follows the extended dominant pedal point.
As would be the case in a sonata-allegro Recapitulation, we hear
the first theme reiterated in the tonic key, sounding as it did at the
beginning of the movement. Interestingly, now, Beethoven repeats
the modulation to the relative major, rather than “staying home” in
the tonic key.
And this time, instead of a change of mode and a further
modulation, we hear the first theme stated again in E major, before
we are led back to the tonic key of C-sharp minor for a
“recapitulation” of the second theme in the tonic key.
When we see and hear the second theme restated in the tonic key
(mm. 52-55), we recognize that its tortured minor 9th dissonance
occurs between the tonic pitch, C-sharp, in the bass, and the
lowered second scale degree, D-natural, in the melody.
Remarkably, the second theme is preceded—and presaged—by one
last progression (mm. 50-51) that includes the Neapolitan Six
chord: N6 – V7 – i. And in that progression we hear the same
three melody notes of the second theme: D-natural, B-sharp, C-
Let’s take a closer look at mm. 44-53, observing these details.
All that remains to fulfill the “sonata principle” is to find a way to
“unwind” the tension that built up in the first half of the movement
with the succession of ascending-fifth modulations. And in mm.
55-57, Beethoven does just that, by running through a diatonic
harmonic progression of descending fifths.
The last significant Authentic Cadence follows in mm. 59-60 (V7 –
i). In the coda (mm. 60-69), the first theme returns in the left hand,
almost ghost-like, while the right hand arpeggios remind us of the
dominant pedal point we heard in the middle of the movement.