♫ So, today’s lecture goes back to the usual pattern of this course, in that it focuses on a single sonata: the E flat major, Op. 31 no. 3. This is, naturally, the last of the three sonatas opus 31, and the last for us to look at. It stands out, ironically, by being the most subtle of the group – whereas the first two sonatas of op. 31 could be summed up with one, or at most two adjectives (comic in the case of the first; dramatic and mysterious in the case of number two, the “Tempest”) this sonata has a character which is more complex and therefore more difficult to pin down. It is not only the character of opus 31 no. 3 that is subtle; its innovations are likewise subtler. Remember, op. 31 is the group of sonatas that Beethoven said represented a “new path”, so all three pieces should, in theory, show Beethoven taking the sonata in a different direction. This third sonata doesn’t break major new ground in its use of harmony (like no.1) or structure (like no. 2), but it is not without new ideas, and ones that were to make their mark on subsequent music – both Beethoven’s own, and the music of the generation that came after him. If the first two sonatas of op. 31 went at the old sonata model with a hammer, no. 3 works with a chisel. Op. 31 no. 3 is sometimes called “The Hunt”. This was certainly not Beethoven’s name, and falls in the neither-helpful-nor-harmful category of nicknames – it's reasonably descriptive of the last movement, as we will see, but has really nothing to say about the rest of the piece. The sonata is in 4 movements, unlike the other op. 31s, each of which has just three. Many of the early sonatas have four movements, so there’s nothing notable in that in and of itself. What is interesting and atypical about Op. 31 no. 3 is that it does not have a slow movement. We have already seen three movement sonatas without a real slow movement – op. 10 no. 2 and both of the op.14 sonatas, for starters. But Op. 31 no. 3 is the first (and, in fact, only) time that Beethoven wrote a four movement piano sonata without a slow movement. Beethoven had done this once previously, in one of the string quartets Op. 18, and he would return to this model in 1812 – a full ten years later – with the 8th Symphony. Normally, Beethoven’s four movement works have either a menuet OR a scherzo; but these exceptional works, have both. In the case of Op. 31 no. 3, the menuet comes third, and is the closest thing the piece has to a slow movement, being courtly but also full of repose; the scherzo, which precedes it, is high-spirited and comic.