Beethoven Sonata No. 21 in C


Because so much of my day job is talk about money sometimes I need to wash my mind of it when I drive home. Tech podcasts don’t seem to do the job so I click on the NY classical music station WQXR. Yesterday as I drove I had a serious classical music moment. There was no traffic, the sun was setting and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 21 in C came on. I’m not an expert in classical music. The only reason I knew what piece was playing is because the host said it was about to play. Something clicked while I drove because the Sonata hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean mind changing great. There clearly is a central theme say a little melody that is continually returned to albeit in hundreds of different and all pretty ways. Later I was speaking to my friend Gabri who is a pianist. He told me. “Everything Beethoven did after Sonata 11 he created deaf.”. I wish I knew which version I heard on QXR that day. So my question… does anyone else know No. 21 in C and feel the same way?

“The Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op.53, also known as the Waldstein, is considered to be one of Beethoven’s greatest piano sonatas, as well as one of the three particularly notable sonatas of his middle period (the other two being the Appassionata sonata, Opus 57, and Les Adieux, Opus 81a). The sonata was completed in the summer of 1804. The work has a scope that surpasses Beethoven’s previous piano sonatas, and notably is one of his most technically challenging compositions. It is a key work early in his ‘Heroic’ decade (1803-1812) and set the stage for piano compositions in the grand manner both in Beethoven’s later work and all future composers.” –

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photo credit: fotograf1v2

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

4 thoughts on “Beethoven Sonata No. 21 in C”

  1. The Waldstein is indeed one of the most important Sonatas of the second period in Beethoven’s music and one of the most beautiful in my opinion.
    Let me check in the next days among my old concert’s records…i may have a surprise for you.;)

  2. Oh and another things: you choose Wilhelm Kempff as pianist,which was a great Beethoven interpreter.
    Personally i suggest you also to listen this Sonata played by Sviatoslav Richter or Maurizio Pollini.

  3. Yeah, I worked at a classical radio station for several years while in college. There is some great stuff…and Beethoven’s is some of the best, for sure.

  4. I too am a very casual listener of classical, and it was a video on pbs of barenboim playing the final movement of the waldstein that really floored me and made me take notice.

    The recurring theme is so beautiful, and the contrast with the intensity and temo changes are brilliant.

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