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Navigating a robust Beethoven Sonatina (not the one everybody plays)

I borrowed a few hours from my Haydn immersion to review a Beethoven Sonatina that is absolutely charming but very challenging. One would think that such a work labeled -mini, by its “-ina” suffix spelled an easier passage to the final cadence by comparison to a composition in SONATA form.

Not so.

For example, many associate Clementi sonatinas as student pieces, not well-developed musical masterpieces. In the same vein, Beethoven with far LESS output in this form, might be taken even less seriously in these composing efforts since his 32 SONATAS stole the show. (Note: Op. 49, so-called EASY ones are beyond simple to play)

In truth, Beethoven’s two-movement sonatina masterpiece in F Major, (Anh.5) is packed with scads of runs that require clarity, shape, and injections of personality. Therefore, a player cannot skim the surface through streams of 16ths, or ignore the composer’s diverse articulations. To add to its complexity, abrupt mood shifts both in the Allegro Assai and Rondo require a mastery of emotional and physical control. (Back to the fire and ice metaphor)

Here’s a sample of what’s demanded in the very First movement:
I apologize for my Mac Computer’s temperament. I never can predict motion/sound delays, but just the same, you can see my demonstrated physical gestures because of the repetitions I’ve provided.

Play through: