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#2014347 - 01/14/13 10:54 AM What Beethoven Sonata to learn next?
Franz Beebert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 360
Hi everyone, it was a long time since I posted here, but now I am back, and I have a little question that I would like your help on answering! smile

I have recently learnt Beethoven's Op 13 and Op 90, and my teacher now lets me decide between learning Op 26, Op 27 No 2 and Op 78, but I cannot decide which one to learn first, as I want to learn all of them in the future. Which of these three sonatas would be the most beneficial to learn first in regards to technique and musicality? I am thinking it would be nice to learn Op 78 first, as it is the shortest, but somehow Op 26 feels more beneficial.. What do you guys think? smile

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#2014429 - 01/14/13 12:54 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
arpan70 Offline
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Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 102
Loc: Mumbai, India
Op.26 would be most beneficial to you, because of its scale, and musical and technical difficulties. But after attempting the hard op.90 sonata, you won't be making huge improvements in technique by choosing one of the three you have suggested. They are wonderful pieces of music, but if you are looking at it from a didactic perspective, you should try a harder Beethoven Sonata. Look at Op.2 No.3, Op.10 No.3, Op.22, Op.31(any of the three), Op.54. These are a step above in technical and musical difficulties(barring Op.26, which is musically difficult) but should be manageable for you. Give them a listen on youtube with the score from imslp, then ask your teacher about which of these you should choose.
_________________________
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.7, Op.10 No.3
Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor
Scriabin: Prelude, Op.11 No.11

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#2014435 - 01/14/13 12:59 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Tim Adrianson Offline
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Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1100
Hi, Franz! A couple of comments:

1 You SHOULD eventually learn all three -- they're all great, in their various ways.
2 Personally, I gravitate to Op 26, given that you've studied OPs 13 and 90. I don't think that one's played enough, and I consider it vintage Beethoven -- it's virtually an introduction to all of his different styles of musical expression, and from a technical standpoint is in the same "ballpark" as Op 13 and OP 90.

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#2014480 - 01/14/13 02:22 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
DameMyra Offline
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Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1983
Loc: South Jersey
I learned Op. 26, then Op. 13, then Op. 78 and then Op. 27, No. 2. The last movement of "Moonlight" probably pushed my technique more than the other three. But that's just me.
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#2014493 - 01/14/13 02:45 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Franz Beebert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 360
Thank you all for you opinions. arpan70, I will look up the other sonatas you mentioned too!
Tim, I will absolutely learn them all eventually, and I feel drawn to Op 26, as I like every single movement of it.
DameMyra, that's an interesting comment, as I would have thought the Op 27 2 to be the easiest of the ones mentioned, but how did you feel about the Op 78 contra Op 26? Which one felt most beneficial/most difficult(if that's a fare thing to ask)?

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#2014509 - 01/14/13 03:17 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
DameMyra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1983
Loc: South Jersey
Both Op. 26 and Op. 78 have technical and musical problems. The first movement in each requires excellent voicing ability. The Funeral March also requires wonderful voicing. The Scherzo of Op. 26 has a few treacherous moments technically. The left hand run and the double thirds in the right hand are difficult at tempo. (Also, the left hand run is just plain awkward. I used Beethoven's fingering.) Op. 78 has a similar awkward left hand run in the first movement. The last movement of Op. 26 lies, for the most part, pretty well under the hand. It really depends on the tempo you take it. My teacher wanted it Richter fast. The chief technical difficulty for the second movement of Op. 78 is getting the two-note phrasing correct at tempo. (Also for some reason, I found that second movement maddeningly difficult to memorize.)

I don't have the fastest fingers or a great arpeggio technique, which is why I benefited most from Op. 27, No.2.


Edited by DameMyra (01/14/13 03:18 PM)
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#2014526 - 01/14/13 04:09 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Opus_Maximus Offline
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Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1497
I would also add my opinion as op. 26. While they're all great pieces, there is the most to learn from op. 26 I think - you have the theme and variation form in the first movement, the funeral march in the 3rd, and that technical workout in the last movement (Which is a great introduction to rotation). Lots of variety.

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#2014555 - 01/14/13 05:24 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
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My personal feeling is that Op.26 is somewhat easier technically than the other two. Any of them would enhance your(or anyone else's) technique and musicianship. They're all terrific, and you can't go even slightly wrong choosing any of them. IMO any piece either equal to or above but within reach of your current technical and musucal level is beneficial.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/14/13 05:28 PM)

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#2014568 - 01/14/13 05:49 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4890
Loc: USA
I might as well take this opportunity to ask...

I'm currently playing his Pathetique sonata. What is a good next step?

