L. Beethoven "Pathetic Sonata": history, interesting facts, content, listen

Ludwig van Beethoven "Pathetic Sonata"

The piano work of the Vienna classic Ludwig van Beethoven can be called an immortal heritage that reflects not only the inner experiences of the composer, but also changes in the era. The pathetic Sonata of Beethoven is one of the brightest works of the average creative period of Beethoven’s life. What secrets the musical text of the composition keeps, how it was created, and other interesting facts can be read on our page.

History of creation

The sonata is dedicated to Prince Likhnovsky, a close friend and admirer of Beethoven's work.

At the time of writing, the composer was on the threshold of his thirtieth birthday. Then the first signs of rapid deafness became noticeable. Work on the essay was carried out for about a year. It was a difficult time in my life: every day the rumor became worse and worse, and the doctors' forecasts were disappointing. Beethoven did not abandon his own musical craft, he still composed grandiose and completely new in the style of the work with the same zeal, but which were filled with radically different meanings. All the pain and faith in the best were realized in the Patatica Sonata.

Sonata was first published in 1799. It was a real premiere for the public. Not every person could understand the real innovative language, so a serious dispute broke out between dogmatic people who wanted to preserve the old and between innovators who want to go ahead and are not afraid of the new and interesting. Formerly no piano work has caused such heated discussion. Beethoven calmly reacted to the reaction of society, he was accustomed to the fact that his music causes mixed feelings in people.

Interesting Facts:

  • That is, deafness prompted Beethoven to compose many of the works that have a dramatic or even tragic concept. The first signs of hearing loss were noticed in 1797. By the time of writing of the Eighth Sonata, he already did not hear well. It is worth noting that the habit of Ludwig led her to lower her head in icy water before the next composition of works led to the appearance of this ailment.
  • Inspired by Beethoven's music, playwright Mikola Kulish in 1929 composed one of the most provocative plays in the history of the communist USSR, which is called "Pathetic Sonata". It is noteworthy that it has little in common with the plot of the work, since ordinary Soviet people become heroes, but the music accompanies the performance from beginning to end, filling it with emotional coloring.

  • Sonata is a truly revolutionary work, so, after the first performance of the composition, the listeners divided into two camps. Some said that it was an innovation that deserved encouragement of the author, while others thought that it was impossible to flaunt feelings, and considered the work vulgar and unworthy. Fortunately, fans of Beethoven was more than haters.
  • Reflection of many musical impressions of the composer can be found in this sonata. For example, the theatricality of the work is a response of admiration from the heard opera Gluck Orpheus and Eurydice. The heroic style, minor mode, grand scale and dialogue - this is what proves the kinship and intimacy with the operatic genre, namely with the work of Gluck. Often, the struggle of man against fate is compared with the clash between Orpheus and furies.
  • The famous pianist Ignaz Mosheles at the age of 10 years learned to memorize the musical text of the piece and performed it in front of the most diverse public. According to his story, there were always people who either were immensely delighted with innovation, or those who were bored without understanding the beauty of the musical and expressive means used by the author. It is noteworthy that the small pianist could not get the notes for lack of funds, so he rewrote them at night, while no one saw. Everything would be fine if one day he did not tell the teacher about his “heroic” deed. He was furious and kicked him out of school. But all for the better, because the boy got to study with Beethoven.
  • When he first heard Beethoven's Eighth Sonata, Haydn, being the former teacher of Ludwig, said that he had the feeling that the composer had several heads instead of one, several hot hearts instead of one, and several souls instead of one! His deeply amazed the imagination and imagination of the author. Then Haydn paused and added that in his music you can always find something irresistibly gloomy and gloomy, something that truly expresses the composer’s style.
  • In the conservatories of Vienna it was forbidden to play this work, since the only truly valuable composers useful for study were Bach, Mozart and Clementi.
  • The author believed that he could overcome all the hardships prepared for him by fate, that one day he would be able to hear music again. Perhaps that is why the final is so optimistic. In the future, the theme of destiny will become the composer's irresistible pain.


Few people know, but Ludwig van Beethoven was seriously interested in the philosophies of modern thinkers. Sonata received its name from the author, which was quite rare, since Beethoven did not often try to create program compositions. The composer refers us to the term "Pathetic", which was first used by the famous philosopher Schiller. Pathetics means the power of tragedy, a passion for the triumph of justice, as well as the desire for the concept of overcoming.

