Piano Sonata No.8 in C minor Op.13 ('Pathétique')
Ludwig van Beethoven


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The ninth of Beethoven's 17 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This peaked at number 112 in 2008.

The Pathétique hails from the early part of Beethoven's career: the late 1700s, a time when the traditions of the classical period were still dominant and Beethoven himself was largely content to compose within these constraints. For the best part of two hundred years, musicians have debated the true reason for its nickname. Some sources suggest Beethoven himself added the subtitle Pathétique, while others imply it was the work of his publisher, albeit with the composer's blessing.

The key of C minor often a perfect vehicle for tragic, deeply emotive music is Beethoven's key of choice here, leading many to believe it was directly inspired by Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 14, composed in the same key less than two decades previously.

Angels Pity by Carlo Crivelli (c.1470).