Piano Sonata # 1 in F minor Opus 2 # 1. The first in the series of three sonatas composed in 1795 and dedicated to Joseph Haydn.
Although it is listed as the first of his 32 piano sonatas, it is not the first he has written. Before its publication, the sonatas No. 19 and No. 20, and its three Sonatinas WoO 47, were released and published.
Beethoven was in Vienna studying with Haydn when he composed this early work in his youth. During Haydn's second trip to London in 1794, Beethoven studied counterpoint with Johann Georg Albrechtsberger who lived from 1736 to 1809. The young genius had his debut in Vienna on March 29, 1795, in which he probably played his first piano concerto. In 1796, Prince Karl Lichnowsky who lived from 1761 to 1814 organized an artistic tour for Beethoven that lasted from February to early July and included visits to Prague, Dresden, Leipzig, and Berlin.
Sonatas No. 1, 2 and 3 were composed in 1795. The order in which the three sonatas were written is not known. The work was published in 1796 by Artaria, a leading Viennese publisher who had published works by Mozart and Haydn. It is not known if the autographs still exist, although there are some sketches for the second sonata. The work is dedicated to Haydn, but Beethoven did not recognize Haydn as his teacher in the dedication of the works, a kind gesture expected during the period.
Beethoven added an extra movement to the typical three movement for piano sonatas, a dance movement that is usually reserved for chamber or orchestral works. In doing so, Beethoven elevated the importance of the piano sonata.
Thematic development begins at any time, not being confined to the development sections.
Key relationships defy structural expectations.
For the time, Beethoven indicated an unusual number of dynamic contrasts, sforzandi or other accents, often on weak rhythms.
This Sonata is called the Little Appassionata, probably because it is in the same key as the Sonata No. 23 Appassionata.
The first and second movements open with an optimistic rhythm in the dominant tone, the first movement arpeggio rises to the third of the scale, the second movement immediately goes to the third. The lines of both movements go from the third to the tonic. The main theme of the movement uses a descending third in its strong beat.
The first and fourth movements open with motifs that end in the tonic, in the same tone in the same register.
The diminished sixth degree of the scale appears in the major keys in the exposition of the first movement, second theme; exposition of the second movement, second theme and coda; third movement after the first double bar.