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best Beethoven sonate to start with (Read 2400 times)

Offline gjkoster

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best Beethoven sonate to start with
« on: May 30, 2007, 12:04:44 PM »
Hi,

I'm playing for about 2,5 years now and I really like the Beethoven sonates. I have the Gilels collection of the sonates (although not completely played by him) and also the dvd of Sokolovs recital in Paris where he played Beethoven sonates. I think ther're Superb! I'm able to play op 27:1 (moonlight) and part 13:2 (pathetique part 2) myself but I would like to play a complete sonate. Both 27 and 13 are a bit out of my league, 27 because of part 3 and 13 because of 1 and 2. I can think of other sonates but before you know it, there are quite difficult and very long (like the pastorale, op 28)...

In other words: which complete sonate would you start with???

Sheet music to download and print: Sonatas by Beethoven



Offline failed

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #1 on: May 30, 2007, 09:12:27 PM »
Beethoven wrote two "easy sonatas" op.49,1 and 2.
I think they are good to start with..

Offline kd

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #2 on: May 30, 2007, 11:09:48 PM »
Or the sonata Op. 79 in G major, which is a bit harder than the Op. 49 ones, but still sometimes considered a "sonatina", so it should be manageable. Plus it has the advantage of having 3 full movements in standard sonata form, which cannot be said about Op. 49.

Offline gjkoster

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #3 on: May 31, 2007, 10:35:16 AM »
Ok, thanks for the suggestions! They both will be a challenge but I'll give it a try.

Offline rc

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #4 on: May 31, 2007, 08:30:12 PM »
Consider too, that you could learn the slow movement of a sonata and come back to learn the fast ones later on.

You mentioned the 'pastorale', also one of my favorites, though the fast movements are still beyond me the slow movement was the first full piece of music I learned.

Beethoven sonatas are the reason I took up piano.  One day I will do them justice and play them for everyone I know.

Offline phil13

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #5 on: May 31, 2007, 10:02:36 PM »
You could learn separate mvts., as rc said, but I prefer to learn full pieces, as usually there is a greater sense of wholeness and unity from playing an entire sonata. It's also very satisfying when you finish a large piece like that.

I second, and furthermore highly recommend, Op.79. I don't much like the Op.49s, but if you find Op.79 too much for you, go for No.2, then No.1.

Phil

Offline elevateme_returns

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #6 on: May 31, 2007, 10:23:40 PM »
op 2 no 1 f minor
elevateme's joke of the week:
If John Terry was a Spartan, the movie 300 would have been called "1."

Offline phil13

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #7 on: May 31, 2007, 10:24:52 PM »
Only if Op.79 is too easy, though.

Phil

Offline kd

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #8 on: May 31, 2007, 10:35:31 PM »
op 2 no 1 f minor

I don't recommend it as a first sonata. The first three movement are actually quite manageable, but the 4th movement (Prestissimo) is very challenging. Actually, it took me longer than the 1st movement of Op. 2 No. 3 in C major and the latter sonata obviously cannot be considered a good one to start with. This may come from my personal opinion, but besides keeping your hands fully relaxed (which is basically the only difficulty in the 1st movement of Op. 79), in order to manage Op. 2/1 mvt 4 you would have a hard time with all these descending and ascending arpeggios (sometimes in awkward positions), stretches, some nasty trills, coordination and evenness and a lot more. It has to be a furious movement after all. To show and convey this fury clearly you would have to work for months.

Incidentally, Op. 2 No. 1 was my first Beethoven sonata, but now I regret it was. Not that it is not a very nice piece to play, it is of course. But apart from technical struggle to learn it I also encountered many structural problems (I mean you have to comprehend texture, phrasing, articulation etc. to learn the sonata well). I strongly feel that after a preparation with a lighter sonata, like one of Op. 49 or Op. 79, these structural problems will become much easier to overcome and focusing on technique development will be more efficient.

Take Op. 79, this will probably be a challenge but on a reasonable level.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #9 on: May 31, 2007, 11:09:06 PM »
I think op 2 no. 1 was also the first complete sonata I did. I really don't think it's the easiest to start with. The op 49 pair and op 79 are fairly obvious suggestions; alternatively how about op 14 no. 1? Op 10 no. 2 is ok too, but the last movement could well prove tricky.

Offline kd

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #10 on: May 31, 2007, 11:19:30 PM »
how about op 14 no. 1? Op 10 no. 2 is ok too, but the last movement could well prove tricky.

