Violin sonata no.5

Violin Sonata no.5 'Spring-sonata' Op.24 in F major:

The fifth sonata is one of the most famous and loved sonatas by audiences in the world. Beethoven wrote this piece, like the forth violin-sonata in 1800/1801 and dedicated it, like the forth sonata to the count: 'Moritz von Fries'. It is the first violin sonata that contains four movements, in total Beethoven would write three sonatas with four movements. This added movement is called a: 'Scherzo' which means 'a Joke'. This Scherzo was used more and more by Beethoven instead of the Menuet, which Mozart and Haydn would sometimes write in their works. The Scherzo is still a dance-like piece that Beethoven sometimes changed from a 'cute, funny dance' to a movement with an intense character.

First movement: The first movement is written in a Allegro. It starts with both instruments. The violin has the melody and is being taken over by the piano after 10 measures. It is a theme that one could consider being pastoral because of the atmosphere, notably; the sixth symphony 'pastoral' op.68 was written in F major and this key has been considered one of those tonalities that Beethoven would use to get a calm and special atmosphere. After the introduction and first theme Beethoven creates a more exciting affect. The music definitely changes in the transition towards the second theme. Fortes, sudden pianos, crescendos, diminuendos and the Sforzandi, give a big contrast from the first theme. The second theme brings us to the middle part where Beethoven hints towards the first theme but does not go further than the end of the bar. He uses motives out of this phrase to go to the second theme and brings us to a virtuosic melodic line, switching back and forth between the instruments. The whole development ends up in long written out trills that are intensified in the end by combining both instruments with the same trill to come back to the first theme and the reprise until the coda. The coda is of much interest because it gives musical reminders to the beginning of the development, and of course, the first theme after which it does concludes in the first phrase of the melody that is being repeated in dialogue by the left hand of the piano and the violin.

Second movement: The second movement is one of the most expressive Adagio's in the violin-piano sonata set. This adagio has, from the compositional point of view, two parts. The parts that the music is very free due to the lack of rhythmic figures and the very rhythmic figure that gives the music stability and a steady pace. The melody is presented in the piano and being taken by the violin after, the usual, 8 bars of the melody. It is very interesting how the line of the piano, which accompanies and supports the violin melody, becomes the melody and makes the transition towards a much freer part in which the violin and the piano end up in a dialogue. The whole movement has, in general, the same atmosphere.

Third movement: The third movement is the Scherzo. This Scherzo, like a Minuet often had, has a second part which had the indication of a: 'Trio'. Both parts have contrasting affects that give the listener a clear idea of that atmosphere. In the first part, one can play more with timing while the second part is rhythmically stricter. The first part gets repeated after the Trio making its conclusion and giving the third movement an A-B-A structure.

Fourth movement: The fourth movement is, like all the other last movements of the earlier violin sonatas, written in a Rondo-form. The tempo is 'Allegro ma non troppo'. This means that the beginning should not be taken too fast. It can be considered to take a tempo close to the first movement that can give the same kind of atmosphere as the opening of the sonata. The parts between the reoccurring rondo-theme are contrasting and have their own story to tell. From a joke-ish second part and a more marching type section, Beethoven was able to capture it all in this movement.