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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: Beethoven's "Waldstein" and "Appassioata" sonatas: Comparison and analysis
Degree Type: MA
Degree Specialism: Musicology
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: 1996
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: NUI, Maynooth
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (83pp.)
Abstract: The years 1803-1805 were a turbulent time in Beethoven's life. His deafness was as source of turmoil for him. His mixed emotions were very much expressed in the works he produced in these years. The triumphant heroic mood of the 'Waldstein' and the tragic dark mood of the 'Appassionata' are symbolic of his own personal struggle.

While the moods of these two works are contrasting, many similarities exist between them. Beethoven conceived them both in three-movement form, the middle movement of each serving as a "mediator" between two "heavyweight" athletic movements on either side. No sonatas before this had explored the high and low registers of the piano to the same extent. Neither had previous works experimented with contrasting degrees of soft and loud to the same level. Both works test the compass and tone of the pianoforte. They are also taxing on performers, with their many virtuoso elements.

This thesis sheds some light on these ideas. It deals with the 'Waldstein' and 'Appassionata' in terms of how they compare and contrast with each other in aspects of harmony, structure and mood. It also deals with their relation to other works of the years 1803-1805.

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