Ludwig van Beethoven

Sonata for violin & piano No. 10 in G major ("The Cockcrow"), Op. 96

    Description by John Palmer

    Beethoven composed the Violin Sonata in G major, Op. 96, just before a near cessation of serious music composition in 1813. The gradual reduction in output after 1812 may have been related to Beethoven's unsuccessful search for a woman with whom to share his life, which apparently reached its apex in the fall of 1812 with the "Immortal Beloved" crisis. The year 1812, however, saw the completion of the Seventh and Eighth symphonies and the Op. 96 Violin Sonata, as well as an expansion of Beethoven's fame and reputation both at home and abroad. By this time his works appeared on concert programs as frequently as those of Mozart and Haydn.

    The Sonata in G major was written for celebrated French violinist Pierre Rode and dedicated to Archduke Rudolph, a patron and student of Beethoven. Rode and the Archduke gave the first public performance of the sonata on December 29, 1812, four years before the work was published in Vienna by Steiner. Sketched in early or mid-1812, the sonata was completed in November, just after Beethoven had returned from visiting his brother in Linz, where he had finished the Eighth Symphony. The Op. 96 sonata features none of the tempestuousness of the "Kreutzer" Sonata, and Sydney Finkelstein has written that "the mood [of Op. 96] is one of gentle lyricism, with but glimpses of the profound depths of experience and conquest of pain that had made possible the achievement of this serenity." The work provides an unexpected close to Beethoven's so-called "middle" period.

    From the outset of the first movement it is clear that the symphonic energy of the "Kreutzer" Sonata is nowhere to be found. Beethoven forgoes the slow introduction and the tempo Presto intensity, creating a more contemplative atmosphere. However, we still find an abundance of material, with numerous thematic elements in the exposition, in the middle of which a hint of B flat major anticipates the "flat key" passages in the recapitulation and the E flat major key of the second movement. The falling, sighing segment of the second closing theme dominates the development section, which subtly trills its way into the recapitulation. As in the first movement of the Op. 47 sonata, developmental treatment of the first theme occurs only in the extended coda. The hymn-like harmonic movement of the opening theme creates a sense of repose in the second movement. Marked Adagio espressivo, the sonata-form structure lacks a development section, a typical attribute of slow-movement sonata form. Beethoven indicated there be no break between the Adagio and the ensuing Scherzo. Beethoven cast the Scherzo in G minor, followed by a Trio in E flat major. The Scherzo section, with its detached melody and accompaniment, ends in such a way that the transition to G major in the coda is almost imperceptible. The only surprise is that the movement ends in the major, not the minor. Pastoral qualities permeate the finale, a set of variations on a simple, eight-measure theme. The variations proceed without interruption, at one point changing from 2/4 to 6/8 meter for a slow lyrical segment that pushes toward E flat major and a literal statement of the theme before moving on to the next variation. A G minor variation that resembles the first theme of the first movement precedes a return to the finale theme on the tonic key. Beethoven closes with a witty, Adagio-Presto coda.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro moderato
    2. Adagio espressivo
    3. Scherzo. Allegro
    4. Poco allegretto

