Beethoven – piano sonata no 7, in D major, opus 10, no 3‏

Euterpe - Apollo and the Muses - Helene Knoop 1979 - Norwegian Figurative painter - Tutt'Art@

EuterpeApollo and the Muses (2008 – 9)

Helene Knoop


if the piano sonata no 4 of Beethoven,
in E flat, opus 7, was academic, an
exercise, a display of technical
dexterity and some, admittedly,
even mighty, compositional verve,
it lacked, in my estimation, a centre,
a convincing motivating factor, a muse,
though ever ardent, ever entertaining,
it is ultimately arid, I think, trite, I’m
not, one is not, keen on returning to it

but in the piano sonata no 7, in D major,
opus 10, no 3
, Beethoven hits, I submit,
his stride, this sonata is enchanting

note the similarities of structure
between the two, the order of the
movements with identical, essentially,
tempo patterns, notably the middle
slow movement, in the first a largo,
con gran expressione,
slow with
great expression, in the latter, a
largo e mesta, slow with sadness,
where Beethoven plumbs, evidently,
the limits of pacing, the time lapse
between two notes, the capacity for
silence of this new instrument, the
pianoforte, of which he’ll look into
also, and even vigorously, its
capacity for volume, the crashing
introduction to his celebrated 8th,
for instance, to establish the
instrument’s new perimeters

you’ll note you can listen to the later
largo, the opus 10, no 3, forever, you
can get lost in its aural world, I can’t
think of anywhere else right now a
more profound largo

the other movements are dazzling
in their thrilling prestidigitation, all
organically sound, and, crucially,
motivationally centred, I think, this
is indeed music, magisterial music,
Beethoven’s not just kidding
anymore, he’s hitched onto his
proper inspirational deity, his own
private Euterpe, music’s muse, and
we’re in for something, from here
on, of a ride

note the cool riff closing off the last
movement, Beethoven in the guise
of Gene Kelly stepping in for a
breezy good-bye, prefiguring, of
course, XXth-Century music, and
the serendipitous extrapolations
of jazz


psst: incidentally, the headings, largo,
con gran expressione, largo e
are entirely Romantic
musical notions, notations,
Classical composers would’ve
been too sedate, formal, courtly,
for such flagrant sentiment