Piano Sonata # 4, Op. 7, is nicknamed the Great Sonata, dedicated to his student Babette, Countess Keglevics, it has four movements. This sonata was composed in November 1796, in Bratislava, during his visit to the Keglevich Palace.
Along with the Sonata #11, it is one of Beethoven's longest piano sonatas.
If I had to name 2 sonatas to demonstrate Beethoven's mastery of the large-scale classical sonata, they would be this one and the Op.22. Both sonatas that are overlooked because while original, they do not have the kind of blatant originality, that steals your breath, imagination, logic and understanding that we have come to associate with Beethoven. In fact, there are some passages where Op.7 is less melodious and pianistic than its three brilliant predecessors, or even Op.22, but only because Op .7 shows Beethoven for the first time running against the limits of the classical sonata and feeling a little unsatisfied or restless, imagining possibilities beyond what instrument and form could accomplish at the time.
The first movement is not actually written for piano, it has become almost an archetype of orchestral writing for piano, with passages such as E flat repeated in the brass and themes. Composed mainly of scales and arpeggios rather than melody over accompaniment.
The second movement, with all its long pauses and high woodwinds and an impossible crescendo written over a single sustained chord, has an orchestral feel but also a glimpse of a late Beethoven. Solemnity, one of the most moving things Beethoven has ever written.
The third movement is neither a scherzo nor a minuet per se, it is melodious like the last, but also playful and abruptly dramatic in the manner of the first, and Beethoven timidly writes only "Allegro" at the beginning and "Minore" in the middle section.
The fourth movement is where the orchestral manner completely fades away, but it is not a conventional rondo either. There is a surprising amount of continuous motivational development and internal logic, a wonderful floating passage at the end where a B flat rises to a B, signaling a change from E flat to E, and a coda whose sense of warmth and generosity disguises the fact that it is a modification of the stormy second episode.