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Despite its concision, this sonata has totally disparate tempi: allegro molto e con brio, adagio molto and prestissimo. Each movement has its own very rich interior, increasingly turbulent and varied, with the first and final movements enhanced with a dramatic dimension. The first movement begins somewhat brusquely but is punctuated by pauses. The adagio is a major romance with long cantabile passages completed by light runs that seem to die away on the keyboard, as well as exquisite underlying passages. The finale conveys Beethoven’s fantastical, moody side. This is a work that is pushed to the limits, and prefigures the later major compositions in C minor, such as the Grande sonate pathétique, the 5th Symphony and Op. 111.

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