< Back

Beethoven Sonata No. 8 “Pathetique” 1st Movement, Op.13

Victor Rosenbaum

Beethoven Sonata No. 8  “Pathetique” 1st Movement, Op.13

Beethoven started writing the first of his 32 sonatas (there are a few earlier ones not usually included) in 1795, and the very first one (Opus 2 No. 1) makes clear that this is not a work of either Haydn or Mozart — striking out in new dramatic directions and more expansive use of the keyboard. But it is in the C minor Sonata, Opus 13, commonly called the “Pathetique”, that Beethoven announces himself to the world as a distinctly unique musical voice. Furthermore, he composes in a way that brings the inter-relationship of thematic ideas to a previously unexplored level. My discussion of the sonata will focus on the composition, the character, and the challenges to the performer. I hope to leave the listener with a deeper understanding of the work, tips for performance, and ideas for practice.