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Nine of Beethoven's ten sonatas for violin and piano were composed between 1797 and 1803, for his own performances with various violinists. In the Classical era such works were often described as sonatas for piano with violin accompaniment and Beethoven, though continuing the trend toward full partnership begun by Mozart, certainly wasn't about to undercut the presence of his own instrument.
Op. 24 was completed in 1801 and was probably intended as a pair with Op. 23; both were dedicated to the banker Count Moritz von Fries, who also commissioned the Op. 29 String Quintet composed about the same time. The Sonata's nickname "Spring" was not given by the composer, but it does capture the generally cheerful sense of zesty blossoming in the work. The opening movement is a big, bold sonata form, its gentle first theme contrasting starkly with the dramatic stress of the second. The lyrical Adagio marries variation techniques to song form, and the short, soft Scherzo and Trio is a Haydnesque comic interlude. The Rondo finale sums it all up, matching the harmonic adventures of the first movement, the tuneful grace of the Adagio, and the wit of the scherzo.
- John Henken