Beethoven’s “Sonate pathétique”

I’ve been silent for awhile, but that doesn’t mean things have been slow.  Quite the opposite, in fact!

I’ve been very busy at work and at home –  finishing up a couple projects, keeping up with daily chores (boring), and I spent Friday night and Saturday volunteering at a used tack sale for my dressage club – pretty much falling into bed each night.

But today, while finishing my monthly column for a local paper, I was energized when I re-discovered Beethoven’s Sonate pathétique and just had to share it with you.

I earned a music minor while completing my English degree a few years ago.  Hands down, one of my favorite classes was my Music History course which took two semesters to complete and covered music from ancient Greece to present day.  While the class was extremely challenging, the professor was a natural teacher and was very engaging. Some of my favorite collegiate memories were from this class.

I’m sure I don’t remember everything (and I’m far from a musical genius, anyway) so I’ll try not to botch things up too much when I write about music.  Perfect details or no, I know what I like and when I heard the first movement of this sonata today I was taken right back into that classroom.

I’m a fan of many Beethoven works, but this one in particular is so powerful.  I remember before we listened to it in class, the professor joked that Beethoven’s piano playing made women swoon and faint.  After hearing this first movement, I could believe it.

According to my Norton A History of Western Music Anthology, Beethoven composed this work when he was around 27 years old. It is passionate and intense, “…one of Beethoven’s most popular pieces,” states the anthology.

First 4 measures of the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in C minor "Pathètique", Op. 13. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

First 4 measures of the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in C minor “Pathètique”, Op. 13. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Listening is one way to appreciate this piece, watching an artist perform it is another, and I guess seeing the musical notation is yet another so I’m going to include a photo of the first four measures and a link to a video of it being performed.   I’d love to know what you think.  Are you moved?

Alright, enough writing.  Time to shut up and let you listen:


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