Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49/1

    Description by Robert Cummings

    While this Sonata comes numerically just after the three from Op. 31 (Nos. 16-18), it predates them chronologically by at least five years. Beethoven, ever the perfectionist, suppressed many of his early works, sometimes revising them before finally sending them to the publisher or deciding after close examination that they were fit for print after all. Of course, in many cases, he simply withheld the work from publication for life, apparently never satisfied with it. He seems to have written his Piano Sonata No. 19 around 1797, making it roughly contemporary with Sonatas Nos. 4 through 7. The other sonata from Op. 49, No. 20, is also an early composition, probably begun a year or so before this one. Beethoven's brother Caspar is the party responsible for the sudden appearance of this composition in Vienna, in 1805. He took it upon himself, against his brother's wishes, to send this and its sibling sonata to the publisher, although both works might have surfaced after the composer's death anyway, as did a great many others without opus numbers. Still, it is possible these sonatas might never have survived had it not been for Caspar van Beethoven. The reason the composer was unsure of the artistic worth of this sonata must have had to do with its modest proportions. As for its quality, he must eventually have come to realize that this was a worthy creation. The work is cast in two short movements: Andante and Rondo - Allegro. The first movement, unusual for Beethoven, begins slowly with a rather simple, somber theme. This Andante's second subject group is livelier and brighter the first. The exposition material is repeated, and then the development section begins, focusing on the second theme. It is brief, and like most of the movement, delicate and subtle. There follows a reprise, with some ingenious changes, and then the movement closes quietly. The Rondo second movement is brief and also simply constructed. The main theme is vigorous and probably the most muscular-sounding music in the work. It is a happy but somewhat nervous melody that transforms to a more mellow character in the closing moments. The second theme is a bit more energetic and colorful. This sonata is not difficult to play and its generally uncomplicated and genial nature suggest that the composer might have intended to call this work a "sonatina."

    Parts/Movements

    1. Andante
    2. Rondo. Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Signum Classics SIGCD 527
    2018 Audite AUD 21451
    2017 Brilliant Classics BRI 95103
    2017 JB Recordings MM 15029
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon / Eloquence 4827053
    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
    2016 IDIS IDIS 6714
    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 Deutsche Grammophon 4794120
    2014 Claves CD 50130413
    2014 Claves
    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
    2012 Deux-Elles DX 1162
    2012 Decca
    2012 Decca
    2012 Azica Records ACD 71277
    2012 Zig Zag Territoires ZIG 304
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Marquis Classics 774718151322
    2012 Documents 233558
    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 Brilliant Classics 94075
    2010 Musical Concepts ALN 1901
    2010 Chandos 10616
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 PentaTone Classics 5186304
    2010 ATMA Classique 22488
    2010 IDIS 658182
    2010 Bridge 9274
    2010 Solal 6
    2010 Orfeo 808109
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca 4782340
    2009 Decca 4781821
    2009 Harmonia Mundi 290190211
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    2009 Document / Documents 223051
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    2009 Documents / Documents Classics / Membran 232669
    2009 Haenssler / Hänssler Classic 98200
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    2008 IBA [Idil Biret Archives] 8571251
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    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 429072
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    2006 Melodiya MELCD 1000828
    2006 Haenssler 98203
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    2006 Globe Records 7002
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    2006 EMI Classics 347826
    2005 Romeo Entertainment 7233/41
    2005 BIS 1363
    2005 Brilliant 92773
    2005 Decca 4756909
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    2004 Newport Classic 59001
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    2004 Vanguard Classics 1487
    2004 Resonance 101
    2004 EMI Classics 62700
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    2004 Dynamic 432/1-9
    2002 Naxos 8110694
    2002 Music & Arts 4640
    2002 Brilliant 205211
    2001 Tahra 394/400
    2001 Classica d'Oro 9001
    2001 Hungaroton 41003
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3017
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 57131
    2001 Philips 464710
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    2000 GM Recordings 2068
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    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463127
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    1998 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243572912
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    1998 Zephyr 10697
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    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453724
    1997 Leningrad Masters 1323
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    1996 EMI Music Distribution 56148
    1996 Arte Nova 7432134012
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    1993 Elecktra Nonsuch 79328
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    1991 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0777763765
    1991 Naxos 550167
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    1990 EMI Music Distribution 62901
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 413766
    1990 Philips 412575
    1990 Teldec 71719
    Dante 107120
    The Piano Library 234
    Roberto McCausland-Dieppa
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    IMP BBC Radio Classics 1565691722
    Brilliant 93525/50
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    Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 5011
    EMI Music Distribution 62863
    Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 566
    Brilliant 205214