Skip to main content
Beethoven Piano Sonata Opus 110

"Jesu, meine Freude", (O Jesus, my Joy) "Herr Gott, dich lob' ich, alleluia", (Lord God, I praise thee, alleluia)

The manuscript reads:
Sonata  am 25sten Dezember  von L. van Beethoven  1821

There is a smudge before the last number 1 - an erased "0" or "2"? - and the "1" is slightly enlarged to make sure no mistake is possible; the job is done and … in time. Well, not quite finished yet - it will need some more tweaking in the months to come -but basically the present is ready to be wrapped up and delivered by due date. A present for whom? And what is that due date? The latter question is easily answered. The score of Opus 110 is ready to be sent off on Christmas Day (December 25th) 1821; Beethoven had turned 41 just nine days earlier. The answer to the first question is less obvious and it took some ten years of work on two prior sonatas before I could definitively name the recipient. The Christmas present was for the Christmas child himself: little baby Jesus.

The opening movement carries the unique annotation, con amibilitå, with gentleness, and is constructed - as is the whole sonata - on the matrix of the text of Bach's funeral motet "Jesu, meine Freude" O Jesus, my Joy. As Beethoven will do in the third movement (following in the steps of the Bach of the Passions) the first movement presents us with a theme for meditation, twice repeated in the first four measures "Jesu, meine / Freude" and then wastes no time to expand that in the subsequent seven-measure phrase (the last measure is a contraction of the original two-measure motif!) then repeats those seven measures once again, crossing the keyboard in elegant arabesques - shepherds streaming down from the mountain - dancing and singing in jubilation: O Jesus, my Joy. As you listen to the recording you may to follow the annotated score and your enjoyment will be complete if you can hear the sonata, not as an instrumental but as a vocal work, encompassing a range impossible for even the highest and lowest of human voices. Listen to it as Gregorian Chant performed on 88 (or close to that) keys. It would be ungrateful for me not to express my gratitude to St. Joseph for his willingness to step aside for a moment and allow Beethoven to briefly take his place, as the composer kneels reverently (see the third panel of the Triptych cover) next to Mary and joins her in the adoration of the infant in the crib.

Beethoven Piano Sonata Opus 110 Analysis - Power Point

Beethoven Signature