Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Sonata No. 6 in F major, Op. 10/2

    Description by Robert Cummings

    This is the shortest of the three sonatas from the Op. 10 group and generally regarded as the least important. Still, it is hardly without significance and features many masterful strokes. The finale, for example, is one of Beethoven's most attractive creations among his early piano sonatas. The composer himself was quite fond of the work, probably relishing its humor and quirkiness.

    The work is cast in three movements: Allegro, Allegretto, and Presto. It was not unusual for Beethoven to exclude a slow movement. The first movement begins with two emphatic chords answered by a triplet figure that contains a mischievous turn, which literally invites the next statement. It comes, though this time the first chord is lower. After this opening banter, another short theme is introduced, and it easily, despite its lyrical nature, joins the playful scene. A second theme group now appears, headed by a happy but brash melody: rising in a hurry, it proceeds to generate other busy ideas. The material is repeated, after which comes the development section, launched unexpectedly by the triplet figure that appeared after the opening pair of chords. Fairly complex, this section is based less on previous materials and more on new ideas. The recapitulation follows, but, surprisingly, in the remote key of D. The movement ends without a coda, its thematic material being exploited colorfully and brilliantly right up to the close. The second movement is actually a scherzo, though Beethoven did not designate it so. It begins with emphatic chords treading upward ominously from the lower ranges. When the higher register is reached, the mood reaches a somewhat higher plateau. The theme is immediately repeated, then appears two octaves higher, lighter in texture but deeper in feeling. A brief trio section is presented: it is both jovial and comforting and contrasts well with the more serious tone of the previous section. The finale may be the most attractive movement of the entire work. It begins with one of those memorable, frantic humorous themes, so typical of Beethoven. The melody seems to build upward with several turns along the way, the left hand beginning, the right hand entering to suggest fugal properties. Playful and roguish, driven by tremendous energy, the musical narrative proceeds with gusto, the main theme generating subsidiary ideas and second thoughts. Toward the end of this process, chords in the bass register suggest an entirely new idea, but the narrative momentum is maintained by a fragment of the initial theme, eventually leading, following a repetition, to a variation of the theme. After an elaborate development section and a reprise, a brief but brilliant coda closes the work.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro
    2. Allegretto
    3. Presto

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295975050
    2016 TYX Art TXA 16071
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon B002436502
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Ondine ODE 12682D
    2015 Avie AV 2320
    2015 Sony Classical 88875032222
    2015 APR (Appian) APR 7701
    2015 Andromeda ANDRCD 9123
    2014 Claves CD 50130413
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4794120
    2014 Claves
    2014 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186490
    2014 BIS BIS 2000
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2013 Mirare MIR 187
    2013 Caro Mitis CM 32011
    2013 ATMA Classique ACD 22490
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 Entertainment Group 6103
    2013 Challenge Classics CC 72599
    2013 Decca 4785093
    2012 Decca
    2012 Decca
    2012 EMI Classics
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099946495228
    2012 EMI Classics 3275022
    2012 Chandos CHAN 107203
    2012 Anima Records ANM 080600001
    2012 Marquis Classics 774718151322
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Sony Classical 88725412862
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 ICA Classics ICAC 5055
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94052
    2011 Cambria CD 11751185
    2011 Decca 478 2607
    2011 Decca 4782607
    2011 Transart Live TR101
    2011 Azica Records ACD 71269
    2011 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2011 Oxford Philomusica OP 002
    2011 PentaTone Classics 5186377
    2011 Zig Zag Territoires 111101
    2011 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2011 TGG Direct 60258
    2011 RCA Red Seal 88697875102
    2011 Transart Live / Transart Live TR111
    2010 Deux-Elles 1161
    2010 Musical Concepts ALN 1901
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94075
    2010 Chandos 10616
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Hyperion 67797
    2010 IBA [Idil Biret Archives] / Naxos 8571266
    2010 Bridge 9274
    2010 Solal 6
    2010 Orfeo 808109
    2010 Sony Classical 88697685272
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Decca 00028947821410
    2009 Harmonia Mundi 290190211
    2009 Decca 4781821
    2009 Document / Documents 223051
    2009 IDI / IDIS / Ital Disc 6573/74
    2009 Bridge 9297
    2009 Documents Classics / Membran 232670
    2009 Haenssler / Hänssler Classic 98200
    2008 Decca 4657132
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 447966
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon
    2008 Thorofon / Zebralution
    2008 Sony Music Distribution 714795
    2008 Harmonia Mundi HMC90 1909/11
    2008 Harmonia Mundi 901909
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 453221
    2008 Berlin Classics 184472
    2008 Chandos 9101
    2008 Avi 8553088
    2008 Brilliant 93761
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93525
    2007 Cascade Records 2200
    2007 Cascavelle 3100
    2007 EMI Classics 3777672
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    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 000860602
    2007 Parlophone
    2006 Connoisseur Society 4261
    2006 Universal
    2006 BIS 1472
    2006 Melodiya MELCD 1000824
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon
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    2006 Brilliant 99002
    2006 Decca 4757498
    2006 EMI Classics 347826
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 Romeo Entertainment 7233/41
    2005 Brilliant 92773
    2005 Haenssler 98201
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 Decca 4756835
    2004 Newport Classic 59001
    2004 Stradivarius 33669
    2004 Vanguard Classics 1487
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon 000303402
    2004 Resonance 101
    2004 EMI Classics 62700
    2004 Newport Classic 60171/3
    2004 Dynamic 432/1-9
    2003 BBC Legends / BBC Music 41222
    2003 Warner Classics
    2003 Sony Classical Essential Classics 87993
    2003 Cascavelle 3055
    2002 Naxos 8110694
    2002 Music & Arts 4640
    2002 Brilliant 205211
    2001 Tahra 394/400
    2001 Classica d'Oro 9001
    2001 Hungaroton 41003
    2001 Claves 502004
    2000 Arte Nova 40740
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 65465
    2000 Arkadia 78532
    2000 GM Recordings 5001
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 56761
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463127
    1999 Brilliant 99093
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    1999 Deutsche Grammophon
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon
    1998 GM Recordings 2057
    1998 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243572912
    1998 Philips 462358
    1998 Zephyr 10297
    1998 Zephyr 97
    1997 Nimbus 1774
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453724
    1997 Bongiovanni 5583
    1997 London 443706
    1996 Philips 446909
    1996 Vox 7529
    1996 Hungaroton 31626
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    1996 Analekta 24010
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    1994 Sony Music Distribution 64490
    1994 Naxos 505002
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    1993 Elecktra Nonsuch 79328
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    1991 Deutsche Grammophon 429306
    1991 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0777763765
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    1990 EMI Music Distribution 62901
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 413759
    1990 Telarc Distribution 80237
    1990 Philips 412575
    1990 Teldec 71719
    Dante 107120
    The Piano Library 234
    Ades 14134
    Forlane 16597
    Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 5010
    Classica d'Oro 3015
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    Cascade Records 2220
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    London 425590
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    Denon Records 78849
    Erato
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    Brilliant 93525/46
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    Arte Nova 7432130460
    Philips CISpf
    Fonit-Cetra Italia 1005
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    ECM 000592202
    Brilliant 99005
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    Denon Records 84488
    Pyramid Records 13500
    EMI Music Distribution 62863
    Historical Piano 070
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    Liana Lam
    Brilliant 205212