Romain Rolland emphasized that the basis of the work is theatrical drama. So he assumed that the composition is based precisely on the means of drama, including using the standard scheme:

  1. The exposition of the main characters (fate, as the appointment of rock, and the struggle of man). The leitmotif of fate sounds already in the first bars. For the first time, the introduction became a topic that permeated the essay from beginning to end.
  2. The plot of the conflict occurs in the first bars of the work.
  3. The climax. Reaching the highest dramatic point of the work.
  4. Isolation in the code of the third part. The man defeated the evil rock.

"Pathetic Sonata" by Beethoven It has a classical structure of three parts:

  1. The first part in the pace Allegro con brio with a slow entry in the pace Grave.
  2. The second part is written in the tempo of Adagio cantabile.
  3. The third part is created in the form of fast rondo.

1st part (listen)

2nd part (listen)

3rd part (listen)

In the work two worlds are sharply contrasted: namely, the world of dreams and dreams of the hero and the real world, which has the beginning of evil rock. Throughout the work, fate invades the world of the hero, painting it in dark colors. In accordance with the parts, the author’s conceptual ideas about the development of the sonata storyline can be distinguished:

  1. First part. Contrasting images of man and fatum. The use of musical reception dialogic contrast. The fight is passionate to the idea of ​​a hero and inexorable rock. The conflict is heated by the constant repetition of the theme of fate. It seems that the atmosphere is heating up and leading to hopelessness. The material is constantly evolving, creating sharper angles of conflict. Only in the code the main theme of the lyrical hero sounds convincing and the "last word" remains for the person.
  2. The second part of the work opens up new facets of the world of the lyrical hero. The listener enters the world of dreams, dreams and inspiration. The shape of the pieces - rondo with contrasting episodes. If the first episode complements and strengthens the refrain intonation, then the second episode introduces a sense of drama, it is composed in minor, and is the climax of this part. The mood of the refrain in the last performance changes, it becomes restless, due to the use of triol-like intonations, and creates the sensation of a storm coming in the music.
  3. The third part is written in the form of rondo and opens up new facets of a person’s character. He is ready to challenge the fate, the hero believes that there are no insurmountable situations. The energetic passages, which were unusually built in terms of the harmony of that time, the cadre turnovers — all this confirms the intentions of the lyrical hero. Refrain is written in the main key, namely in the c-moll, which is a reminder of the hard part of a person, of his path, which is filled with sadness and sadness. Episodes are reflections, they reflect feelings, experiences, as well as the unrestrained desire to win. The conflict in the code has a positive end. The man defeated the evil rock, he was stronger than fatum.

The concept of the work clearly describes the philosophy of choice: each person creates his own destiny. It all depends on the choice: give up or fight, become stronger and braver, or just drag a miserable existence. Only one decision can drastically change life. The main thing is not to go with the flow, being content with small things, but trying to grab fate by the throat, preventing it from destroying the ideal world. Fatum and rock are only consequences of choice, therefore we can create our way with our own hands and thoughts. Sonata proves it, because a person is capable of much, the main thing is to have faith in strength, and not to succumb to despondency.

In the sonata, Beethoven’s characteristic piano style is pronounced, which seriously differs from the work of French harpsichord masters. The bright colorfulness of the chords covering the range of the entire piano keyboard is inherent in Beethoven’s compositional style. Dynamic and imaginative contrast is present in each part of the work. The use of contrasting sound registers. Directness and clarity of harmony instead of ornamental and patterned. The active use of the pedal, which was rare for pianists and composers of that time era. All this helps Beethoven to create a truly individual, distinctive style. In consequence, music became the standard for expressing drama, and achieving clarity in musical thought. Such great composers as Brahms, Wagner, Onegger, Mussorgsky and other geniuses studied on the music text of the Patatic Sonata.

Use in the cinema

The music of "Pathetic Sonata" has a rather bright emotional coloring. Perhaps it is for this reason that many directors and cinematographers use music in their own works. To date, a masterpiece of classical music has added episodes of films such as:

  • Jurassic Park: The Lost World (1997)
  • Elysium is a paradise not on Earth (2013)
  • William Turner (2014)
  • Best man for rent (2015)
  • The Age of Innocence (1993)
  • Before the Dawn (1995)
  • Confessions of a Dangerous Person (2002)
  • Star Trek: Rise (1998)
  • Romy and Michel at the alumni meeting (1997)
  • The Lost World (1999)

Beethoven’s Sonata No. 8 justifies the meaning of a private number, because it has infinitely inexhaustible content. It will forever sound and find a response in the hearts of people. Each student will be able to comprehend the limitless world created by the genius composer, whose name is Ludwig van Beethoven.

Watch the video: The Best of Beethoven (October 2019).

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