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 / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2020
    Naxos
    970309
    2020
    Alpha
    ALPHA 584
    2020
    Warner Classics
    9029538024
    2020
    Alpha
    ALPHA 594
    2020
    Orchid Classics
    ORC 100117
    2019
    Sony Classical
    19075843182
    2019
    Melodiya
    MELCD 1002552
    2019
    JB Recordings
    MM 19040
    2019
    Warner Classics
    9029539882
    2019
    Tudor Records
    TUDOR 1690
    2019
    SWR Music
    SWR 19081CD
    2018
    Fuga Libera
    FUG 745
    2018
    Signum Classics
    SIGCD 527
    2018
    Audite
    AUD 21451
    2018
    Medici
    M 30112
    2018
    Gramola
    99179
    2018
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 18038
    2018
    APR (Appian)
    APR 7310
    2018
    APR (Appian)
    APR 6027
    2017
    Brilliant Classics
    BRI 95103
    2017
    Accentus
    ACC 30409
    2017
    Warner Classics
    9029586922
    2017
    Nonesuch
    7559793638
    2017
    APR (Appian)
    APR 7403
    2017
    Decca / Eloquence
    ELQ 4826291
    2017
    Creative Talents
    HR 4
    2017
    Albany Records
    TROY 1661
    2017
    Naxos
    8503293
    2017
    Genuin
    GEN 17464
    2017
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 16030
    2017
    Deutsche Grammophon
    0028947980
    2017
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2017
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4797371
    2016
    Marquis / Marquis Classics
    MQS 81523
    2016
    ABC Classics
    4814556
    2016
    ABC Classics
    2016
    Musical Concepts
    MCS 154
    2016
    Ondine
    ODE 12982D
    2016
    Warner Classics
    0190295975050
    2016
    Sonoma
    1482849
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    002894795516
    2016
    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
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2016
    Musical Concepts
    MCS 3201
    2016
    Piano Classics
    PCLM 0104
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    002894794110
    2016
    Sentient Spirit Records
    2015
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4795448
    2015
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2015
    TwoPianists
    TP 1039190
    2015
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    8573400
    2015
    Tuxedo Music
    TUXCD 1075
    2015
    Avie
    AV 2320
    2015
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    88875032222
    2015
    Accent
    ACC 24311
    2015
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    YIL-001
    2015
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    VEC 110
    2015
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    002369302
    2015
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    ABC 4812226
    2015
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    IDIS 6696
    2015
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    ANDRCD 9123
    2014
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    020567658
    2014
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    2014
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    4794120
    2014
    Claves
    CD 50130413
    2014
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    OC 879
    2014
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    PTC 5186490
    2014
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    BIS 2000
    2014
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    2014
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    2014
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    3OR 11
    2014
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    TLS 190
    2014
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    BRAU 1160
    2014
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    2013
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    MS 1466
    2013
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    94630
    2013
    Mirare
    MIR 187
    2013
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    2013
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    2013
    Broken Audio
    BRAU 0910
    2013
    Claudio
    CB 55732
    2013
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    2013
    Warner Classics
    4093842
    2013
    Sleeveless
    SLV 1001
    2013
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    21486
    2013
    TYX Art
    TXA 13028
    2012
    Maestro Music
    MMDC 04
    2012
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    5099970490
    2012
    Entertainment Group
    11806
    2012
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    RRC 1384
    2012
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    2012
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    2012
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    2012
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    5099946495228
    2012
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    2012
    EMI Classics
    5099932750720
    2012
    Azica Records
    ACD 71277
    2012
    Decca
    2012
    Decca
    4783349
    2012
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    4765049
    2012
    Broken Audio
    BRAU 0292
    2012
    EMI Classics
    2012
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099962308
    2012
    EMI Classics
    2012
    Haenssler / Hänssler Classic
    HAEN 94609
    2012
    Chandos
    CHAN 107203
    2012
    Melodiya
    MELCD 1000732
    2012
    Marquis Classics
    774718151322
    2012
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    2012
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    2012
    Ionian Productions, Inc.
