Three Piano Sonatas, WoO 47 (Beethoven)

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Beethoven at age 13
Beethoven at age 13

The Three Early Piano Sonatas, WoO 47, "Kurfürstensonaten" were composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1782 and 1783, when he was twelve and thirteen years old. The sonatas show a certain level of precocity and serve as a precursor to the masterworks he later produced. They are dedicated to the Elector (Kurfürst) Maximilian Frederick.[1]


Like Mozart's, Beethoven's musical talent was recognized at a young age,[2] and these three sonatas give an early glimpse of the composer's abilities, as well as his boldness. Beethoven was writing in a form usually attempted by older, more mature composers[citation needed], as the sonata was a cornerstone of Classical piano literature. Since they were written at such an early age (and Beethoven himself did not assign them opus numbers), the works have historically been omitted from the canon of Beethoven's piano sonatas. However, Barry Cooper included the trio in his critical edition of the sonatas created for ABRSM, arguing that 'A complete edition has to be complete, and if you ignore early works, you don’t show the longer trajectory of the composer’s development'.[3] The inclusion of these three works raises Beethoven's total number of piano sonatas from 32 to 35 (with the incipit of a possible 36th identified by Thayer).[4]

The sonatas[edit]

No. 1 in E major[edit]

  1. Allegro cantabile
  2. Andante
  3. Rondo vivace

No. 2 in F minor[edit]

  1. Larghetto maestoso – Allegro assai
  2. Andante
  3. Presto

No. 3 in D major[edit]

  1. Allegro
  2. Menuetto – Sostenuto
  3. Scherzando: Allegretto, ma non troppo

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thayer 1921, pp. 71–74.
  2. ^ Thayer 1921, p. 59.
  3. ^ The New York Times Retrieved 12 March 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Cooper, Barry (2017). The Creation of Beethoven's 35 Piano Sonatas. Routledge. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-4724-1432-8.


External links[edit]