Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven wrote a number of rondos, mostly for piano solo, but one for piano and orchestra, another for violin and piano, and one for wind octet. Curiously, all of his rondos are early works, none coming after 1800. This C major effort is by far the more popular of the two in the Op. 51 set and the most widely performed of all his rondos, with the exception of the 1795 Rondo a Capriccio, better known as "Rage Over a Lost Penny." That work's charm lies in its humor, while this C major effort scores with its grace and Mozartian lightness. It opens with a chipper theme whose mixture of the playful and graceful impart both innocence and elegance. The melody forms an arch-like shape in its jaunty rise and carefree descent. After this theme and related materials are heard a second time, Beethoven transforms them, making them darker and more intense, and giving them muscle. The main theme periodically recurs, but the order of appearance of the other material gives this a rather loose rondo structure. This work, typically lasting about five minutes, is not one of the composer's deeper creations, but its energy and youthful charm make it a thoroughly worthwhile listening experience.