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This was the earliest of Beethoven's piano sonatas to reach warhorse status. Beethoven opens this composition with a slow, meditative introduction, using this feature for the first time in a sonata. Seemingly posing a question, or struggling to overcome a dilemma, the music seeks resolution and relief, which appears in the exposition proper, when the movement, driven by tremolando octaves in the left hand, quickens, and theme transforms itself into deeply anxious utterance, introducing, once again, a questing, uncertain mood, without excluding forceful utterances, possibly indicating a desire to transcend the feeling of uncertainty. During the brief development section, a sense of dramatic tension predominates, but the general tone changes in the recapitulation, leading to a coda, which closes the movement. Dedicated to Prince Lichnowsky, this composition was first published in Vienna in 1799.
The first movement is arranged here for a small chamber orchestra.
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