Essay by geoffreykunUniversity, Bachelor's July 2004

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Beethoven's Violin Sonatas

Beethoven composed ten sonatas, except for the last, all date from the "First Period". He wrote the first nine within six years, and the final work in the form almost a decade later. The set of Three Sonatas in D, A, and E-flat, op.12, dates from 1797-98; the Sonatas in A minor and F, 0pp.23 and 24, from 1800-1801; and the Three sonatas in A, C minor, and G, op.30, which were dedicated to Czar Alexander. Among these, only opus 24 and 30, no.2, are in four movements, the others using the customary three-movement layout. By the time he wrote his first violin sonata, he was a self-confident utterances of a composer and wrote his music in his originality. As a violinist himself, Beethoven had the knowledge of using the modified bow and violin and took the advantages of the modified violin to make his sonatas more expressive and dynamic, especially in the virtuosic display passages.

Also, many of Beethoven's sonatas were influenced by the elements of French music. The crowning achievement of these sonatas are the famous "Kreutzer" Sonata, no. 9, in A Minor, and the wonderful rendition of Op.24 in F, the "Spring" Sonata. These ten sonatas are one of the Beethoven's main chamber music.

Although Beethoven was not an outstanding violinist, he had the love for the instrument and knew very well about the advantages of using the modified bow and violin. The design and construction of most of the violins made before 1800c were modified in the interests of increased tonal volume and brilliance, effected chiefly by


subjecting the instrument to greater tensions through the use of a thinner, higher bridge and an increased playing length of string. Beethoven showed the capability of

the new violin especially in the Sonata in A,