Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101

    Description by Robert Cummings

    Beethoven's Sonata No. 28 is a generally subdued work, like its immediate predecessor. Unlike that piece, however, it foreshadows the styles and trends of the future and, though sometimes overlooked, deserves the attention of pianists and listeners. According to Schindler, who was not always a reliable source, Beethoven described the first movement of this sonata as containing "impressions and reveries." The latter word appears to fit the generally dreamy and peaceful mood of this movement. It is short and carries the description "Etwas lebhaft, und mit der innigsten Empfindung" (Somewhat lively, and with the most ardent perception). Obviously, the composer was hoping to draw the pianist's attention to the many subtleties of the piece. The work begins with a peaceful but hesitant theme (Allegretto ma non troppo), whose character suggests that there is a sense of insecurity even in moments of tranquillity. The melody also seems to augur the mellow and quirky side of Brahms' artistic persona. As the movement progresses, the theme varies, intensifying somewhat in the middle section, as well as suggesting a mood of sadness. Serenity returns toward the end of the movement, but now transformed and darker, as if reconciled to a tragic fate. The second movement, bearing the description "Lebhaft, marschmässig" (Lively, restrained march), clearly foreshadows the piano music of Schumann. The mood is joyful, but there are moments of both tranquility and tension in this Vivace alla marcia. It is as if the dual nature of the first movement is expanded here to show a wider gulf, greater extremes of feelings. Still, the movement's mood is predominantly high-spirited. The next movement, marked Adagio ma non troppo, con affetto, bears the description "Langsam und sehnsuchtvoll"; (Slowly and longingly). The main theme is solemn and mournful, but remains serene and untroubled throughout the movement. The music seems a meditation on some past disappointment or loss, but never utters a cry, always sounding at peace, even if there is the suggestion of yearning. The finale begins without pause after the third movement. Marked Allegro, it proclaims joy at the outset with its all-conquering, chipper main theme. This movement carries the description "Geschwind, doch nicht zu sehr und mit Entschlossenheit" (Quickly, but not rushed and with determination). Yet, the subdued and reflective nature of most of the previous music emerges, too. It is as if the composer is rejoicing, but not too vigorously in the expectation that the next of life's inevitable vicissitudes might bring tragedy. The masterstroke here is the development: it contains a brilliant fugue, fitting well in this well-constructed sonata-form movement. There follow the usual reprise and coda to close this fine composition. While this work immediately preceded the famous and imposing Piano Sonata No. 29, "Hammerklavier," and was itself preceded by several better-known works, it is a masterpiece.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Etwas lebhaft, und mit der innigsten Empfindung (Allegretto ma non troppo)
    2. Lebhaft, marschmässig (Vivace alla Marcia)
    3. Langsam und sehnsuchtsvoll (Adagio ma non troppo, con affetto)
    4. Geschwind, doch nicht zu sehr und mit Entschlossenheit (Allegro)

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Steinway & Sons STNS 30068
    2018 Signum Classics SIGCD 527
    2018 Audite AUD 21451
    2018 Fontenay Classics FCI 012
    2018 SWR Music SWR 19054CD
    2018 BIS BIS 2307
    2017 Claudio / Claudio Bohema CB 55782
    2017 Blue Griffin Recording BG 435
    2017 Warner Classics 9029586922
    2017 Nonesuch 7559793638
    2017 Orchid Classics ORC 100076
    2017 Albany Records TROY 1661
    2017 Gramola 99111
    2017 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 16030
    2017 APR (Appian) APR 6021
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4797371
    2016 Hyperion CDA 68073
    2016 Chandos CHAN 109253
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295975050
    2016 Toccata Classics TOCC 0318
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon B002436502
    2016 IDIS IDIS 6714
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796018
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Musica Omnia MO 0510
    2015 Avie AV 2320
    2015 Decca 002369302
    2015 Sony Classical 88843054582
