Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14/1

    Description by Robert Cummings

    By the time Beethoven wrote this sonata, his ninth, he was already displaying a strongly individual voice in his piano works and would shortly embark on his First Symphony (1800) and other large works. Perhaps less compelling than its predecessor, the celebrated "Pathétique," this Sonata is an immensely interesting work, containing many subtle turns, surprises, and fresh ideas. Cast in three movements -- Allegro, Allegretto, Rondo (Allegro comodo) -- this composition begins with a lively, optimistic theme, against repeated chords in the left hand which accompany, and goad, the main narrative line. Initially a harbinger of light and joy, the main theme, introduces some tension when repeated, and the mood slightly darkens. In Beethoven's musical narrative, it seems, an initial mood, or impression, often leads to unexpected developments, creating a richly textured poetic substance. Thus, for example, when the second subject appears, its four descending notes transform the musical canvas into a space ruled by different varieties of doubt and mystery, considerably expanding the emotional and intellectual range of the narrative. Eventually, this episode proceeds to a triumphant ending, and the exposition material is repeated. The development section begins with the main theme transformed, but then a new idea comes to the fore. Somewhat derivative, this idea ushers in a rather atypical development episode. Although this is quite surprising from an intellectual standpoint, the appearance of this theme seems utterly natural, a logical outgrowth of a remember discourse. In the reprise, which follows this brief excursion, the main theme occurs with new accompaniment -- ascending scales in the left hand -- which imparts an ecstatic character to the music. A brief, brilliant coda concludes the movement. The ensuing Scherzo, though it carries the normally lively marking of Allegretto, operates as the slow movement. There is much tension in its restless main theme, and even the brighter music of the trio sections is not free of a sense of struggle. The finale begins with a rush of energy which traces a downward-moving trajectory. Despite the downward motion, the mood is one of wit, playfulness, and humor. While the second theme introduces some calm, the narrative line is driven by fast rhythms. Interestingly, there is some thematic development in this Rondo, which sounds almost symphonic.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro
    2. Allegretto
    3. Rondo. Allegro comodo