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#2014638 - 01/14/13 09:11 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: JoelW]
Ralph Offline
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Registered: 12/09/01
Posts: 1305
Loc: Delaware (slower/lower)
If the sonatas seem more than you can chew at one time, then take a look a the bagatelles. They're short and sweet and some are very challenging musically and technically. People forget about the bagatelles too often.
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#2014645 - 01/14/13 09:28 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Ralph]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1100
Just as a build on Ralph's comment, I'd also look at a number of the Variations that Beethoven wrote on different themes of the times. Many of these have challenging technical things, but also lots of charming moments, like the Bagatelles. Most of these ar "WoO" or without Opus Number, but there are many treasures to be had.

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#2014741 - 01/15/13 03:12 AM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Franz Beebert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 360
I have decided to go for either Op 26 or both Op 27 2 and Op 78 at the same time

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#2015020 - 01/15/13 04:44 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6152
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I am studying Op.26 right now. I had played it in the past, but I am diving deeper into it now. I like in particular Var.3 and the Funeral March.
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#2015192 - 01/15/13 11:15 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
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Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
I have decided to go for either Op 26 or both Op 27 2 and Op 78 at the same time


It doesn't sound as though your "decision" is very conclusive when it's "either ... or."
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#2015204 - 01/16/13 12:01 AM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
JessicaB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/04/09
Posts: 125
Schiff has lectures on each of the sonatas. You can reference them through Wikapedia. Just go to the sonata (by number). This is a terrific way to learn more about them, and perhaps it can help you to make up your mind.

My son has been studying Op. 26 on and off for a few years. He started with the last movement a couple of years ago and is working on the first movement now. There is so much in that (and any) Beethoven sonata that you probably cannot go wrong with studying it. I like the variations of the first movement because in isolation they are somewhat pedagogical (almost like a short etude) while also being part of the bigger whole.

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#2015283 - 01/16/13 05:00 AM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: BruceD]
Franz Beebert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 360
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
I have decided to go for either Op 26 or both Op 27 2 and Op 78 at the same time


It doesn't sound as though your "decision" is very conclusive when it's "either ... or."

Very true.. Except now I choose between two alternatives instead of three wink

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#2015912 - 01/17/13 03:42 AM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Just a word (well a few) ...

The first movement of the Beethoven Opus 26 Andante con variazioni ... is decidedly scrappy (spotty and disjointed) ... it’s almost as though Beethoven has gone back to his Mozartian origins ... and to think ... he had already pinned his masterful colours to the mast with his breathtaking Pathetique Sonata Opus 13.

Why the backward step?

Perhaps a brief case of “looking back” before striding boldly into the future to stun the world with a basketful of unprecedented masterpieces.

Look at the retrospective opening 8 measures of the first movement ... and the repeat of same 9-16 ... together with the jumpy p-cr-p-cr-p ...
but then we all get bowled over with the sombre 3rd movement Marcia funebre sulla morte ...
how many have gone to their graves to the sound of Beethoven’s music.

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#2015940 - 01/17/13 05:38 AM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
sandalholme Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 781
Loc: Dorset, UK
btb: apart from the fact that I disagree with your opinions on Op26 1st movement, your logic of always moving forward would mean that only Op111 is worth listening to, as everything else is inferior, being merely part of Beethoven's progress as a composer.

Personally I think Op26 has qualities - including the first movement - which are just as compelling musically as anything in Op13. Just different aspects of a great musical mind. A mind which moved in all directions, forwards, sideways and backwards to stunning effect.

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#2016026 - 01/17/13 10:09 AM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
If only Dorset would read my response more clearly, he might glean that “moving forward” is in reference to the structure of the first movement of the Beethoven Sonata Opus 26 ... which is, as previously said is “looking backward” ... merely rehashing the antiquated structural format of a Mozartian Age.

PS I'm presently playing the Marche funebre sulla morte d'un eroe (thrid movement)... to get the feel of the graveyard ...
but chaps, I don't want to die yet!

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#2016052 - 01/17/13 10:44 AM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13811
Loc: Iowa City, IA
The use of non-sonata form first movements is definitely something that Beethoven experimented with, and he may well have taken a cue from Mozart K. 331.

Op. 26 seems almost a precursor to Brahms Op. 120#2 (last movement) in that the variations show more textural development than melodic, as is the case in Mozart's variation sets and Beethoven's WoO variations.

The minuet is very traditional. The slow movement is, of course, the centerpiece of the work, especially because of the key. Ab minor! Such a striking sonority in the days when tuning systems weren't particularly well suited to such worlds.