    2015 Andromeda ANDRCD 9124
    2014 BGS Records (British Guitar Society) CD 124
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4794120
    2014 Claves
    2014 Claves CD 50130413
    2014 CAvi-music 8553299
    2014 Ondine ODE 12482D
    2014 NY Classics NY 11122014
    2014 Calliope CAL 9416
    2014 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186490
    2014 BIS BIS 2000
    2014 Sony Classical G010003220427W
    2014 Decca
    2014 Azica Records ACD 71288
    2014 Naïve V 5393
    2014 Ongaku 024124
    2014 Sony Classical 888430147621
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2013 Mirare MIR 187
    2013 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186391
    2013 ATMA Classique ACD 22490
    2013 Tacet TACET 206
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 Sony Classical 88883703872
    2013 Doremi Records DHR 8022
    2013 Decca 4785093
    2012 Decca
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Decca
    2012 EMI Classics
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099946495228
    2012 EMI Classics 3275022
    2012 Praga PRD 350065
    2012 Zig Zag Territoires ZIG 304
    2012 Marquis Classics 774718151322
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Steinway & Sons 30007
    2012 Documents 233558
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94399
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94052
    2011 Cambria CD 11751185
    2011 Decca 478 2607
    2011 Decca 4782607
    2011 Transart Live TR101
    2011 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2011 Newton Classics 8802050
    2011 Alto ALC 1135
    2011 Oehms Classics OC 662
    2011 San Francisco Fortepiano Society CD 08113
    2011 Denon Records
    2011 Denon Records
    2011 RCA Red Seal 88697875102
    2011 Naïve OP 30528
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 Yarlung Records YAR 79577
    2010 Genuin 10181
    2010 Musical Concepts ALN 1901
    2010 Chandos 10616
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94075
    2010 BIS 1613
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Nimbus 2561
    2010 IDIS 6585/86
    2010 Solal 6
    2010 Marquis Classics MARQUIS81507
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Avi-Music / CAvi-music 8553174
    2010 Orfeo 808109
    2009 Harmonia Mundi 290190211
    2009 Decca 4781821
    2009 Decca 00028947821410
    2009 Document / Documents 223051
    2009 Audite 21404
    2009 Brilliant Classics 9014
    2009 Haenssler / Hänssler Classic 98200
    2009 Haenssler 93703
    2009 APR (Appian) 5670
    2009 Sony Music Distribution 88697575002
    2008 ABC Classics 4766929
    2008 Connoisseur Society 4264
    2008 Decca 4657132
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 447966
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 463639
    2008 Thorofon / Zebralution
    2008 Medici Arts 24
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 453221
    2008 Antes Edition / Zebralution
    2008 Berlin Classics 184472
    2008 ECM / ECM New Series ECM 1948
    2008 ECM New Series 001190602
    2008 MSR Classics 1189
    2008 Audite 23408
    2008 Brilliant 93761
    2007 Philips 000867602
    2007 Harmonia Mundi 901903/05
    2007 Cascade Records 2200
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93525
    2007 Cascavelle 3100
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 4777149
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 0009840
    2007 Philips / Universal
    2007 Melodiya MELCD 1000830
    2007 Philips 0009419
    2007 Ivory Classics 77004
    2007 Haenssler 98208
    2007 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT2041001
    2007 EMI Classics 87739
    2007 EMI Classics 3777672
    2007 Musical Concepts 122
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 0734265
    2007 Wigmore Hall 18
    2007 Universal
    2007 Decca 4758613
    2007 Vista Vera 81
    2007 Parlophone
    2006 Universal
    2006 Archipel 0336
    2006 Bridge 9198
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 002894776360
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon
    2006 Brilliant 99002
    2006 Decca 4757498
    2006 EMI Classics 347826
    2005 Romeo Entertainment 7233/41
    2005 Cyberchambermusic
    2005 Brilliant 92773
    2005 MSR Classics 1117
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Naïve OP 30420
    2005 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT041001
