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Piano Sonata No. 21 (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, opus 53, commonly known as the Waldstein, is considered one of the two particularly notable piano sonatas of his middle period (the other being the Appassionata sonata, Opus 57).
The Waldstein receives its name from Beethoven dedicating it to Count Ferdinand von Waldstein . Like the Archduke Trio, one of many pieces dedicated to Archduke Rudolf, there are other works dedicated to Count Waldstein. Perhaps the name stuck to this specific piece due to its originality.
The Waldstein has three movements:
- Allegro con brio
- Introduzione. Adagio molto - attacca
- Rondo. Allegretto moderato
The substantial movements are the first and third, each taking about 11 minutes to perform; the middle movement is a slow introduction to the last. This movement replaced an earlier, longer middle movement, which was later published separately as the Andante Favori, WoO 57.
The sonata opens memorably with staccato chords, played pianissimo. This initial straightforward, but anxious rhythm is devoid of melody for two measures. It then swiftly ascends upward and follows with a three-note descent in the left hand and a three-note descent in the right. More of this teasing rhythm rumbles foreward, until 45 seconds later where the notes seem to almost stumble over themselves and land in a different key of surprising calm.
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