The last movement is also traditional, similar in style to Haydn L. 31, in the same key, meter, and spirit. (Though Beethoven gets credit for inventing a rather disjunct theme that comes of as more elegant than perhaps it should.)

I'm a big fan of Op. 26. In the grand scheme of things, I agree with btb (I know, I'm as surprised as anyone!), it is a look back to the past, paying hommage to Haydn and Mozart, a nod to his classical roots before diving into completely unknown territory in the Op. 27 sonatas.
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2016063 - 01/17/13 11:02 AM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Franz Beebert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 360
btb and kreisler, what are your opinions on me learning this sonata? Would it be wise and beneficial for me to choose it over Op 27 2 and Op 78? smile

By the way, you may be correct when it comes to the spirit of the single movements of Op 26, but he has certainly abandoned the sonata form in this piece, the work starts with a slow movement, which is rather unconventional smile

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#2016230 - 01/17/13 04:23 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13811
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
btb and kreisler, what are your opinions on me learning this sonata? Would it be wise and beneficial for me to choose it over Op 27 2 and Op 78?


I think the benefit that comes from a piece comes from how you approach it, not the piece itself. Pick whichever one you feel you can best devote your attention to, the one that you find most attractive and that isn't so technically demanding that you can't engage it on a musical and spiritual level as well.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2016436 - 01/18/13 12:14 AM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
It’s comforting to hear that Kreisler likes my pitch regarding the first movement of the Beethoven Sonata Opus 26 ... which revisits the old days of Haydn and Mozart ... but having just played those first measures to get a grip on the context ... I shot off to the kitchen for a cup of tea (so as to recover from the maudlin hangover) ... and then immediately returned to the keyboard to trundle over the wonder of the Moonlight Sonata Opus 27/2.

The opening of the Moonlight spun off a treat ... and the syncopated 2nd movement brought a smile ... it was slowgoing through the 3rd movement
(which needs time to build up the necessary tempo).

But back at the ranch ... nothing wrong in revisiting the Opus 26 ... but in dreaming back of my sprog years, the Moonlight was my first adventure into classical music, and therefore holds a special memory ... but each to their own poison.

But, would you believe it ... the first piece of music that I memorized was
“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” by Jerome Kern ...
and can still play it at the drop of a hat.

You chaps don't have to listen ... my dog likes my
rendition ... sometimes it's good to be deaf.

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#2016450 - 01/18/13 12:40 AM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
PS Beethoven is in an experimental mood in Opus 78 ...
which kicks off in Adagio cantabile tempo with an upward chordal ascent over a broad chordal bass ...
only to brisk up after 3 measures to Allegro ma non troppo.

The inconsequential rippling treble from m17 against a chordal bass with initially changing mid-chordal notes doesn’t make it a favourite for me.

My reference book says of Opus 78 in F-sharp major

“ This slight two-movement sonata hardly justifies the composer’s high regard. Certainly few will agree with him in rating it above the C-sharp minor sonata,
as we know he did. We may regard it as a minor product of Beethoven’s maturity. Many of my colleagues admire it more than I am able to, and it is by no means a stranger to concert audiences.
Indeed, it is easy enough to surrender oneself to the amiable melodic lines of the Allegro ma non troppo, or to the graceful caprice of the Allegro vivace.
I defer respectfully, therefore, to more enthusiastic judgments than my own.”

I’m off for a round of golf ... even though it’s raining.

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#2016617 - 01/18/13 10:12 AM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: btb]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6422
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: btb


My reference book says of Opus 78 in F-sharp major

“ This slight two-movement sonata hardly justifies the composer’s high regard. Certainly few will agree with him in rating it above the C-sharp minor sonata,
as we know he did. We may regard it as a minor product of Beethoven’s maturity. Many of my colleagues admire it more than I am able to, and it is by no means a stranger to concert audiences.
Indeed, it is easy enough to surrender oneself to the amiable melodic lines of the Allegro ma non troppo, or to the graceful caprice of the Allegro vivace.
I defer respectfully, therefore, to more enthusiastic judgments than my own.”


IMHO the only "minor" or "slight" aspect of Opus 78 is that it is in two movements instead of three or four. Otherwise it certainly holds its own with the best of Beethoven's output for solo piano.
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#2016752 - 01/18/13 02:07 PM Re: What Beethoven Sonata to learn next? [Re: Franz Beebert]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6152
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Op.54 is also in two movements, and Cooper doesn't see it as a "minor" sonata... He just says that it is unusual for Beethoven (although Haydn and other earlier composers had used two movements in their sonatas), and that it is in the middle of two mountains, the Waldstein and the Appassionata. Not as good as those sonatas of course, but not a minor sonata either.
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