♫ Today’s lecture is on the D Major Sonata, Op. 10 no. 3, one of the most inventive and dramatic sonatas of the earliest period, the so-called "first thirteen." Op. 10 no. 3 is, obviously, the last sonata in the trinity that forms op. 10. We've already looked at the dark, brusque C minor sonata, which is no. 1, and and the humor-filled F Major, which is no. 2. No. 3, in D Major, is the largest and most ambitious of the group. This -- the last work in an opus being the one with the grandest aims -- is often the case: it was arguably true of the opus 1 trios, and it was certainly true of the opus 2 sonatas. On the most obvious level, this is the only one of the opus 10 sonatas that has four movements rather than three, but it also has an emotional depth and complexity that separates it from the other two works. And, most significantly, it has a remarkable, tragic slow movement – not the first great slow movement Beethoven wrote, but certainly the first great tragic slow movement, which anticipates many masterworks to come, from the quartet op. 18 number 1, which followed hot on this sonata's heels, to the Eroica Symphony, to the 1st Razumovsky Quartet, to the "Ghost" trio. We’ll get to the slow movement in due course, but let’s start at the beginning, with the first movement, which is pretty special itself. The first way in which this movement distinguishes itself is through its irrepressible speed: the great majority of the time, Beethoven marked his opening, sonata form movements "Allegro", or some qualified form of "allegro". When he wanted them to be particularly driven, he might go for “Allegro con brio”, or “Allegro Assai”, or maybe even “Allegro molto e con brio”. But here, in Op. 10 no. 3, Beethoven goes a step further, marking the movement “Presto”. Now, certain musicologists have have made the argument that for Beethoven, "Allegro con brio" is just as fast or faster than "presto", but the fact of the matter is that for centuries -- both predating and outlasting Beethoven -- presto was generally used in extreme cases to denote music that went further than an allegro in terms of propulsion. Only "prestissimo" is faster than presto, and Beethoven never used that for a 1st movement, ever, though it does show up in the finale of Op. 10 no. 1, and the middle movement of op. 109. No, presto is Beethoven's upper limit for opening movements, and the only other time he used it in a piano sonata was for little op. 79, "presto alla tedesca" in that case. And Op. 10 no. 3's presto is made even more extreme by its meter: unlike the majority of movements with four quarter notes to a bar, this movement is marked not in 4/4 time, but in 2/2, or "alla breve". So what Beethoven is saying here is that there are two pulses in a bar, rather than four. This is a subjective, difficult topic to discuss, but if a movement is marked alla breve, one tends to play it somewhat faster than you would if it were in 4/4, because there's less to be emphasized inside the bar. If you want the listener to be aware of all four beats, well, that simply takes more time. If there's only two beats that need to be felt, one can play faster. This is not an exact science -- the fact of the matter is that many movements have some material that feels more like four beats to a bar, and other material that works better counting just two to a bar, and the composer simply has to make a choice one way or another. But I think it is safe to say that by giving this movement the marking of Presto and alla breve, Beethoven is making a statement that forward momentum rules the day here.