The last movement of Op. 14 No. 1 is probably going to prove at least as tricky (look at the desceding broken chords on white and black keys, descending LH scales in many keys, the exposed middle section, the broken rhythm near the end etc.) as the last movement of Op. 10 No. 2. They both qualify as easier Beethoven sonatas, but that does not alter the fact that their absolute level of difficulty is still quite high.

A good thing about both sonatas is that they are rather underplayed, which does not do them justice they deserve.

Overall, it seems that apart from the Op. 49 set and the Op. 79 sonata, all the other sonatas are significantly harder. Hence it appears fairly reasonable to start with one of them before proceeding to others.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #11 on: May 31, 2007, 11:26:02 PM »
You could well be right; personally I found the last movement of op 10 no 2 much harder than op 14 no 1 when I learnt them (many years ago). I was just looking to put some other relatively easy sonatas forward for consideration. Probably I'm a little biased because I like op 10/2 and op 14/1 a lot more than op 79 and the op 49s.

Offline kd

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #12 on: May 31, 2007, 11:54:30 PM »
Probably I'm a little biased because I like op 10/2 and op 14/1 a lot more than op 79 and the op 49s.

I don't think you're biased. Your statement simply reflects the fact that 10/2 and 14/1 are serious sonatas suitable for concert performances, while the op 49s are "designed" by Beethoven himself to be rather works for practice and improvement (they were published about 10 or so years after being composed). It is absolutely natural to like "serious" sonatas more, I just meant it is good to have an introduction to the "serious" world through perhaps a bit less musically appealing pieces, but thus easier to master and to comprehend. After all you can't start your adventure with the Beethoven sonatas with the Appasionata as your first choice (see somewhere on YouTube how Lang Lang smashes it musically during a masterclass with Daniel Barenboim).

It's like with the WTC. Some of the preludes and fugues aren't extraordinarily demanding, but it is highly recommended to go through the Inventions first.

Offline ryanyee

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #13 on: August 15, 2007, 07:50:05 AM »
i started it with his moonlight sonata. but i don't think it is the best sonata to begin with. or is it?

Offline hasekamp

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #14 on: November 17, 2007, 02:42:55 PM »
Try the bagatelles opus 119. They are 'really Beethoven', but easier than the sonatas. I love them.
Rene.

Offline counterpoint

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #15 on: November 17, 2007, 03:11:14 PM »
Try the bagatelles opus 119. They are 'really Beethoven', but easier than the sonatas. I love them.
Rene.

Bagtelles first, that was my first thought too!

But I would prefer the Bagatelles op.33

Or some of the easier Variations.
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline bob3.1415926

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #16 on: November 17, 2007, 03:37:35 PM »
The first one I learned completely was the pastoral, op.28. It's very nice, mostly not too difficult. The coda at the end of the 4th movement is by far the hardest part of the sonata, although when played well sounds very impressive, and ends the sonata with a real bang.

Offline jehangircama

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #17 on: November 17, 2007, 06:17:17 PM »
Hammerklavier  ;D kidding; but amongst the ones i've done, the op 10/1 in C minor was quite manageable, however i got a bit put off with this sonata after some time.
You either do or do not. There is no try- Yoda

Life is like a piano, what you get out of it depends on how you play it

Offline alpacinator1

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #18 on: November 18, 2007, 07:39:37 PM »
Or a Sonatina. Sonatina in G is around level 5. Sonatina in D is a little trickier. The first movement is about level 6, the second around level 8 (It's actually quite challenging!).

They're more manageable than the sonatas, because they're a bit easier and only have 2 movements. (An exception being the second movement of Sonatina in D. That's got to be as hard as the third movement of Moonlight...)There are Sonatinas other than D and G. but those are the two I have experience with.
Working on:
Beethoven - Waldstein Sonata
Bach - C minor WTC I
Liszt - Liebestraume no. 3
Chopin - etude 25-12

Offline mike_lang

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #19 on: November 18, 2007, 08:24:31 PM »
Does anyone know anything about three Beethoven sonatas without opus number?

Offline counterpoint

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Re: best Beethoven sonate to start with
«Reply #20 on: November 18, 2007, 10:25:03 PM »
Does anyone know anything about three Beethoven sonatas without opus number?

These are perhaps the three "Kurfürsten Sonaten" WoO 47 which Beethoven composed at the age of 11. They have the dedication "Dem Kurfürsten Erzbischof zu Cöln Maximilian Friedrich gewidmet"

The first is in Eb major,  the second in F minor and the third in D major.
If it doesn't work - try something different!