Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 10. No. 1, is one of Beethoven’s first period compositions and was composed between 1796-98. It is a precursor to his more famous “Pathetique” Sonata and his Symphony No.5; it is even nicknamed the “little Pathetique” as they share many of the same traits.

This sonata, along with the other sonatas of his Op.10, was dedicated by Beethoven to Anna Margarete von Browne, who was the wife of one of Beethoven’s patrons, a Russian diplomat in Vienna.

This sonata is a very energetic and fun piece to play! It is very dramatic and explosive, and has stark sudden dynamic changes throughout the piece. The dynamics can shift from double forte and sforzando, down to piano and mezzo forte seemingly at an instant. Because it is so enjoyable to play this piece, I found it difficult in the beginning to practice methodically, as I just wanted to play it through.  However, I eventually began the journey of slow, methodical and sectionalized practice. Once I began this journey, the biggest struggles that I faced were keeping a steady tempo and not rushing.  As the piece is very exciting, it was, and sometimes still is, easy to get carried away and find myself starting at the piece’s tempo marking of, “Allegro con brio,” and ending in Presto!  I also found the process of polishing the piece very difficult. This is because, with Beethoven, and other classical era composers, there are so many little details, such as two note slurs, staccatos, and crisp and clean movements, that form the piece, that one must have these details close to perfect, or the piece won’t sound right.

After finally learning and polishing the piece, the images that this piece invokes came into view. The first, fitting ironically with this Halloween season, is exploring a dark old abandoned castle and being surprised at each corner; and, the second image, more fitting with Beethoven’s time, is a masquerade party with a scavenger hunt at a palace, and everyone is having a good time while searching for the clues.

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    Dr. Marcia Bosits
    Dr. Marcia Bosits(@marcia-bosits)
    10 months ago

    Picture This dramatic photo matches your and our understanding of the piece.  It shows both darkness (represented by the key of the movement as well as other features) and surprise.  In addition, you made a connection to societal norms in Beethoven’s time which is quite admirable.  Introduction Bravo to you for giving us a historical perspective on this piece.  We learn something from considering its connection to other Beethoven compositions, i.e. the… Read more »

    Julie Harris
    Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
    11 months ago

    Hi Myles! Ever since I heard you play the Liszt Consolation in the last contest, I’ve been a great fan of yours, eager to hear you play again. Your Beethoven is another great presentation! I wasn’t familiar with this sonata, and was intrigued to hear that it is sometimes called the “little Pathetique”. As a teacher, I’m always eager to learn, so I was thrilled to learn so much from your presentation.… Read more »

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    11 months ago

    Lovely music and presentation, Myles. Well done.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Lotchie Carmelo
    7 months ago

    Congrats, Myles.

    Lola Mestas
    Lola Mestas(@lola-mestas)
    10 months ago

    Wonderful perfomance!

    Julie Harris
    Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
    10 months ago

    Congratulations on your well-deserved win, Myles. Also congratulations on winning the Public Voting contest! You must have a lot of dedicated fans. Thanks so much for bringing this wonderful music to a wider audience.

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