Beethoven Piano Sonata 19

Opus 49, No. 1 "Leichte Sonata"

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Beethoven Piano Sonata 19 First edition

Beethoven Piano Sonata 19 –First Edition

Vienna, 1805.


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Beethoven Piano Sonata 19 –Interesting Facts

Beethoven's two Op.49 sonatas (really sonatinas) are misnumbered: they were written at around the same time as the 3rd and 4th sonatas, but were published a lot later because Beethoven never intended that they be published (we’ve got his brother to thank that these sonatas are known at all.) Both sonatas are small, two-movement, unassuming pieces, unabashedly classical in style, and constructed rather straightforwardly for (in all likelihood) some of Beethoven’s friends (or their children).

Beethoven Piano Sonata 19 –Novelties

Although it is small, it does not mean that they are not wonderful pieces. Sonata No. 19 has a particularly moving first movement, with a starkly sad first theme and a lyrical second. The second movement is marked with small touches of humor, starting with its rather long rhythm. And while not radically new or groundbreaking, 19 is perfectly written for what it is; an example of the classic two-movement form, concise, elegant, with a naturalness of expression that only the greatest classical composers achieved.

Biography of the Sonatas

During this period Beethoven became interested in the project that eventually emerged as the Fidelio opera, as well as the Triple Concerto for piano, violin and cello op. 56. This set of sonatas is believed to have been composed around 1797 and was never intended for publication but rather used as teaching aids. This theory is confirmed by the fact that the minuet theme of the second sonata in this set appeared as the minuet movement of the Septet op. 20, an atypical loan from the composer. Some writers speculate that Beethoven's brother Carl sent the sonatas to a publisher without the composer's knowledge.

Information of the facts in the composition of the Sonatas 19 and 20

This set, 19 and 20, was published by the Bureau des arts et d'industrie as Deux Sonates Faciles in January 1805. Its usefulness must have been for a market ready, for later in the same year they were published in Amsterdam and Berlin by Hummel under the name of Opus 11, although totally incorrect that it was that Opus, and in Bonn by Simrock.


Indications in interpretation

Study calmly.

First Movement: g minor | Andante | 2/4 | Sonata Form

Measures 1 to 33

There is a rhythmic similarity between the first and second closing lines. The exposition ends on the expected relative major, B♭ major.

Measures 34 to 46

The development opens with a four-note motif, note that this would appear to be Beethoven's signature. Characteristic of the exposition themes in the key of E♭ major, the idea is extended with new material.

Measures 47 to 63

The four-note motif as it appeared at the closing of the exhibition is expressed in E♭ major and moves through C minor and G minor with an extension.

Measures 72 to 79

A return to the first left-hand theme opens in G minor, then B♭ major, before returning to the opening key for the entrance of the second theme.

Measures 80 to 97

The closing phrase of the second theme is extended to incorporate a climax in measures 91 to 93.

Measures 98 to 110

A coda features the first theme in the left hand and ending bars that resolve to the major parallel, G major.

Second Movement: G major | Rondo Allegro | 6/8 | A|B|C|B|A|C|A


An unusual rondo pattern develops. Both B sections are in G minor, and the two C sections are in B♭ major and G major respectively. The coda consists of harmonic progressions similar to the G major cadence.


Small but of great artistic value.