Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor ("Pathétique"), Op. 13

    Description by Robert Cummings

    This was the earliest of Beethoven's piano sonatas to reach warhorse status. The work is cast in three movements: the first is marked Grave-Allegro di molto e con brio; the second, Adagio cantabile; and the finale, Rondo (Allegro). Beethoven opens this composition with a slow, meditative introduction, using this feature for the first time in a sonata. Seemingly posing a question, or struggling to overcome a dilemma, the music seeks resolution and relief, which appears in the exposition proper, when the movement, driven by tremolando octaves in the left hand, quickens, and theme transforms itself into deeply anxious utterance, introducing, once again, a questing, uncertain mood, without excluding forceful utterances, possibly indicating a desire to transcend the feeling of uncertainty. During the brief development section, a sense of dramatic tension predominates, but the general tone changes in the recapitulation, leading to a coda, which closes the movement. The second movement begins with a soothing, languid, melancholy melody of an autumnal beauty. Dominating the entire movement, this initial theme eclipses both the subdued second theme and the moment of dramatic tension in the middle section of the movement. The Rondo finale is really the second Rondo in the sonata, since the middle movement possesses the structural features of that form. This movement opens with a gracefully eloquent theme accompanied by arpeggiated figures played by the left hand. Although the mood seems bright, the music is tinged by melancholy, notwithstanding the playful second theme. Following repetition and thematic development, the first theme surfaces as simultaneously more agile and more delicate. A lengthy, brilliant coda completes the movement. Dedicated to Prince Lichnowsky, this composition was first published in Vienna in 1799.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Grave - Allegro di molto e con brio
    2. Andante [Adagio] cantabile
    3. Rondo. Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Marquis / Marquis Classics MQS 81523
    2016 ABC Classics
    2016 ABC Classics 4814556
    2016 Musical Concepts MCS 154
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295975050
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894795516
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon B002436502
    2016 Claudio / Claudio Records CR 60342
    2016 Claudio / Claudio Records CR 60346
    2016 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 88875032272
    2016 Exton 71
    2016 Musical Concepts MCS 3201
    2016 Piano Classics PCLM 0104
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894794110
    2016 Sentient Spirit Records
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 TwoPianists TP 1039190
    2015 Naxos 8573400
    2015 Tuxedo Music TUXCD 1075
    2015 Avie AV 2320
    2015 Sony Classical 88875032222
    2015 Accent ACC 24311
    2015 Victor Elmaleh Collection VEC 110
    2015 Decca 002369302
    2015 ABC Classics ABC 4812226
    2015 IDIS IDIS 6696
    2015 Andromeda ANDRCD 9123
    2014 Claves
    2014 Claves CD 50130413
    2014 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4794120
    2014 Oehms Classics OC 879
    2014 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186490
    2014 BIS BIS 2000
    2014 Decca
    2014 Three Oranges Recordings 3OR 11
    2014 Three Oranges Recordings
    2014 Telos / Telos Music TLS 190
    2014 Broken Audio BRAU 1160
    2014 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 MSR Classics MS 1466
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2013 Mirare MIR 187
    2013 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 Broken Audio BRAU 0910
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 Sleeveless SLV 1001
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    2013 TYX Art TXA 13028
    2012 Maestro Music MMDC 04
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099970490
    2012 Entertainment Group 11806
    2012 Regis / Regis Records RRC 1384
    2012 Decca
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    2004 Newport Classic 60171/3
    2004 Brilliant 92387
    2004 Laserlight 40027
    2004 Dynamic 432/1-9
    2004 Brilliant 92132
    2004 Prima Music Productio 615545
    2004 United Audio Entertai 6290
    2003 Seraphim UK
    2003 Artemis Classics 1193
    2003 Andante 1110
    2003 PentaTone Classics PTC5186023
    2003 Decca 473845
    2003 Naxos 8110695
    2003 Sony Classical Essential Classics 87993
    2003 Delta Distribution 40031
    2003 DG Deutsche Grammophon 000085502
    2003 Virgin 45575
    2003 Delta Distribution 40040
    2003 Sony Classical 90395
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    2003 Angelok 1 8801
    2002 St. Clair 3090
    2002 Intersound 2602
    2002 APR (Appian) 5580
    2002 Erato 89225
    2002 Sony Classical SMK 87858
    2002 Vox Music Group 90107
    2002 Koch Schwann 31499
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74800
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    2002 Decca 467 487-2
    2002 Music & Arts 4640
    2002 Eroica Distribution 3058
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    2002 Brilliant 205211
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    2001 BCI-Eclipse Distribution 40027
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    2000 Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 563
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    1997 DG Deutsche Grammophon 453724
    1997 Excelsior Recordings 31002
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    1997 Regency Music 81180
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    1996 DG Deutsche Grammophon 447404
    1996 Vox 7529
    1996 Camerata Records 32CM 127
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    1996 Analekta 24010
    1996 Arte Nova 40739
    1996 Intersound 2522
    1996 Melodiya 40116
    1996 Madacy 8722
    1996 Melodiya 29460
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    1995 Orfeo 270921
    1995 DG Deutsche Grammophon 447914
    1995 Pavane 7071
    1995 ZYX Music 4061
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    1991 DG Deutsche Grammophon 429306
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    1984 London 410 260-2DH
    1983 DG Deutsche Grammophon 400 036-2GH
    Dante 107120
    The Piano Library 223
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