Composed between 1795 and 1796.
The second of Beethoven's two little sonatas Op.49 is a delicately playful and aristocratic work. The first movement features an ultra-compressed development and two themes that are surprisingly well linked by motivating links. The second movement, a minuet, is almost a small study in instrumental textures; Section A is written for a string section, B for wind instruments, and C for brass.
An interesting point is that the manuscript of this sonata does not contain any dynamic indication at all, with the exception of two pianissimos in the second movement. Pianists really are left to their own devices, and it is surprising that so many choose the same dynamic scheme. A definite point of divergence lies in the interpretation of Menuet's section A: some pianists take staccato with their left hand, and some play it legato.
A four-note motif from the opening theme is the basis for the second theme.
The second theme area borrows the opening theme, with rhythmic patterns of eighth note triplets followed by four quarter notes, bars 36–41, and modifying it in bars 42–48.
The closing section is taken from the previous transition, bars 15 to 20.
The first theme is developed in D minor and A minor, modulating to the dominant of E minor.
Short rhythmic double notes on a repeated note the accompaniment leads the way back to the fragmented descent of the scale in the dominant of the initial key.
A return takes thematic material from the second theme area, presenting it in C major before transitioning to the expected transition to the second theme itself.
Although the spirit and tempo are those of the minuet, the structure does not develop in the usual way of the minuet and trio pattern.
The B section introduces a new theme in the dominant, followed by an extended transition leading back to A.
The C section is entered with a key change in C major. It shares with >theme A an ascending dotted rhythm.
The coda is based on the opening rhythmic figure of the A theme. It moves through secondary dominants in C major and A minor in the opening key.