Movement 1: Adagio sostenuto ed espressivo
Movement 2: Allegro molto più tosto presto
Movement 3: Rondo: Allegro
Beethoven had been told that his new friend could execute violoncello music upon his huge instrument, and one morning, when Dragonetti called at his room, he expressed his desire to hear a sonata. The contrabass was sent for, and the Sonata, No 2 of Op 5, was selected. Beethoven played his part, with his eyes immovably fixed upon his companion, and, in the finale, where the arpeggios occur, was so delighted and excited that at the close he sprang up and threw his arms around both player and instrument.
Like the First Sonata the G minor work has a slow introduction, which here is even more expansive, amounting to an expressive and often dramatic fantasia. The first Allegro is an example of Beethoven’s predilection for including a wide range of diverse material within one movement. The restrained opening theme is soon interrupted by a forte idea accompanied by pounding quaver triplets which are only brought to a halt with the lead-in to the more song-like second subject. The finale is again a rondo, this time in 2/4 time and in G major, with a variety of lively rhythmic patterning and much rapid figuration in demi-semiquavers, culminating in a hectic coda.
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1996