Learning Log Page 14

Listening without having researched the pieces

🎼Beethoven Piano Sonata No 1 in F minor, Op2 1795

Crisp clear notes throughout the piece and repeated motifs, with slight variations throughout. Each movement had a crisp clear sound to it, with repeated motifs with slight variations. I also heard some melancholia in this. Very much an established pattern of music. I found this peace easy to listen to but I did feel that it was rigid and devoid of a little emotion when played.

🎼 Beethoven Piano Sonata no 32 in C Minor Op 111 1821 – 22

A complete contrast to the first piece in that it had more of a personality. A very majestic sound which completely hits you when you first listen, however I found it overall more passionate in that, how can I put it, you felt that there was more personality in the piece and feelings were conveyed more. Maybe there was a story or a theme to it that I am currently unaware of. However I did find the overall piece a little to loud for my liking. If I were to coin my own phrase I would say, “too loud and too in my face”. I thought some of the parts were a little messy, I am not sure why but it did not sound right to me, odd to think I am saying this about Beethoven but that is what I heard. It wasn’t as easy a listen as the first piece and not as enjoyable. I preferred the first piece to this one.

What features of the earlier piano sonata might lead you to describe this as a Classical piece?

The piece is a clean, clear straightforward piece. There seems to be a defined structure to the piece and I would say that it is not very adventurous in terms of using the piano to its full extent. There is repeated use of motifs and phrases, albeit slightly different throughout the piece but not varying much

Does the later work retain any of these Classical elements

I do not believe so. I found there was a distinct difference in the way they are both presented and that leads me to the next question.

Why might you describe the later sonata as a Romantic work?

This sonata is so different from the first. The clean structure of the first one is replaced by a much more majestic sonata with very much more passion in it. The range of the piece seems much larger than the first one and there is much more impact. This hits your ears and screams passion in its first bars. I couldn’t hear much repeating of motifs and phrases but there seemed to be a story going on in the music that I am not aware of. I am looking forward to now researching the pieces and seeing what differences there are and whether or not I am on point.


🎼Beethoven Piano Sonata No 1 in F minor, Op2 1795

Having looked at a few sites including the ones that are listed below, I have concluded that I correctly identified the work as being classical and that I had identified the repeated motifs in different chords throughout the piece. I also identified the melancholia. Of course I had no idea that there was the heavy influence of Mozart or that this piece was dedicated to Joseph Haydn

🎼 Beethoven Piano Sonata no 32 in C Minor Op111 1821 – 22

I do think that I did get some of this right when I have looked at a number of sites (listed below) I believe that I have identified that it is a much more intense and passionate sonata than the first putting it firmly in the romantic era. It is a more involved piece which is mentioned and which I knew but I didn’t know that it has been much looked at and has further compositions based on it which is a compliment to Beethoven of course.

The Artist as “hero” -The Evolution of Beethoven

Beethoven – Early Period

  • 🎼Piano Sonata No 8 in C Minor op 13 Pathetique Sonata
  • 🎼String Quartets Op 18
    • 🎼String Quartet in F Major
    • 🎼String Quartet in G Major
    • 🎼String Quartet in D Major
    • 🎼String Quartet in C minor
    • 🎼String Quartet in A Major
    • 🎼String Quartet in B Flat Major

As I started listening to these I did not realise that I had actually heard Pathetique Sonata before.

These pieces mostly conform to the characteristics of of Classical style of music. The piano piece contains such crisp clear notes and it is very gentle and beautiful, with I would say a romantic feel to them. Form seems rigid and there is no individual expression of the instrument or an emotion in the piece. It is written and musicians just follow what is written.

Beethoven – Middle Period

  • 🎼Sonata No 9 in. A Major “Kreutzer Sonata” Op 47
  • 🎼Moonlight Sonata

In these two pieces I could start to hear a slight shift from classical to Romantic. I had heard the Moonlight Sonata before and it is a piece I have always liked but now I know that it belongs to Beethoven . I have always found this a romantic piece with the piano but to me there seems to be a little more expression in this piece not found in earlier period pieces.

With the Sonata I did feel this was more expressive and as I listened I thought I could hear elements of Klezmer music in a few of the motifs. I know I am not phrasing this properly but there seemed to be a Jewish influence just rippling in violin parts.

Beethoven – Late Period

  • 🎼Symphony Number 9 in D Minor Op 125
  • 🎼Mass in D Major “Missa Solemnis” Op 123

Both of these pieces are a complete contrast to the previous pieces. Symphony Number 9 has so much passion and grandeur in it which is totally at odd with Beethoven’s earlier pieces and absolutely packs a punch, the added chorale bringing it to a conclusion.

I didn’t like the Missa Solemnis much at all, it felt very miserable to me, maybe due to it being a mass. However it contained a who bunch of expression and feeling which earlier pieces didn’t seem to have.


Listening to these pieces as a whole really shows me that Beethoven’s work changed throughout his life. Starting with the earlier pieces they were simpler. They stuck to the Classical way of presenting music with form and very little to no expression. The music was just written and played, quite devoid of emotion. When I moved onto the middle period I began to feel that something happened to Beethoven and maybe his approach to music was changing. I haven’t read anything on Beethoven to draw this conclusion but I know he did struggle with his hearing. Maybe he thought he could change the way music was written. Whilst these pieces appear to be Classical in their structure when you listen there are to me hints of expression forming in them which change the way the music is presented. Moonlight Sonata seems to be such a romantic piece and there is a little more expression in this piece an I also felt the Kreutzer Sonata had a Jewish feel to it in parts. Beethoven is starting to be influenced by other elements and these are being fed into his music. The late period I know is when Beethoven’s was profoundly deaf. These pieces that I listened to seems to be more emotional and more intense than previous periods. There must have been a frustration in becoming deaf which has made its way into his music. Symphony 9 was completely different from what I had heard before, much more feeling in the music. His frustration at becoming deaf could be deemed to be why its very much more grand. The Missa Solemnis is very dark indeed. I didn’t enjoy it at all but I could hear how different it was, with voices and the tone of it.