D Minor N. 1-3 Analysis

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It is possible that the D minor Sonata has been drafted before the preceding opus 31.N.1 in G major, probably at the end of the year 1801 and the first months of 1802. It surely reflects more accurately the state of mind of the composer at those difficult times as the Testament of Heiligenstadt, dated 1802, testifies.

According to Carl Czerny, the Allegro of the first movement is inspired by the gallop of a horse heard by Beethoven through his window at the end of the summer of 1802. Even though the movement actually reminds (more of a trotting than a gallop) the allure of a horse, one should, nevertheless, take those assumptions with extreme care. However, it is known that the composer replied to Schindler who questioned him about the significance
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The beginning is a stylized dialogue between the top and the medium-low ranges and this leads to a long development with a melodious, legato settings, analogous to low violins and violas conducting homophonically a hymn-like chant marked with short tremolo outbursts at the low range, like Timpani, and the high.

Following the re-exposition of the main melody accompanied by fluid arpeggios and the hymn-like section transposed appears a Coda with the elements of the beginning which are now expanded with tragic silences.


A unique motive made into a kind of "perpetuum mobile". The writing of the left hand part is to be noted for its request to hold the dominant tone of A in its arpeggios. This held tone, A, in both tonic and dominant arpeggios give the melody an obsessional allure. The movement is also noticeable with its long ranging dynamics, crescendos and diminuendos, as well brisk changes, forte and piano.

It is very interesting to note that the unique fortissimo indication appears just before the Coda, in that sharp jump to the interval of tenth followed by a long chromatic descent without diminuendo. The Sonata ends by a fast running arpeggio to the low D
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