Beethoven’s Final Sonata Opus 111
Notes by Margaret Scialdone
After completing his 32nd and final piano sonata, Beethoven is said to have made the astonishing remark that the piano is “after all, an unsatisfactory instrument”. This work does indeed strain the limits of both piano and performer, the latter spiritually as well as technically. The second movement, innocuously called “Arietta” (little song), reaches almost other-worldly dimensions of emotional profundity. Although he went on to compose other works for the piano (the Diabelli Variations and Opus 119 Bagatelles), he never contemplated writing another sonata.