Beethoven Cycle 2
Beethoven’s Second Sonata is an unalloyed joy, the playful exchange between the two players cannot but bring a smile to start the day’s music. The gentle Andante shows off the musicians’ softer side and the mild-mannered Rondo maintains the good-humoured mood. The Third Sonata in the Op.12 set puts the musicians under more pressure, Beethoven was after all a piano virtuoso and the opening Allegro sees him in full flight. There are more wonderful surprises waiting for us in this sonata especially in the glorious slow movement. The A minor Sonata opens with an aggressive Presto that gives some idea of Beethoven's ability to create musical drama out of some very terse material. There is a second gentler theme but it is rather overwhelmed by the fiery nature of the main idea. The strange Andante doubles as a Scherzo with its halting theme undergoing multiple transformations and tempi. The finale is a large-scale rondo and, like the previous movement, it generates a fresh surprise in each new episode, switching unpredictably from calm to tumult and back. Even the ending takes us unawares.