Piano Sonatas Nos. 19 and 20 (Beethoven)

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The Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49, No. 1, and Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49, No. 2, are short sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven, published in 1805 (although the works were actually composed a decade earlier in early to mid 1797 [1] ). Both works are approximately eight minutes in length, and are split into two movements. These sonatas are referred to as the Leichte Sonaten to be given to his friends and students.


The Piano Sonata No. 20 was possibly written around the time Beethoven composed the Third and Fourth sonatas, but because it was published in Vienna in 1805, nearly a decade after it was actually written, it was assigned then-current opus and sonata numbers, which classified it alongside works from the composer's middle period. Very similar circumstances caused Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 to appear as his second, even though it predated the first.

Beethoven often suppressed works in his early years, either revising them later for publication or determining that they were not fit. In fact, he withheld many early works from publication for life. In the case of these two sonatas, it was Kaspar van Beethoven, the composer's brother, who decided they were worthy of publication. Against the composer's will, he presented them to a publishing house, thus allowing posterity to hear works that might otherwise have been lost or destroyed.

Sonata No. 19

Charles Rosen, while noting the sonata's lack of technical challenges, states that it is a "deeply affecting and distinguished work". [2]


Sonata No. 20

This sonata is a relatively simple work, featuring less sophistication than most of the other piano sonatas. Strangely, there are no dynamic indications in the autograph or first edition. It is considered the easier of the two "easy sonatas", and is also considered the easiest of all the Beethoven piano sonatas. [3]


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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Piano Sonata No. 17 (Beethoven)</span>

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"With all the tragic power of its first movement the D minor Sonata is, like Prospero, almost as far beyond tragedy as it is beyond mere foul weather. It will do you no harm to think of Miranda at bars 31–38 of the slow movement... but people who want to identify Ariel and Caliban and the castaways, good and villainous, may as well confine their attention to the exploits of Scarlet Pimpernel when the Eroica or the C minor Symphony is being played."

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Piano Sonata No. 6 (Beethoven)</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Piano Sonata No. 24 (Beethoven)</span> Piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Piano Sonata No. 28 (Beethoven)</span>

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  1. Cooper, Barry (2017). The creation of Beethoven's 35 piano sonatas. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. p. 45. ISBN   978-1-317-03709-5. OCLC   980304744.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  2. Rosen, Charles (2002). Beethoven's Piano Sonatas: A Short Companion, Volume 1. Yale University Press. p. 178. ISBN   0300090706.
  3. Bülow/Lebert's list of the sonatas by difficulty