Three Piano Sonatas, WoO 47 (Beethoven)

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The Three Piano Sonatas, WoO 47, were composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1782 and 1783, when he was eleven and twelve years old. The sonatas show a certain level of precocity and serve as a precursor to the masterworks he later produced. They are dedicated to the Prince-elector (German: Kurfürst) Maximilian Friedrich [1] and therefore also known as the Kurfürstensonaten.



Like Mozart's, Beethoven's musical talent was recognized at a young age, [2] and these three piano sonatas give an early glimpse of the composer's abilities, as well as his boldness. Beethoven was writing in a form usually attempted by older, more mature composers, [3] as the sonata was a cornerstone of Classical piano literature. Since they were written at such an early age (and Beethoven himself did not assign them opus numbers), the works have historically been omitted from the canon of Beethoven's piano sonatas. However, Barry Cooper included the trio in his critical edition of the sonatas created for ABRSM, arguing that "A complete edition has to be complete, and if you ignore early works, you don't show the longer trajectory of the composer's development." [4] The inclusion of these three works raises Beethoven's total number of piano sonatas from 32 to 35. [lower-alpha 1] [5]

The sonatas

No. 1 in E major

  1. Allegro cantabile
  2. Andante
  3. Rondo vivace
Three Piano Sonatas, WoO 47 (Beethoven)
Beginning of No. 1 in E major

No. 2 in F minor

  1. Larghetto maestoso – Allegro assai
  2. Andante
  3. Presto
Three Piano Sonatas, WoO 47 (Beethoven)
Beginning of No. 2 in F minor

No. 3 in D major

  1. Allegro
  2. Menuetto – Sostenuto
  3. Scherzando: Allegretto, ma non troppo
Three Piano Sonatas, WoO 47 (Beethoven)
Beginning of No. 3 in D major

See also

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  1. With the incipit of a possible 36th identified by Thayer.


  1. Thayer 1921, pp. 71–74.
  2. Thayer 1921, p. 59.
  3. Cooper, Barry (2008). Beethoven (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 10.
  4. White, Michael (2008-01-20). "Settling Old Scores by Beethoven". The New York Times . Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  5. Cooper, Barry (2017). The Creation of Beethoven's 35 Piano Sonatas. Routledge. p. 13. ISBN   978-1-4724-1432-8.


Further reading