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Cello Sonata No. 3 (Beethoven)

Ludwig van Beethoven's Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69 was written in 1808, Beethoven's first compositional period. Composed in the same year were the two piano trios of Op. 70 and the Choral Fantasy; in the same year Beethoven also completed and published his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies.[1] The sonata was dedicated to Baron Ignaz von Gleichenstein and first performed in March 1809 by cellist Nikolaus Kraft and pianist Dorothea von Ertmann.[2] Beethoven composed five sonatas for cello and piano over his lifetime; Steven Isserlis described his third sonata as the first cello sonata in history to give equally important parts to both of the instruments.[3]

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The work consists of three movements:

  1. Allegro ma non tanto
  2. Scherzo. Allegro molto (in A minor)
  3. Adagio cantabile – Allegro vivace.

The first movement opens with the cello alone; variations of its expansive main theme and a pair of contrasting secondary ideas give much cause to contrapuntal and melodic interplay between the two players.

The scherzo which follows, in the tonic minor (i.e. A minor), prominently features off-beat accents; the trio in the major is heard twice as in many of Beethoven's later scherzos.

The briskly-paced finale is preceded by a short slow introduction.


  1. ^ John Mangum. "Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 3 in A, Op. 69".  
  2. ^ Matthew Rye (1996). "Cello Sonata in A major, Op 69".  
  3. ^ Isserlis, Steven (12 January 2007), "How I fell in love with Ludwig", The Guardian, retrieved 25 August 2015 

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