Ludwig van Beethoven

Sonata for violin & piano No. 8 in G major, Op. 30/3

    Description by John Palmer

    Beethoven composed the Sonatas for Violin and Piano, Op. 30 in 1801-02, completing most of the work between March and May of 1802, after moving to Heiligenstadt in an attempt to improve his hearing. The three sonatas, in A major, C minor and G major, were published in 1803 by Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie in Vienna. The dedication of the Op. 30 sonatas, to Czar Alexander I of Russia, seems to have gone unacknowledged (evidence suggesting the gift of a diamond ring is unreliable), although Alexander was later one of ten subscribers to the Missa Solemnis. It is possible that Beethoven received a sum of money for the sonatas in 1814, after presenting the Czar's wife the Polonaise, Op. 89.

    The Op. 30 sonatas developed during a traumatic period 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.

    Overflowing with Haydnesque humor, the first movement of the Sonata in G Major eschews the relaxed, lilting lyricism of the A-major sonata and the somber dramatic power of the C-minor. Surprises abound, including tiny touches such as the squeaky violin punctuation at the end of the opening four-measure phrase, and the much more significant move to the dominant minor for the second theme. Motives and themes either rise or plummet, never arching in a Mozartean manner, and the main theme resembles the rising arpeggio gestures associated with the Mannheim composers, often called the "Mannheim Rocket." After the development section, which is dominated by the first theme and a trill figure drawn from the closing material, the recapitulation resolves the second theme to the tonic, but Beethoven retains the minor mode.

    The second movement, marked Tempo di Minuetto, is in E-flat major. The outer sections of the ABA'(coda), song-like movement vacillate between E-flat major and G minor, while the contrasting central section spirals into E-flat minor shortly before the return of A. The subdued warmth that permeates this movement is unusual in Beethoven's music.

    Humor seems to be the main ingredient in the finale, which is like a rondo but with an important exception: there is only one theme for both the episodes and the rondo. The theme has two elements, one consisting of rapid sixteenth-notes and the other of repeated eight-notes. The theme appears in several harmonies, including the distantly related E-flat major, the key of the second movement. As in the first two movements, an arpeggiated figure is an important part of the main theme.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro assai
    2. Tempo di Minuetto, ma molto moderato e grazioso
    3. Allegro vivace

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Somm SOMMCD 01812
    2018 Analekta AN 28794
    2018 Decca
    2018 Oehms Classics OC 019
    2017 Aliud Records ACDBN 092
    2017 Coro COR 16154
    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 Nimbus Alliance NI 6247
    2016 Skylark Music SKY 0101
    2016 Gramola GRAM 99106
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795964
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 002894795516
    2016 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 88875032272
    2016 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 88875183402
    2016 EuroArts / Warner Classics 555050
    2016 Warner Classics 555054
    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 Supraphon SU 41622
    2014 Erato 2564624223
    2013 Melodiya MELCD 1002089
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2013 Le Marquis / Marquis Classics MQSCD 81517
    2013 Phaia Music PHU 03234
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 Decca
    2013 RCA Red Seal 8876544015
    2013 Regis Records 7010
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 001649002
    2012 CD Accord ACD 0442
    2012 Zig Zag / Zig Zag Territoires ZIG 307
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94310
    2012 Bridge / The Bridge BRIDGE 9389AD
    2012 Supraphon SU 40772
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099964470
    2012 IDIS / Idis 6645
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 002894779464
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 Doremi Records DHR 80113
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94052
    2011 Art Act AR 002
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099908528
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH11023
    2011 ZYX / ZYX Music CLA 10118
    2010 Genuin 10171
    2010 EtCetera Records 1904
    2010 Erato
    2010 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099964200
    2010 Accent 24214
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Nimbus 2553/56
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Wigmore Hall / Wigmore Hall Live 36
    2010 Decca 4782541
    2010 Decca
    2010 Music & Arts 1244
    2010 Genuin 10175
    2009 Doremi Records 7946-9
    2009 IDIS / Ital Disc 656062
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Decca
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926504
    2009 Decca 4781149
    2009 Decca
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926413
    2008 Metier 2005
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 447058
    2008 Romeo Entertainment 7266/8
    2008 EMI Classics
    2008 Berlin Classics 149312
    2008 Woodhouse Editions 803/6
    2007 Urania 22307
    2007 Cascade Records 2200
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93525
    2007 Philips 4428302
    2007 Claves 2610
    2007 EMI Classics 3777672
    2007 EMI Classics 87739
    2007 Decca
    2007 VAI Audio 4395
    2007 Artone 222364
    2006 Eroica Distribution 3261
    2006 Preiser Records 90703
    2006 Cypres Records 1640
    2006 Rca Red Seal 667888
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 EMI Classics 0946365224
    2006 Amon Ra 16
    2006 Biddulph Recordings 80210
    2006 RCA 67892
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 000459902
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon
    2005 Warner Classics
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon 474648
    2004 Artemis Classics 1585
    2004 Oehms 341
    2004 Music & Arts 1143
    2004 Brilliant 92387
    2004 Symposium 1312
    2003 Classica d'Oro 2018
    2003 Doremi Records 7807
    2002 Nuova Era 7368
    2002 Centaur Records 2803/05
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 471495
    2002 Calliope 3251/3
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74804
    2002 Symposium 1300
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 74447
    2001 Deutsche Grammophon 463605
    2001 Philips 468406
    2001 Arbiter 128
    2000 Decca 455488
    2000 Biddulph Recordings 80202
    2000 Doremi Records 7715
    2000 Rca Red Seal 63040
    2000 Arkadia 78584
    1999 RTVE Musica 65097
    1999 Philips 442651
    1999 Brilliant 99093
    1999 Pearl 9395
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 73650
    1999 ICONE 9403
    1999 Grammofono 2000 78876
    1999 Doremi Records 7753
    1999 Biddulph Recordings 100
    1999 Fono Enterprise 99368
    1999 Pearl 9260
    1999 Grammofono 2000 78875
    1999 RCA Red Seal 63000
    1998 EMI Music Distribution 66874
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 457619
    1997 Point Classics 267013
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453 743-2GCB4
    1997 Leningrad Masters 1330
    1996 Sony Classical 67196
    1996 Harmonia Mundi 901580
    1996 Philips 446524
    1996 Sony Classical 64524
    1995 Vox / Vox Box 3503
    1995 ZYX Music 4069
    1995 Deutsche Grammophon
    1995 Live Classics 144
    1995 RCA Victor 61649
    1995 Music & Arts CD-877
    1994 RCA 61861
    1994 Naxos 550286
    1994 Deutsche Grammophon 445652
    1993 Kontrapunkt 3216061
    1992 EMI Music Distribution 64631
    1992 RCA 61265
    1988 London 421453
    1984 Philips 412570
    MusicMasters 67197
    BMG 60991
    RCA 7706
    Cascade Records 2239
    Amado Classics 03022
    Deutsche Grammophon 415874
    Sarx 2030
    Music Memoria 30379
    Digital Masterworks 71804
    Meridian Records 89019
    Sony Music Distribution 52534
    DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 38223-25
    Calliope 9251
    Brilliant 99114
    Fono Enterprise 99326
    CBS Records 39681
    CBS Records Masterworks 39681
    Lys 33/35
    Brilliant 93525/32
    Brilliant 92387/21
    Grammofono 2000 78882
    RCA 6264
    Fono Enterprise 99382
    Monopoly 2042
    Magic 48011
    BMG 0902661747
    A Violin Forever
    Arlecchino 9697
    The Piano Library 289
    BMG 68449
    RCA 5910
    Musical Heritage 5091707