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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

What Was Old Is New Again With Beethoven's Sonata No. 30

dreaming-flickr user Jochen Spalding-b_lumenkraft.jpg
Flickr user Jochen Spalding (b_lumenkraft)

After his mighty "Hammerklavier Sonata," Ludwig van Beethoven continued with writing sonatas, but on a smaller and more intimate scale.

The "Sonata No. 30 in E" is a rare combination of nostalgia, youthful vigor and an antiquarian's love of baroque musical forms.

In the first movement, the music swims out of the void into being and the composer weaves passages that simultaneously project them forward and fall back into reminiscence.

The music becomes halting as if it is questioning it's own reason for existence. The movement is marked Vivace ma non troppo / Adagio espressivo (lively but not too lively & slow and expressive).

The second movement is dance-like, with some power and determination. Marked Prestissimo (fast as possible), this music contrasts humor and the old thundering Beethoven.

The third movement is again the payoff of the sonata. Unlike the 28th Sonata in A, where the finale brings together all the components of the previous music, the last movement of the 30th sonata is an interior conversation.

Marked Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung, Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo. This theme and variation movement is part reminiscence, self rebukes and dreaming of a better existence.

It was precisely these qualities that the producers of the film "The Girl in a Swing" saw when they used this music to paint the chameleon-like moods of the haunted character of the beautiful Karin - the doomed.

The sonata is dedicated to the daughter of Beethoven's long-time friend and supporter Antonie Brentano.

Hear this exercise in shifting moods, Beethoven's "Sonata No. 30 in E" tomorrow morning, April 25, in the 6 o'clock hour on KPAC 88.8 FM,  your Classical oasis.

Randy was Texas Public Radio's Classical Music Director until 2013 and the longest-serving employee in Texas Public Radio's history. He hosted the very first airshift on KPAC when the station went on the air at 90.9 FM in San Antonio back in November, 1982.