♭ and B♮, and briefly returns to the first theme before dying away.
The ternary-form slow movement, centred on F♯ minor, has been called, among other things, a "mausoleum of collective sorrow",  and is notable for its ethereality and great length as a slow movement (e.g. Wilhelm Kempff played for approximately 16 minutes and Christoph Eschenbach 25 minutes) that finally ends with a Picardy third. Paul Bekker called the movement "the apotheosis of pain, of that deep sorrow for which there is no remedy, and which finds expression not in passionate outpourings, but in the immeasurable stillness of utter woe".  Wilhelm Kempff described it as "the most magnificent monologue Beethoven ever wrote". 
Structurally, it follows traditional Classical-era sonata form, but the recapitulation of the main theme is varied to include extensive figurations in the right hand that anticipate some of the techniques of Romantic piano music. NPR's Ted Libbey writes, "An entire line of development in Romantic music—passing through Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, and even Liszt—springs from this music." 
The movement begins with a slow introduction that serves to transition from the third movement. To do so, it modulates from D♭ major/B♭ minor to G♭ major/E♭ minor to B major/G♯ minor to A major, which modulates to B♭ major for the fugue. Dominated by falling thirds in the bass line, the music three times pauses on a pedal and engages in speculative contrapuntal experimentation, in a manner foreshadowing the quotations from the first three movements of the Ninth Symphony in the opening of the fourth movement of that work.
After a final modulation to B♭ major, the main substance of the movement appears: a titanic three-voice fugue in 3
4 meter. The subject of the fugue can be divided itself into three parts: a tenth leap followed by a trill to the tonic; a 7-note scale figure repeated descending by a third; and a tail semiquaver passage marked by many chromatic passing tones, whose development becomes the main source for the movement's unique dissonance. Marked con alcune licenze ("with some licenses"), the fugue, one of Beethoven's greatest contrapuntal achievements, as well as making tremendous demands on the performer, moves through a number of contrasting sections and includes a number of "learned" contrapuntal devices, often, and significantly, wielded with a dramatic fury and dissonance inimical to their conservative and academic associations. Some examples: augmentation of the fugue theme and countersubject in a sforzando marcato at bars 96–117, the massive stretto of the tenth leap and trill which follows, a contemplative episode beginning at bar 152 featuring the subject in retrograde, leading to an exploration of the theme in inversion at bar 209. 
The work was perceived as almost unplayable but was nevertheless seen as the summit of piano literature since its very first publication. 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 Piano Sonata No. 1 in C, Op. 1 by Johannes Brahms opens with a fanfare similar to the fanfare heard at the start of the Hammerklavier sonata.
The composer Felix Weingartner produced an orchestration of the sonata. In 1878, Friedrich Nietzsche had suggested such an orchestration:
In the lives of great artists, there are unfortunate contingencies which, for example, force the painter to sketch his most significant picture as only a fleeting thought, or which forced Beethoven to leave us only the unsatisfying piano reduction of a symphony in certain great piano sonatas (the great B flat major). In such cases, the artist coming after should try to correct the great men's lives after the fact; for example, a master of all orchestral effects would do so by restoring to life the symphony that had suffered an apparent pianistic death. 
However, Charles Rosen considered attempts to orchestrate the work "nonsensical". 
Sonata, in music, literally means a piece played as opposed to a cantata, a piece sung. The term evolved through the history of music, designating a variety of forms until the Classical era, when it took on increasing importance. Sonata is a vague term, with varying meanings depending on the context and time period. By the early 19th century, it came to represent a principle of composing large-scale works. It was applied to most instrumental genres and regarded—alongside the fugue—as one of two fundamental methods of organizing, interpreting and analyzing concert music. Though the musical style of sonatas has changed since the Classical era, most 20th- and 21st-century sonatas still maintain the same structure.
Sonata form is a musical structure generally consisting of three main sections: an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation. It has been used widely since the middle of the 18th century.
The Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 is generally thought to have been composed in 1800, although the year of its composition has been questioned by some contemporary musicologists. It was first performed on 5 April 1803, with the composer as soloist. During that same performance, the Second Symphony and the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives were also premiered. The composition was published in 1804, and was dedicated to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia. The first primary theme is reminiscent of that of Mozart's 24th Piano Concerto.
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53, known as the Waldstein, is one of the three most notable sonatas of his middle period. Completed in summer 1804 and surpassing Beethoven's previous piano sonatas in its scope, the Waldstein is a key early work of Beethoven's "Heroic" decade (1803–1812) and set a standard for piano composition in the grand manner.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3, is a sonata written for solo piano, composed in 1795. It is dedicated to Joseph Haydn and is often referred to as one of Beethoven's earliest "grand and virtuosic" piano sonatas. All three of Beethoven's Op. 2 piano sonatas contain four movements, an unusual length at the time, which seems to show that Beethoven was aspiring towards composing a symphony. It is both the weightiest and longest of the three Op. 2 sonatas, and it presents many difficulties for the performer, including difficult trills, awkward hand movements, and forearm rotation. It is also one of Beethoven's longest piano sonatas in his early period. With an average performance lasting just about 24–26 minutes, it is second only to the Grand Sonata in E♭ Major, Op. 7, published just a year later, in 1796.
The Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38, entitled "Sonate für Klavier und Violoncello", was written by Johannes Brahms in 1862–65.