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Chandos CHAN 108883
    2016 Skylark Music SKY 0101
    2016 Gramola GRAM 99106
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4795964
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646777068
    2016 Warner Classics 555054
    2015 Challenge Classics CC 72650
    2015 Music & Arts MACD 1282
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4794708
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon B002364402
    2014 Warner Classics 541222
    2014 Warner Classics 2564634929
    2014 Gramola GRAM 99050
    2014 Erato 2564624223
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2013 Le Marquis / Marquis Classics MQSCD 81517
    2013 Phaia Music PHU 03234
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 Decca
    2013 RCA Red Seal 8876544015
    2013 Regis Records 7010
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon 001649002
    2012 Zig Zag / Zig Zag Territoires ZIG 307
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94310
    2012 Bridge / The Bridge BRIDGE 9389AD
    2012 Supraphon SU 40772
    2012 Documents 233558
    2012 Music & Arts MA 1225
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894779464
    2011 Doremi Records DHR 80113
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94052
    2011 Wigmore Hall 41
    2011 Testament 1458
    2011 Doremi Records DHR-8006-8
    2011 IDIS IDIS 6618
    2010 EtCetera Records 1904
    2010 Erato
    2010 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099964200
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Ars Produktion 38085
    2010 Nimbus 2553/56
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Decca 4782541
    2010 Decca
    2010 Music & Arts 1244
    2010 Genuin 89161
    2009 Doremi Records 7946-9
    2009 IDIS / Ital Disc 656062
    2009 Accent 24211
    2009 Haenssler 93702
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926504
    2009 Decca 4781149
    2009 Decca
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926413
    2008 Biddulph Recordings 80228
    2008 DG Deutsche Grammophon 447058
    2008 Romeo Entertainment 7266/8
    2008 Berlin Classics 149312
    2008 Brilliant 8712
    2008 Woodhouse Editions 803/6
    2008 Brilliant 93161
    2007 Brilliant 93329
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93525
    2007 Cascade Records 2200
    2007 Claves 2610
    2007 EMI Classics 3777672
    2007 EMI Classics 87739
    2007 ASV 4023
    2007 Decca 4758460
    2007 Decca
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946381756
    2007 Challenge Classics 72174
    2006 Preiser Records 90703
    2006 Cypres 1640
    2006 Rca Red Seal 667888
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0946365224
    2006 Warner Classics
    2006 Brilliant 93030
    2005 DG Deutsche Grammophon 000459902
    2005 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2005 Decca 4756835
    2005 Supraphon 3857
    2005 Warner Classics 61948
    2004 DG Deutsche Grammophon 474648
    2004 Artemis Classics 1585
    2004 Music & Arts 1143
    2004 Brilliant 92387
    2004 Symposium 1312
    2003 Metier 2003
    2003 Classica d'Oro 2019
    2003 Doremi Records 7807
    2002 Centaur Records 2803/05
    2002 DG Deutsche Grammophon 471495
    2002 Calliope 3251/3
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74804
    2002 Sony Music Distribution 87856
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 74447
    2001 DG Deutsche Grammophon 463605
    2001 Philips 468406
    2001 Aura Classics 0126
    2000 Music & Arts 4860
    2000 Biddulph Recordings 80201
    1999 Brilliant 99093
    1999 Pearl 9400
    1999 Fono Enterprise 340
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 73650
    1999 Decca 4368952
    1999 Grammofono 2000 78876
    1999 Iron Needle 1425
    1999 Music & Arts 4665
    1999 Biddulph Recordings 124/5
    1998 Nimbus Records 5557
    1998 DG Deutsche Grammophon 457619
    1998 DG Deutsche Grammophon 459014
    1998 DG Deutsche Grammophon 459 067-2GCC10
    1998 Biddulph Recordings LAB161
    1997 DG Deutsche Grammophon 453 743-2GCB4
    1996 Sony Classical 67196
    1996 Philips 446524
    1996 Sony Classical 64524
    1996 Camerata Records 30CM416
    1996 DG Deutsche Grammophon 447054
    1995 Vox / Vox Box 3503
    1995 Music & Arts 860
    1995 Live Classics 144
    1994 Naxos 550285
    1993 Sony Classical 52688
    1993 Pearl GEMMCD9026
    1991 Sony Music Distribution 46342
    1988 London 421453
    1984 Philips 412570
    One-Eleven 97013
    MusicMasters 67197
    LYS 444-445
    BMG 60991
    RCA 7706
    Cascade Records 2240
    Amado Classics 03023
    Warner Music
    Sarx 2030
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 415874
    Ermitage 112
    Wilson Audiophile 8315
    CBS Masterworks 45683
    Meridian Records 89019
    DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 38223-25
    Calliope 9251
    Brilliant 99116
    Brilliant 93161/7
    Brilliant 92387/23
    Fono Enterprise 99346
    CBS Records Masterworks 39681
    CBS Records 39681
    RCA 61219
    Lys 33/35
    Brilliant 93525/32
    Classica d'Oro 2004
    London 411948
    Fono Enterprise 99365
    Grammofono 2000 78884
    Monopoly 2042
    Magic 48011
    Brilliant 8712/3
    BMG 0902661747
    Brilliant 93030/3
    Music & Arts 665
    Music & Arts 779
    Chambermusik Records 52523
    Musical Heritage 5091707
    Eufoda 1130