    2012
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    88725412862
    2012
    Gramola
    GLA 98893
    2012
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    CHRCD 030
    2012
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    MELCD 1002064
    2012
    Warner Classics
    663108
    2012
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    2564663139
    2012
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    2012
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    2011
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    886919369120
    2011
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    94052
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    2011
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    478 2607
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    4782607
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    94282
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    2011
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    RPM28170
    2011
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    5099909457
    2011
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    2011
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    2011
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    111101
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    WS 121117
    2011
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    8869768882
    2011
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    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099994844
    2011
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    88697875102
    2011
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    1089
    2011
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    233079
    2011
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    TR119
    2011
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    2011
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    HMX 290845657
    2011
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    Deutsche Grammophon
    2011
    Various Artists
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4779527
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Hyperion
    4442135
    2010
    Deux-Elles
    1161
    2010
    Master Chord
    MC1004
    2010
    AAO Music
    2010
    Calliope
    5683
    2010
    Brilliant Classics
    94075
    2010
    Chandos
    10616
    2010
    Musical Concepts
    ALN 1901
    2010
    Denon Records
    2010
    AAO Music
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Nimbus
    6120
    2010
    Decca
    478213
    2010
    Decca
    478 213-2
    2010
    Decca
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Decca
    2010
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099996592
    2010
    Hyperion
    67662
    2010
    Cascavelle
    3131
    2010
    Philips
    2010
    IBA [Idil Biret Archives]
    8571283
    2010
    Urania
    22418
    2010
    Solal
    6
    2010
    Arsenal / Neo Musica
    2010
    Orfeo
    808109
    2010
    Sony Classical
    88697685272
    2010
    Sonoma
    SGC 20141
    2010
    Decca
    4782340
    2010
    Decca
    2010
    Piano 21
    21033
    2009
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099926506
    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
    Denon Records
    00795041941626
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    EMI Classics
    2009
    Brilliant Classics
    93993
    2009
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2009
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4624832
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Colosseum / Zebralution
    2009
    Bridge
    9297
    2009
    Landscape Classics / Zebralution
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Documents Classics / Membran
    232670
    2009
    EMI Classics
    13251
    2009
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099926508
    2009
    Haenssler / Hänssler Classic
    98200
    2009
    Neos Productions
    20803
    2009
    Fab Four
    232849
    2009
    Various Artists
    Fono Forum
    8553129
    2009
    Sony Music Distribution / Sony Music Entertainment
    753666
    2009
    Sony Music Distribution
    88697575002
    2008
    Bridge
    9250
    2008
    Caro Mitis
    62006
    2008
    Decca
    4657132
    2008
    Deutsche Grammophon
    447966
    2008
    Corona Classic Collection
    0000642CCC
    2008
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099921531
    2008
    Warner Classics
    2008
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2008
    Thorofon / Zebralution
    2008
    SOMM
    70
    2008
    EMI Classics
    2008
    ZYX Music
    10322
    2008
    Alto
    1016
    2008
    Sony Music Distribution
    714811
    2008
    Oehms Classics
    617
    2008
    ATMA Classique
    22486
    2008
    Deutsche Grammophon
    453221
    2008
    Sony Music Distribution
    714801
    2008
    Berlin Classics
    184472
    2008
    Pierian
    0035
    2008
    Erato
    2008
    Virgin Classics
    522127
    2008
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099920610
    2008
    Brilliant
    93161
    2008
    Various Artists
    Reflections / Reflections
    35500
    2008
    Various Artists
    Madacy
    52954
    2008
    Various Artists
    Madacy
    52952
    2008
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4776656
    2008
    Brilliant
    93761
    2008
    Madacy Entertainment
    53888
    2008
    Sony Classical Essential Classics
    731846
    2007
    Various Artists
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    0946394318
    2007
    Various Artists
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    0946397307
    2007
    Harmonia Mundi
    901903/05
    2007
    Cascade Records
    2200
    2007
    Brilliant Classics
    93525
    2007
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4776676
    2007
    Apex
    2007
    Cascavelle
    3100
    2007
    Linn Records
    209
    2007
    EMI Classics
    2007
    EMI Classics
    94422
    2007
    Hyperion
    67605
    2007
    Hyperion
    67605
    2007
    EMI Classics
    87739
    2007
    EMI Classics
    3777672
    2007
    Idis
    6529
    2007
    Allan Spencer Music / ASMC
    1003
    2007
    Various Artists
    Simply
    036
    2007
    Universal Classics & Jazz
    2007
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4776622
    2007
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2007
    Parlophone
    2006
    Koch
    376642 H1
    2006
    eOne
    7664
    2006
    Connoisseur Society
    4262
    2006
    Universal
    2006
    Archipel
    337
    2006
    Berlin Classics
    0185352
    2006
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    4757555
    2006
    RCA Red Seal
    71619
    2006
    Naïve
    5023
    2006
    Melodiya
    MELCD 1000825
    2006
    Deutsche Grammophon
    002894776360
    2006
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2006
    Brilliant
    99002
    2006
    Decca
    4757297
    2006
    PentaTone Classics
    5186125
    2006
    BBC Legends
    41852
    2006
    Simax
    1218
    2006
    Globe Records
    5190
    2006
    Deutsche Grammophon
    000764972
    2006
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    000743402
    2006
    Decca
    4757498
    2006
    EMI Classics
    347826
    2005
    BIS
    1460
    2005
    Direct Source
    4592
    2005
    Romeo Entertainment
    7233/41
    2005
    BIS
    1362
    2005
    Divine Art
    25029
    2005
    Artemis Classics
    1263
    2005
    EMI Music Distribution
    86866
    2005
    EMI Classics
    5868642
    2005
    Archipel
    0073
    2005
    Brilliant
    92773
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
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    98201
    2005
    Nonesuch
    2005
    Decca
    4757065
    2005
    Crystonyx Productions
    1006
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    Decca
    4756835
    2005
    Connoisseur Society
    4254
    2005
    Delta Distribution
    16317
    2005
    Philips
    000410502
    2005
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4775694
    2004
    Various Artists
    Madacy
    4815
    2004
    Warner Classics
    49705
    2004
    Resonance
    3000
    2004
    EMI Music Distribution
    57762
    2004
    Urania
    258
    2004
    Newport Classic
    59001
    2004
    Stradivarius
    33669
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    Guild
    7274
    2004
    High Definition Class
    40
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    Living Stage
    1046
