Cello Sonata No. 3 (Beethoven)

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Ludwig van Beethoven's Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69 was written in 1808. It consists of three movements:

  1. Allegro ma non tanto
  2. Scherzo. Allegro molto (in A minor)
  3. Adagio cantabile – Allegro vivace.

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The Sonata No. 3 dates from Beethoven's most productive compositional period. Composed in the same year were the Violin Concerto and the two piano trios of Op. 70; the same year also saw the completion and publication of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies.

The first movement opens with the cello alone; variations of its expansive main theme and a pair of contrasting secondary ideas give much cause to contrapuntal and melodic interplay between the two players. The scherzo which follows, in the tonic minor (i.e. A minor), prominently features off-beat accents; the trio in the major is heard twice as in many of Beethoven's later scherzos.

The briskly-paced finale is preceded by a short slow introduction; the form of the sonata thus resembles that of works such as the Archduke Trio, where the scherzo precedes a slow movement linked to the fast finale.

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