Something for Thursday

If you’ve ever been around piano students or piano teachers, you’ve heard this work of Beethoven’s. The Sonata No. 8 in C minor, also known as the Pathetique, is often a young pianist’s first entrance into the world of the Beethoven piano sonatas, and for good reason: it’s highly technical but not so demanding as Beethoven’s later sonatas, which require very high levels of skill if not outright virtuosity to perform well. The Pathetique also offers a lot of drama, brooding passages, stormy melodies, and drama a-plenty for a young student who is just beginning to engage the last of the Classical composers and, possibly, the first of the Romantics. The work has become almost a cliche, in much the same way that Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony has, and it’s worthwhile to come to it again once in a while with refreshed ears. Here is the Pathetique Sonata, performed by Daniel Barenboim, one of the greats.

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