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Signum Classics SIGCD 527
    2018 Audite AUD 21451
    2018 ABC Classics
    2018 Supraphon SU 42522
    2017 Brilliant Classics BRI 95103
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon / Eloquence 4827053
    2017 Warner Classics 9029586922
    2017 Nonesuch 7559793638
    2017 APR (Appian) APR 7403
    2017 Albany Records TROY 1661
    2017 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 16030
    2017 Sony Classical 88985395212
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4797371
    2016 Hyperion CDA 68131
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295975050
    2016 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 88875032272
    2015 MSR Classics MS 1468
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Ondine ODE 12802D
    2015 Avie AV 2320
    2015 Sony Classical 88875032222
    2015 Sony Classical 88843014702
    2015 Andromeda ANDRCD 9123
    2014 Telos / Telos Music TLS 194
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4794120
    2014 Claves
    2014 Claves CD 50130413
    2014 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186490
    2014 BIS BIS 2000
    2014 Telos / Telos Music TLS 189
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2013 Mirare MIR 187
    2013 Caro Mitis CM 32011
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon B001909502
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 Deux-Elles DXL 1164
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 Regis Records RRC 1398
    2013 Azica Records ACD 71284
    2012 Decca
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Decca
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099946495228
    2012 EMI Classics
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 EMI Classics 7300092
    2012 Chandos CHAN 107203
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Marquis Classics 774718151322
    2012 Sony Classical 88725412862
    2012 Decca / Mercury Living Presence 001653302
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
    2012 Urania WS 121175
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94052
    2011 Cambria CD 11751185
    2011 Decca 4782607
    2011 Decca 478 2607
    2011 Transart Live TR101
    2011 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2011 EMI Classics 5099902697727
    2011 Oxford Philomusica OP 003
    2011 Zig Zag Territoires 111101
    2011 RCA Red Seal 88697875102
    2011 Transart Live TR117
    2010 Musical Concepts ALN 1901
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94075
    2010 Chandos 10616
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 PentaTone Classics 5186304
    2010 ATMA Classique 22488
    2010 Solal 6
    2010 Orfeo 808109
    2010 Sony Classical 88697685272
    2009 Harmonia Mundi 290190211
    2009 Decca 00028947821410
    2009 Decca 4781821
    2009 Document / Documents 223051
    2009 IDIS 657879
    2009 IBA [Idil Biret Archives] 8571260
    2009 Documents Classics / Membran 232670
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926508
    2009 Haenssler / Hänssler Classic 98200
    2009 Fab Four 232849
    2008 Decca 4657132
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 447966
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon
    2008 Thorofon / Zebralution
    2008 Oehms Classics 587
    2008 Sony Classical Essential Classics 732646
    2008 Sony Music Distribution 714801
    2008 Bridge 9251
    2008 Berlin Classics 184472
    2008 Avi 8553088
    2008 Brilliant 93761
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93525
    2007 Cascavelle 3100
    2007 Oehms Classics 616
    2007 EMI Classics 87739
    2007 EMI Classics 3777672
    2007 Decca 4758619
    2007 BBC Legends 5004
    2007 Parlophone
    2006 Connoisseur Society 4262
    2006 Universal
    2006 Bridge 9181
    2006 Melodiya MELCD 1000825
    2006 Haenssler 98203
    2006 Bridge 9207
    2006 Brilliant 99002
    2006 ECM 000762402
    2006 Doremi Records 78649
    2006 Decca 4757498
    2006 EMI Classics 347826
    2005 Romeo Entertainment 7233/41
    2005 BIS 1362
    2005 Brilliant 92773
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 Decca 4756835
    2004 Newport Classic 59001
    2004 Stradivarius 33669
    2004 Resonance 101
    2004 EMI Classics 62700
    2004 Newport Classic 60171/3
    2004 Dynamic 432/1-9
    2003 Seraphim UK
    2003 Naxos 8110695
    2003 BBC Legends 4126
    2002 Supraphon 3570
    2002 Music & Arts 4640
    2002 Brilliant 205211
    2001 Tahra 394/400
    2001 Classica d'Oro 9001
    2001 Hungaroton 41003
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3016
    2001 Concerto Royale 206210
    2001 Madacy 3522
    2000 Arte Nova 40740
    2000 Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 563
    2000 Orfeo D'Or 474971
    2000 Thorofon 2138
    2000 GM Recordings 5001
    1999 Aura Records 191
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463127
    1999 Brilliant 99093
    1999 Arkadia 78901
    1999 The Piano Library 268
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon
    1998 Gasparo Records 332
    1998 Hungaroton 31630
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon
    1998 Angel Records 56586B
    1998 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243572912
    1998 Philips 462358
    1998 Zephyr 10397
    1998 Zephyr 97
    1997 Nimbus 1774
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453724
    1997 London 443706
    1996 Philips 446909
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 55290
    1996 GM Recordings 2050
    1996 Analekta 24010
    1996 Berlin Classics 0091 312BC
    1995 Seraphim UK 69019
    1995 Philips
    1995 Chandos 9347
    1995 Vox 7514
    1994 Naxos 505003
    1994 Sony Classical 52638
    1994 Telarc Distribution 80400
    1994 Arabesque 6648
    1994 Mercury 434340
    1994 Philips 438617
    1994 Philips 442464
    1994 Pearl 9099
    1993 Elecktra Nonsuch 79328
    1993 ASV 6058
    1992 Vox 5056
    1992 Erato 45598
    1992 Decca 433882
    1992 Naxos 550162
    1992 Telarc Distribution 80293
    1991 Deutsche Grammophon 429306
    1991 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0777763765
    1991 CBS Masterworks 45821
    1991 Philips 432301
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 62901
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 413759
    1990 Philips 412575
    1990 Teldec 71719
    Aura Classics 1912
    Dante 107120
    Deutsche Grammophon 423110
    Ades 14137
    Phonographe 5022
    Arlecchino 71
    Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 5010
    Cascade Records 2285
    London 425590
    Philips 412576
    Bongiovanni 5581
    Classic Art
    Erato
    Brilliant 93525/47
    Brilliant 92773/3
    Arte Nova 7432137851
    Arkadia 78540
    Amado Classics 03039
    Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 330
    Brilliant 99106
    Brilliant 99006
    CCM 001
    RFCM Symphony Orchestra
    EMI Music Distribution 62863
    Brilliant 205213