Beethoven on Board - Sonata No. 1 in F Minor


This work bears an overly simple dedication to his then-teacher, Joseph Haydn, from whom Beethoven claimed to have learnt nothing. There may well be an element of truth in this given that Haydn was probably too busy with his own compositions to devote much time to his student. However, there is no doubt Beethoven would have been greatly influenced by Haydn’s works themselves, including their Sturm und Drang elements.

Beethoven’s choice of key for this work, F minor, is unusual as most keyboard compositions at the time were aimed at the keen, privileged amateur pianists and more accessible keys were preferred. Additionally, as contemporary keyboard instruments were not tuned to the ‘well-tempered’ standards of today, the key of F minor may well have sounded slightly bizarre.

It is folly to believe that he would have chosen this key just to be different for the sake of it. In fact this key, already used by Beethoven in one of his three early sonatas which demonstrates his dramatic characteristics, eventually leads to the great Appassionata Sonata. The temperament and immensely dramatic opening of No.1 does indeed, for the right reasons, stamp his mark in the world of great composers.

Whilst adhering to the more traditional ‘sonata form’ from the Classical period, he does add an extra movement across the set of Op.2. This would normally have been reserved for larger scale works such as symphonies or chamber music and is therefore unique in itself.


  1. Allegro
  2. Adagio
  3. Menuetto & Trio
  4. Prestissimo

Resources & links

  • Click here to view open domain editions for this work (external link).
  • Click here to find out more about The Piano Boat which offers exclusive and intimate recitals in a specially designed floating concert venue!

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