Cello Sonata No 3 in A major Op.69

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (b. 1770 - d. 1827)
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Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (b. 1770 - d. 1827)

Performance date: 07/07/2017

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: -

Duration: 00:27:57

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Duo

Artists: Dénes Várjon - [piano]
Camille Thomas - [cello]

1807 the rulers of France, Prussia and Russia signed the Treaties of
Tilsit. The terms imposed by Napoleon on Prussia were harsh. Prussia
lost about half its territory and all of its lands west of the River
Elbe. Out of these territories, Napoleon created the Kingdom of
Westphalia and chose his youngest brother; Jerome, to be the king.
Westphalia was to become a model state in political terms and
naturally a centre for music and culture as well. Accordingly King
Jerome decided to appoint as Kapellmeister the pre-eminent composer
of the day; Beethoven was offered this position at the new court of
King Jerome.

his ambivalence towards Napoleon, Beethoven was seriously tempted.
His life in Vienna continued to be a ramshackle affair of
unsatisfactory lodgings and unreliable publishers. If Beethoven moved
to Westphalia his financial problems would be over. Beethoven’s
Viennese friends were worried. There seemed a strong possibility that
Beethoven would leave Vienna. To avert this calamity, two of his
friends, the amateur cellist Baron von Gleichenstein and the Countess
Erdody persuaded three of the richest aristocrats who supported
Beethoven to provide him with a generous pension for life provided he
remained in Vienna. Luckily, Beethoven chose to accept the pension
and did remain in Vienna for the rest of his life. The Kingdom of
Westphalia was dissolved in 1813. Even in 1808, Beethoven was
grateful to his two friends for arranging the pension. As a gesture
of thanks, he dedicated important works to both of them. The Third
Cello Sonata was dedicated to von Gleichenstien.

Sonata opens with the solo cello playing the main theme of the
movement. The theme ends with a downward phrase. This is answered by
the piano with a gentle rising figure. The effect is poised, calm and
serene. It is clear from this opening that the cello and the piano
are on equal terms in a way which is quite different from Beethoven’s
earlier cello sonatas where the piano dominates. In addition the
tempo is relaxed. This is not going to be a stormy first movement in
the manner of some of Beethoven’s famous middle period works. It
has the serene, magisterial manner of some of his later chamber works
such as the Archduke Trio and the last Violin Sonata.

emotional heart of the Sonata is the finale. The slow introduction,
which wonderfully exploits the cello’s lyricism, seems as if it
might develop into a beautiful slow movement. But after less than
twenty bars, it moves into an

in full blown sonata form. The main theme bustles gaily along. The
contrasting second subject again has the cello making sweeping leaps
while the piano replies on its own with a balancing phrase of
repeated chords. The finale reaches a climax in the coda where the
opening theme is developed by both instruments to reach a climax of
joyous good humour. Rarely in the history of financial services can a
satisfied customer have expressed his thanks so beautifully well as
in this great Sonata.