Ludwig van Beethoven composed his Piano Sonata No. 12 in A♭ major, Op. 26, in 1800–1801, around the same time as he completed his First Symphony. He dedicated the sonata to Prince Karl von Lichnowsky, who had been his patron since 1792.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31, No. 1, was composed between 1801 and 1802. Although it was numbered as the first piece in the trio of piano sonatas which were published as Opus 31 in 1803, Beethoven actually finished it after the Op. 31 No. 2, the Tempest Sonata.
The Piano Sonata No. 18 in E♭ major, Op. 31, No. 3, is an 1802 sonata for solo piano by Ludwig van Beethoven. A third party gave the piece the nickname "The Hunt" due to one of its themes' resemblance to a horn call. Beethoven maintains a playful jocularity throughout much of the piece, but as in many of his early works, the jocular style can be heard as a facade, concealing profound ideas and depths of emotion.
The Piano Sonata No. 31 in A♭ major, Op. 110, by Ludwig van Beethoven was composed in 1821 and published in 1822. It is the middle piano sonata in the group of three that he wrote between 1820 and 1822, and the thirty-first and penultimate of his piano sonatas. Though the sonata was commissioned in 1820, Beethoven did not begin work on Op. 110 until the latter half of 1821, and final revisions were completed in early 1822. The delay was due to factors such as Beethoven's work on the Missa solemnis and his deteriorating health. The original edition was published by Schlesinger in Paris and Berlin in 1822 without dedication, and an English edition was published by Muzio Clementi in 1823.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1, was written in 1795 and dedicated to Joseph Haydn. It was published simultaneously with his second and third piano sonatas in 1796.
The Piano Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 14, No. 2, composed in 1798–1799, is an early-period work by Ludwig van Beethoven, dedicated to Baroness Josefa von Braun. A typical performance lasts 15 minutes. While it is not as well known as some of the more original sonatas of Beethoven's youth, such as the Pathétique or Moonlight sonatas, Donald Francis Tovey described it as an 'exquisite little work.'
Piano Sonata No. 13 in E-flat major, Op. 27 No. 1, "Quasi una fantasia", is a sonata composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1800–1801.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109, composed in 1820, is the third-to-last of his piano sonatas. In it, after the huge Hammerklavier Sonata, Op. 106, Beethoven returns to a smaller scale and a more intimate character. It is dedicated to Maximiliane Brentano, the daughter of Beethoven's long-standing friend Antonie Brentano, for whom Beethoven had already composed the short Piano Trio in B♭ major WoO 39 in 1812. Musically, the work is characterised by a free and original approach to the traditional sonata form. Its focus is the third movement, a set of variations that interpret its theme in a wide variety of individual ways.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, was written in 1816 and was dedicated to the pianist Baroness Dorothea Ertmann, née Graumen. This sonata marks the beginning of what is generally regarded as Beethoven's final period, where the forms are more complex, ideas more wide-ranging, textures more polyphonic, and the treatment of the themes and motifs even more sophisticated than before. Op. 101 well exemplified this new style, and Beethoven exploits the newly expanded keyboard compass of the day.
The Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5 of Johannes Brahms was written in 1853 and published the following year. The sonata is unusually large, consisting of five movements, as opposed to the traditional three or four. When he wrote this piano sonata, the genre was seen by many to be past its heyday. Brahms, enamored of Beethoven and the classical style, composed Piano Sonata No. 3 with a masterful combination of free Romantic spirit and strict classical architecture. As a further testament to Brahms' affinity for Beethoven, the Piano Sonata is infused with the instantly recognizable motive from Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 during the first, third, and fourth movements. Composed in Düsseldorf, it marks the end of his cycle of three sonatas, and was presented to Robert Schumann in November of that year; it was the last work that Brahms submitted to Schumann for commentary. Brahms was barely 20 years old at its composition. The piece is dedicated to Countess Ida von Hohenthal of Leipzig.
Franz Schubert's last three piano sonatas, D 958, 959 and 960, are his last major compositions for solo piano. They were written during the last months of his life, between the spring and autumn of 1828, but were not published until about ten years after his death, in 1838–39. Like the rest of Schubert's piano sonatas, they were mostly neglected in the 19th century. By the late 20th century, however, public and critical opinion had changed, and these sonatas are now considered among the most important of the composer's mature masterpieces. They are part of the core piano repertoire, appearing regularly on concert programs and recordings.
Robert Simpson composed his Symphony No. 10 in 1988 and dedicated it to the conductor Vernon Handley who gave the premiere of the work in the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, on 16 January 1991 with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. This is Simpson's largest and longest symphony, being one of his most contrapuntal works and in four substantial movements.
The Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8, by Johannes Brahms was completed in January 1854, when the composer was only twenty years old, published in November 1854 and premiered on 13 October 1855 in Danzig. It has often been mistakenly claimed that the first performance had taken place in the United States. Brahms produced a revised version of the work in summer 1889 that shows significant alterations so that it may even be regarded as a distinct (fourth) piano trio. This "New Edition", as he called it, was premiered on 10 January 1890 in Budapest and published in February 1891.
The Symphony No. 5 in C minor of Ludwig van Beethoven, Op. 67, was written between 1804 and 1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music and one of the most frequently played symphonies, and it is widely considered one of the cornerstones of western music. First performed in Vienna's Theater an der Wien in 1808, the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterward. E. T. A. Hoffmann described the symphony as "one of the most important works of the time". As is typical of symphonies during the Classical period, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony has four movements.
Extensive discussion and analysis is given in Charles Rosen's book The Classical Style (2nd ed., 1997, New York: Norton): ISBN 0-393-31712-9.