Playing Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas

Piano Sonata in C major, Op. 2/3

Many have called this work a veritable concerto for solo piano—an apt description. It contains a brand of technical bravado that, interestingly, Beethoven would more or less abandon moving forward. That is not to say subsequent works are technically less demanding than the Op. 2 sonatas; it is to say that, in later works, one no longer has the impression that technical difficulties are a vehicle for showmanship.

I. Allegro con brio

• exposition

NOTES: Daniel Barenboim is on record saying that the first measure of this sonata is one of most difficult in the repertoire—and he's right. If you want to play the right hand without "cheating"–though there's no good *audible* reason for not cheating, notwithstanding the illusory hearing of certain commentators–take the first dyad (C-E) with 1-5 and the second (B-D) with 2-4. Otherwise, take the bottom three voices with the left hand. A similar trick works in the third measure if you use the sostenuto pedal to hold the left-hand tenth (i.e., G-B). To do this, you must first depress the G and B silently during the preceding half rest. Then apply the sostenuto pedal so that the notes continue to resonant even after you let them go.

In general, when you are faced with a technically demanding passage, parse it into phrases and ingrain the accompanying physical gesture of each phrase into your muscle memory. Good pianists don't sway back and forth because they are in some mystical trance; they do it because each movement of their body is linked with the execution of a given passage. Adopt this technique. It's very helpful.

• development

NOTES: The most difficult passage of this development section is that containing a series of arpeggios: mm. 97–108. To facilitate this passage, accent the first note of each four-note group (be sure to use different degrees of accent to shape your overall phrase). This technique will root your fingers deep in the keys, which has the added effect of boosting your confidence when playing.


II. Adagio - Coming Soon!



III. Scherzo: Allegro - Coming Soon!



IV. Allegro assai - Coming Soon!