Beethoven composed the Sonatas for Violin and Piano, Op. 30, in 1801 - 1802, completing most of the work between March and May 1802, after moving to Heiligenstadt in an attempt to improve his hearing. They developed during a traumatic moment in Beethoven's life when he was forced to admit to himself that he was losing his hearing. In October 1802, only four months after completing the Op. 30 set, Beethoven wrote what is now called the Heiligenstadt Testament, in which he attempts to admit to his brothers, and indeed to all people, that he is going deaf. In this amazing document, which appears never to have been sent, the composer discloses that he had seriously considered suicide. Despite, or possibly because of, this psychological suffering, Beethoven completed his Second Symphony, the Bagatelles, Op. 33, the Op. 31 piano sonatas and the Op. 30 violin sonatas during the spring, summer, and fall of 1802. Possibly because it does not feature the dramatic power of its siblings, the Sonata in A Major is the least performed of the Op. 30 set.
Beethoven's predilection for variation and development are apparent from the opening of the Allegro first movement, where the repetition of the liquid first theme is four measures longer than the original. Beethoven almost immediately moves away from the tonic, arriving at the dominant, E major, after only another 16 measures. The rest of the exposition is spent away from the tonic. A sense of relaxation pervades the rest of the movement as Beethoven begins the development with the tonic moving to the subdominant, D major, and writes a quiet transition into a recapitulation that arrives without fanfare. The predominant A natural pedal in the coda compensates for the little time spent on the tonic in the exposition.
Marked Adagio, molto espressivo, the hauntingly lyrical middle movement, in D major, falls into an ABACA, or rondo, form with a coda. Beethoven set the poignant C section in B flat major, which wields pathetic power by being a half step above the dominant, A major. Beethoven makes the most of this relationship at the end of section C, where by sliding down a half step from B flat and up a half step from G sharp (an interval called an augmented sixth) he instantly moves back to the tonic. This type of modulation was one of the most effective devices available to classical-era composers.
The published finale of the Sonata in A Major, "Kreutzer," Op. 47, was originally intended for Op. 30, No. 1. However, for the finale of the Sonata in A Major, Op. 30, No. 1, Beethoven chose variation form, which was unusual at this point in his career. The movement includes an original theme and six variations. The rising arpeggio opening of the theme is also a salient feature of the first theme of the Allegro and the A theme of the Adagio.