To music’s passion marvelously martyr,
Beethoven wrote the great Appassionata
in 1803, while trying to compete
with deafness that by then was quite complete.
Amazing how this handicap could be
for him a hurdle over which he’d flee
with flying jumps, while taking little heed
of those who could not keep up with his speed.
His signature became in every clef
the proof that handicaps like being deaf
may, if they’re treated with disdain and passion,
a signal not for pity or compassion,
but challenge, which he proved was not absurd
both in his middle period and the third.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, opus 57, colloquially known as the Appassionata, is considered one of the three great piano sonatas of his middle period (the others being the Waldstein sonata, opus 53 and Les Adieux, Opus 81a). It was composed during 1803, 1804, 1805, and perhaps 1806, and is dedicated to Count Franz von Brunswick. The first edition was published in February 1807 in Vienna. Unlike the early Sonata No. 8, Pathétique, the Appassionata was not named during the composer's lifetime, but was so labeled in 1838 by the publisher of a four-hand arrangement of the work. The Appassionata was considered by Beethoven to be his most tempestuous piano sonata until the Hammerklavier, being described as a "brilliantly executed display of emotion and music". 1803 was the year Beethoven came to grips with his complete deafness. An average performance of all three movements of the Appassionata sonata lasts about 23 minutes.