Romantic Elements in Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata Paper
Romantic Elements in Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata (#21, Op 53) As the length of sonatas grew under pens such as Beethoven, the free exercise of many layers of musical contrast kept the longer works fresh and palatable. This sonata doesn’t have as bold of contrasts as Beethoven’s later works, but they still exist. The first movement starts with a quiet intro that swells with excitement at measure 11, only to calm back to a quiet simmering two measures later.
As a middle period sonata, the dynamics do not switch as violently as is common in the later nineteenth century, but the range of dynamics still exist even if they have smooth crescendo and diminuendo transitions. The mood within the each movements is a little manic for this period. Departing from the unity of tone frequent with sonatas, the first movement has at least three distinct mood: an excited first theme, a quirky transition, a noble second theme. The second and third piece slide from introspective to heroic.
This assortment is common in symphonic and operatic works, and for Beethoven to extend this to the sonata form is significant. The second movement is very short and serves as a smooth transition toward the third movement. This also represents the growing break in the three movement structure. Gravity pulls towards the two outer movements, and in practicallity, the second movement is the first 27 bars of the Rondo movement, ending on an fermata over a G before going into the second C major work.
Every resource on this sonata states that Beethoven removed the original second movement to keep the work more coherent and concise, perserving the removed work as a stand alone piano piece The ability and need to break tradition is a strong romantic value. Beethoven also breaks the classical sonata tradition of having the second theme in the dominant by going from C major to E major to the second (Measure 35).
The key changes of a third, which is a very popular destination during the romantic period as the tonic to dominant key change was being played out. 1 Though not programatic, Beethoven still calls for unique textures to be performed. Measures 99-100 of the first movement call for specific instruments, the trumpet, flute, clarinet and oboe, to be emulated through the piano, stretching the boundaries of the instrument to include mannerisms and perhaps timbre. * http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Sonata_form (C major to E major)