Ludwig van Beethoven

Sonata for violin & piano No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 12/3

    Description by James Reel

    In contrast to its somewhat humorous partners, the Third Violin Sonata of Beethoven's Opus 12 set is a serious work with a sober slow movement, and a particularly muscular opening section. That first movement, Allegro con spirito, keeps both instruments moving incessantly (though never frantically), yet the piano generally has the greater technical challenge with almost nonstop quarter-note triplets and sudden runs, pulling the violin along behind it. What the motifs lack in melodic distinction they make up for in energy and a demand for clean technique. As in the other early violin sonatas, the development section runs through the themes again sequentially, modulating to new keys but not really working over the material in new ways. That is, not until the section's very end, when the instruments stop short for a brief, broad melody over a tremolando accompaniment. But all this is soon brushed aside by a good-natured coda. The Adagio con molt'espressione is the most deeply-felt slow movement in this set of sonatas. It is, in fact, a single melody that evolves slowly over a double-dotted rhythm. The atmosphere is consistently serene, with the violin singing its long lines over a murmuring accompaniment, then trading roles with the piano. It's almost Italianate in its expressive, forward-moving lyricism, except that the Italians had not quite patented this style by 1798; that would come in another decade-plus with Paganini and the bel canto opera composers.

    Serenity is banished by the cheerful finale, Rondo: Allegro molto. The primary theme is launched by a repeated-note figure, a musical chuckle that underlies most of what is to follow. Unexpectedly, the middle section falls into the minor mode and hints at some brief, mild conflict between the instruments. This is soon swept away by another surprise, a fugal treatment of the main theme that leads straight into a brief, high-spirited coda.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro con spirito
    2. Adagio con molt' espressione
    3. Rondo. Allegro molto

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Ars Produktion ARS 38254
    2018 Somm SOMMCD 01812
    2018 Decca
    2018 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 18050
    2017 Rubicon Classics RCD 1010
    2017 Rubicon / Rubicon Classics RCD 1010
    2017 Warner Classics 0190295763084
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796220
    2016 Aparte AP 129
    2016 Chandos CHAN 108883
    2016 Skylark Music SKY 0101
    2016 Gramola GRAM 99106
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795964
    2016 EuroArts / Warner Classics 555050
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646777068
    2016 Warner Classics 555054
    2015 Warner Classics 0825646019311
    2015 Doremi Records DHR 8040
    2015 Challenge Classics CC 72650
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4794708
    2015 Gramola GRAM 99051
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4794647
    2014 Warner Classics 541222
    2014 Warner Classics 2564634929
    2014 Nimbus Alliance NI 6245
    2014 Erato 2564624223
    2013 Metier MSVCD 2007
    2013 Vermeer VRM 40008
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2013 Le Marquis / Marquis Classics MQSCD 81517
    2013 Phaia Music PHU 03234
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 Newton Classics 8802204
    2013 Decca
    2013 RCA Red Seal 8876544015
    2013 Regis Records 7010
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 001649002
    2012 Zig Zag / Zig Zag Territoires ZIG 307
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94310
    2012 Bridge / The Bridge BRIDGE 9389AD
    2012 Supraphon SU 40772
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 002894779464
    2011 Doremi Records DHR 80113
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94052
    2011 Wigmore Hall Live WHLive0045
    2011 Urania 121107
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 EtCetera Records 1904
    2010 Erato
    2010 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099964200
    2010 Accent 24213
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Nimbus 2553/56
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Onyx ONYX 4050
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca 4782541
    2009 Doremi Records 7946-9
    2009 IDIS / Ital Disc 656062
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926504
    2009 Decca
    2009 Decca 4781149
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926413
    2008 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT070802
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 447058
    2008 Romeo Entertainment 7266/8
    2008 Ars Produktion 38459
    2008 Berlin Classics 149312
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099921471
    2008 Warner Classics
    2008 Woodhouse Editions 803/6
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93525
    2007 Cascade Records 2200
    2007 Claves 2610
    2007 EMI Classics 87739
    2007 EMI Classics 3777672
    2007 Decca
    2006 Preiser Records 90703
    2006 Cypres Records 1640
    2006 Rca Red Seal 667888
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 EMI Classics 0946350854
    2006 Globe Records 6003
    2006 Biddulph Recordings 80214
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 000459902
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon
    2005 Warner Classics
    2005 Decca 4756835
    2005 Bridge 9165
    2004 Metier 2004
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon 474648
    2004 Artemis Classics 1585
    2004 Doremi Records 7845
    2004 Haenssler 98462
    2004 Music & Arts 1143
    2004 Brilliant 92387
    2003 Doremi Records 7807
    2002 Centaur Records 2803/05
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 471495
    2002 Calliope 3251/3
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74804
    2002 Classica d'Oro 2017
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 74447
    2001 Deutsche Grammophon 463605
    2001 Philips 468406
    2001 MDG 6420985
    2001 Tahra 352/353
    2000 Music & Arts 4860
    2000 Biddulph Recordings 80201
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 65308
    1999 Aura Classics 0137
    1999 Brilliant 99093
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 4594332
    1999 Angel Records 73647
    1999 Pearl 9330
    1999 Grammofono 2000 78876
    1999 Pearl 9498
    1999 IDIS 283
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 457619
    1997 BMG 61741
    1997 Point Classics 267104
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453 743-2GCB4
    1997 Testament 1115
    1997 Orfeo 971
    1996 Sony Classical 67196
    1996 Sony Classical 64524
    1995 Vox / Vox Box 3503
    1995 Philips 446 521-2PM2
    1995 Music & Arts 860
    1995 Live Classics 144
    1995 Discover 920241
    1995 APR (Appian) 5541
    1994 Naxos 550284
    1993 Pearl 9942
    1988 London 421453
    1985 Deutsche Grammophon 415 138-2GH
    1984 Philips 412570
    Pearl 0019
    MusicMasters 67197
    BMG 60991
    RCA 7704
    Deutsche Grammophon 415874
    Sarx 2030
    Point Classics 267014
    CBS Masterworks 45683
    Meridian Records 89019
    The Piano Library 189
    DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 38223-25
    Brilliant 99113
    Brilliant 92387/20
    Cascade Records 2237
    Fono Enterprise 99335
    CBS Records 39680
    Lys 33/35
    Brilliant Classics 93525/30
    Grammofono 2000 78883
    BMG 0902661747
    SY Arts
    Arlecchino 58
    One-Eleven 91060
    Ermitage 125
    Musical Heritage 5091707