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 Decca 4756835
    2005 Naïve OP 30421
    2005 BBC Legends 41692
    2005 Philips 000410502
    2005 Azica Records 1232
    2005 Andante AN 2090
    2004 Newport Classic 59001
    2004 Stradivarius 33669
    2004 Analekta 23187
    2004 Sony Classical 93043
    2004 Resonance 101
    2004 EMI Classics 62700
    2004 Newport Classic 60173/3
    2004 Brilliant 92387
    2004 Dynamic 432/1-9
    2004 Brilliant 92229
    2003 Eroica Distribution 3137
    2003 Archipel / Archipel Records 0080
    2003 Sony Classical Essential Classics 87993
    2003 Sony Music Distribution 90433
    2002 Forlane 16685
    2002 Claves 502104
    2002 Tuxedo Music TUXCD 1086
    2002 Music & Arts 4640
    2002 Brilliant 205211
    2002 Praga 356020-34
    2001 Tahra 394/400
    2001 Classica d'Oro 9001
    2001 Hungaroton 41003
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3018
    2000 Arte Nova 40740
    2000 Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 568
    2000 Arkadia 78562
    2000 Testament 1192
    2000 GM Recordings 5001
    1999 Aura Records 191
    1999 Philips 438624
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463127
    1999 Grammofono 2000 78898
    1999 Erato 3984234222
    1999 Brilliant 99093
    1999 Arkadia 78901
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon
    1999 Music & Arts 743
    1999 Music & Arts 4743
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 72823
    1998 Hungaroton 31630
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon
    1998 Pro Piano 224516
    1998 MusicMasters MM67107
    1998 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243572912
    1998 Philips 462358
    1998 Zephyr 10897
    1998 Philips 456877
    1998 Zephyr 97
    1997 CBC Records 2013
    1997 Nimbus 1774
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 449740
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453724
    1997 Bongiovanni 5583
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453010
    1997 London 443706
    1997 Harmonia Mundi 354022
    1997 VAI Audio 1088
    1996 Philips 446909
    1996 Vox 7529
    1996 Analekta 24010
    1996 London 452 176-2DF2
    1996 Chandos 9435
    1996 Testament 1070
    1996 Music & Arts 946
    1996 Praga 354001.15
    1995 Arte Nova 7432127764
    1995 Antes Edition BM-CD 319038
    1995 Pearl 9142
    1994 Naxos 505003
    1994 Praga 254022
    1994 Telarc Distribution 80400
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 53531
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 53466
    1994 Philips 442464
    1993 EMI Music Distribution 64708
    1993 Telarc Distribution 80335
    1993 Philips 438472
    1993 Elecktra Nonsuch 79328
    1993 Philips
    1993 Philips 438374
    1993 Dorian 90143
    1993 ASV 6062
    1993 Denon Records CO-75245
    1993 Sony Classical Essential Classics 53456
    1992 Decca 433882
    1992 Opus 111 3063
    1992 EMI Music Distribution 54599
    1992 EMI Classics
    1992 Vox 5028
    1992 Naxos 550162
    1992 Nonesuch 79211
    1991 Deutsche Grammophon 429306
    1991 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0777763765
    1991 Philips 432301
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 62901
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 413766
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 429569
    1990 Philips 412575
    1990 Teldec 71719
    Aura Classics 1912
    Dante 107120
    Grammofono 2000 78549
    Enterprise 964
    Philips 422475
    Phonographe 5022
    Amado Classics 03018
    Cascade Records 2227
    Nuova Era 6797
    London 425590
    Philips 412578
    Deutsche Grammophon 419199
    Cedar & Weiss 903983
    Erato
    Erato
    Brilliant 92773/8
    Brilliant Classics 93525/52
    Agora Musica 047
    Relief 911021
    London 436735
    GM Recordings 2053
    Arkadia 78540
    Historical Performers 37
    Agora Musica 029
    As Disc 11025
    Intaglio 716
    Ades 141392
    Classic Art
    The Piano Library 205
    London 417150
    Music & Arts 640
    Brilliant 99010
    Brilliant 92387/17
    Brilliant 99110
    Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 5011
    EMI Music Distribution 62863
    Enterprise 205
    Music & Arts 759
    CBS Classics 45572
    As Disc 120
    Legend 144
    Artists 70
    Brilliant 205215
    Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 020
    Intaglio 7161
    Enterprise 913
    Enterprise / Palladio 4220
    The Piano Library 279