    2004
    Linn Records
    244
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    512868
    2004
    High Definition Classics
    002
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    94046
    2004
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    000303402
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    Resonance
    101
    2004
    EMI Classics
    62700
    2004
    Newport Classic
    60171/3
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    Various Artists
    Brilliant
    92387
    2004
    Laserlight
    40027
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    Dynamic
    432/1-9
    2004
    Brilliant
    92132
    2004
    Prima Music Productio
    615545
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    Various Artists
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    6290
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    Seraphim UK
    2003
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    1193
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    Andante
    1110
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    PentaTone Classics
    PTC5186023
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    473845
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    8110695
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    87993
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    40031
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    000085502
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    45575
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    Delta Distribution
    40040
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    90395
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    90433
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    8801
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    2602
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    5580
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    89225
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    SMK 87858
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    90107
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    31499
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    74800
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    467 487-2
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    575561
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    4640
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    3058
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    14584
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    205211
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    394/400
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    7836
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    9001
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    41003
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    3016
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    206210
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    464680
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    61012
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    35822
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    35802
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    89765
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    40027
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    1739
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    63010
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    63033
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    40740
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    6612
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    563
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    78535
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    21336
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    63056
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    1189
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    7021
    2000
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    468140
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    GM Recordings
    2068
    2000
    GM Recordings
    5001
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    Direct Source Special
    6253
    2000
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    83682
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    199200
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    75523
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    6522
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    62162
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    82133
    2000
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    96005/6
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    LHW042
    1999
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    5588
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    456
    1999
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    66991
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    463127
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    99093
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    78901
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    1999
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    5530
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    880
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    462232
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    454987
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    447398
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    3859
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    21486
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    3856
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    64462
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    63000
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    0044
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    332
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    31009
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    90018
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    2817
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    56586B
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    7243572912
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    462358
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    10397
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    3840
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    456877
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    97
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    456718
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    1774
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    452952
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    453724
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    31002
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    265096
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    443706
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    74321 39106
    1997
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    1997
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    457097
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    2688482
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    81180
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    68733
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    6677
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    446909
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    7529
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    32CM 127
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    31627
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    447404
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    24010
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    40739
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    2522
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    40116
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    8722
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    29460
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    6780
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    69019
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    270921
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    447914
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    7071
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    4061
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    7707
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