Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49/2

    Description by Robert Cummings

    The Piano Sonata No. 20 was probably written around the time Beethoven composed the Third and Fourth sonatas, but because it was published in Vienna in 1805, nearly a decade after it was written, it was assigned then-current opus and sonata numbers, placing it amid works from the composer's middle period. Similar circumstances caused Beethoven's B flat Piano Concerto to appear as his Second, even though it predated the First. Owing to his perfectionist tendencies, Beethoven often suppressed works in his early years, either revising them later for publication, or determining after reflection that they in fact did meet his high standards. Still, he withheld many early works from publication for life, apparently never satisfied with them. In the case of this sonata and its immediate predecessor (No. 19), it was Caspar van Beethoven, the composer's brother, who decided they were worthy of publication. Against the composer's will, he presented them to a publishing house, thus allowing posterity to hear works that might otherwise have gotten lost or destroyed. It is believed that, had Beethoven himself released this sonata for publication, he would have called it a sonatina, owing to its modest proportions.

    The Piano Sonata No. 20 is cast in two movements, Allegro ma non troppo and Tempo di menuetto. It is a straightforward work, featuring little of the sophistication evident in most of the other piano sonatas. The first movement features an aristocratic theme, delicate yet stately. It, and a more playful second theme undergo only minimal development before recapitulating at the end, making for a simplified sonata form.

    The second movement of the Piano Sonata No. 20 shares a melodic theme with the Minuet of the Op. 20 Septet. Because the Septet was the later piece (1799-1800), Beethoven's suppression of the sonata and reuse of one of its themes suggests that he perhaps planned to scrap the piano work altogether. But the composer was known to recycle melodies, in some instances several times. This Minuet features a charming melody that, along with its accompanying material, is repeated several times, varying somewhat in appearance, but remaining simple and unsophisticated.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro ma non troppo
    2. Tempo di menuetto

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Signum Classics SIGCD 527
    2018 Audite AUD 21451
    2017 Brilliant Classics BRI 95103
    2017 Warner Classics 9029586922
    2017 Nonesuch 7559793638
    2017 Albany Records TROY 1661
    2017 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 16030
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4797371
    2016 Hyperion CDA 68131
    2016 Claudio / Claudio Bohema CR 55762
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295975050
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon B002436502
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Ondine ODE 12802D
    2015 Musica Omnia MO 0607
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Avie AV 2320
    2015 Alpha Alpha 201
    2015 Andromeda ANDRCD 9124
    2014 Claves
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4794120
    2014 Claves CD 50130413
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4794325
    2014 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186490
    2014 BIS BIS 2000
    2013 MSR Classics MS 1466
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2013 Mirare MIR 187
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 Decca 4785093
    2012 Deux-Elles DX 1162
    2012 Decca
    2012 Decca
    2012 Azica Records ACD 71277
    2012 Zig Zag Territoires ZIG 304
    2012 Marquis Classics 774718151322
    2012 Warner Classics
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94052
    2011 Cambria CD 11751185
    2011 Decca 478 2607
    2011 Decca 4782607
    2011 Transart Live TR101
    2011 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2011 TGG Direct 60258
    2011 RCA Red Seal 88697875102
    2011 Transart Live TR115
    2010 Musical Concepts ALN 1901
    2010 Chandos 10616
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94075
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 PentaTone Classics 5186304
    2010 IDIS 658182
    2010 ATMA Classique 22488
    2010 Bridge 9274
    2010 Solal 6
    2010 Naxos 857807374
    2010 Orfeo 808109
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca 4782340
    2009 Decca 4781821
    2009 Harmonia Mundi 290190211
    2009 Decca 00028947821410
    2009 Document / Documents 223051
    2009 Warner Classics
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Documents / Documents Classics / Membran 232669
    2009 Haenssler / Hänssler Classic 98200
    2008 Decca 4657132
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 447966
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon
    2008 Thorofon / Zebralution
    2008 IBA [Idil Biret Archives] 8571251
    2008 Harmonia Mundi HMC90 1909/11
    2008 Harmonia Mundi 901909
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 453221
    2008 Berlin Classics 184472
    2008 Brilliant 93761
    2007 Decca 000794702
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93525
    2007 Cascade Records 2200
    2007 Cascavelle 3100
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93183
    2007 EMI Classics 3777672
    2007 EMI Classics 87739
    2007 Idis 6529
    2007 Parlophone
    2006 Koch 376642 H1
    2006 eOne 7664
    2006 Connoisseur Society 4261
    2006 Universal
    2006 Melodiya MELCD 1000828
    2006 Haenssler 98203
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 002894776360
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon
    2006 Brilliant 99002
    2006 Globe Records 7002
    2006 ECM 000762402
    2006 SPJ Music 95806
    2006 Decca 4757498
    2006 EMI Classics 347826
    2005 Romeo Entertainment 7233/41
    2005 BIS 1363
    2005 Brilliant 92773
    2005 Decca 4756909
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 Decca 4756835
    2004 Newport Classic 59001
    2004 Stradivarius 33669
    2004 Vanguard Classics 1487
    2004 Resonance 101
    2004 EMI Classics 62700
    2004 Newport Classic 60172/3
    2004 Dynamic 432/1-9
    2002 Naxos 8110694
    2002 Music & Arts 4640
    2002 Brilliant 205211
    2001 Classica d'Oro 9001
    2001 Hungaroton 41003
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3017
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 57131
    2001 Philips 464710
    2000 Arte Nova 40740
    2000 Thorofon 2139
    2000 Arkadia 78532
    2000 GM Recordings 2068
    2000 GM Recordings 5001
    1999 Philips 438486
    1999 Chandos 9755
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463127
    1999 Brilliant 99093
    1999 Arkadia 78901
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon
    1998 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243572912
    1998 Philips 462358
    1998 Zephyr 10697
    1998 Zephyr 97
    1997 Nimbus 1774
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453724
    1997 London 443706
    1996 Philips 446909
    1996 Virgin 61238
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 56148
    1996 Hungaroton 31628
    1996 Arte Nova 7432134012
    1996 Analekta 24010
    1996 Vox 7532
    1995 Philips 446624
    1995 Decca / Universal
    1995 Hungaroton 31458
    1995 Pearl 9083
    1994 Naxos 505003
    1994 Naxos 550167
    1994 Telarc Distribution 80400
    1994 Philips 442464
    1993 Denon Records 2203
    1993 Elecktra Nonsuch 79328
    1993 ASV 6055
    1993 Pearl 9930
    1993 ESS.A.Y. 1006
    1992 Decca 433882
    1992 Telarc Distribution 80293
    1992 Erato 45812
    1992 Vox 3017
    1991 Deutsche Grammophon 429306
    1991 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0777763765
    1991 Naxos 550167
    1991 Philips 432301
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 62901
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 413766
    1990 Philips 412575
    1990 Teldec 71719
    Dante 107120
    The Piano Library 234
    Roberto McCausland-Dieppa
    Cascade Records 2225
    Amado Classics 03016
    Globe Records 5100
    Deutsche Grammophon 419172
    London 425590
    Philips Classics 412577
    Bongiovanni 5581
    Brilliant 92773/6
    Brilliant 93525/50
    Brilliant Classics 93183/1
    Brilliant Classics 93525/54
    Music & Arts 640
    Brilliant 99003
    Brilliant 99103
    EMI Music Distribution 62863
    Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 566
    Erato
    Brilliant 205214