Beethoven Horn Sonata, Op. 17

Ludwig van Beethoven composed his Horn Sonata in F major, Op. 17 in 1800 for the virtuoso horn player Giovanni Punto. Beethoven was not well-known outside of Vienna at the time of this composition, and after a performance of the piece in Pest, played by Punto and Beethoven, a Hungarian critic wrote, "Who is this Beethoven? His name is not known to us. Of course, Punto is very well known." This piece was composed for the rare combination of horn and piano, but is also scored for the more common piano and cello. The title on the score, is in fact "Sonata for Piano with Horn or Violoncello," or, in French"Sonate pour le Forte-Piano avec un Cor ou Violoncelle." This name is significant as the piano occupies at least as important a part as the horn; rather than functioning as a purely accompanying instrument. It consists of three movements: Allegro moderato Poco adagio Rondo: Allegro molto A standard performance usually lasts 15 minutes. The piece was written originally for natural horn but is most often performed on the modern instrument with valves. The piano part was also written for the fortepiano and so it provides some difficulties for the player of the modern instrument.

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