Sonata no.9, Op.47 "Kreutzer"
The ninth Sonata of Beethoven has a reputation among musicians and music lovers for being an extraordinary work. It surely is the biggest of all ten sonatas and is the archetype of his middle period composing-style. The work was written in 1802, like the set of three sonatas Op.30. It did take a while before the piece was published, not until 1805.
It bears the name Kreutzer because of the famous violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer, one of the most extraordinary French violinists at that time. Kreutzer was not too pleased with the composing style of Beethoven and was not happy with the dedication. He never performed the work.
When the manuscript was discovered in the Beethoven-house in Bonn, it showed that Beethoven did change the dedication to the violinist Bridgetower.
One of the interesting things to note about this sonata is that Beethoven put as original title:
"Sonata per il Piano-forte ed un Violine obligato, scritta in uno stile molto concertante, quasi come d'un concerto"
The last part is especially interesting. He wants it to be quasi concerto like. Making it a double concerto without accompanying orchestra. One can see that Beethoven started to think bigger and bigger with his composing style.
One can discuss the description that Beethoven gave to the piece should be taken literally, 'Sonata for piano and violin accompaniment', Beethoven did dedicate the piece to two violinists. He did keep the tradition of earlier descriptions for these works as pieces written for piano and violin instead of vise-versa, which was a custom in the Romantic era.
The first movement starts with an Adagio introduction, in the key of A-major. It is in a quasi recitative style and the start of the fast (presto) part brings a big contrast to the piece. It is written in the classic sonata-form with dazzling virtuosity of both instruments, unheard of at that time, especially for a duo-sonata. It is interesting to note the pedal marks in this first movement. In the article on pedaling of the violin sonatas, we discuss this first movement as well.
The second movement is a slow movement with variations. Also, these variations are written in a virtuoso style and are pushing the limits of the soloists and the instruments, especially for those times. The coda of the movement is larger than most codas that he before.
The third movement Is a Tarantella, the typical Italian dance. It was originally written as the last movement of the Op.30 no.1 but Beethoven regarded it as too virtuoso for this sonata and thought it to be perfect as the end of the 'Kreutzer' Sonata.