All of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, Ranked (Part 4)

Part Three here!

At last, the cream of the crop! The best of the best! The part you skipped to!

#8: No. 30 in E major, Op. 109

Beethoven wrote a few Theme and Variations into his piano sonatas, but this one is easily the best. You can tell because it is the highest Theme and Variations in this list.

 

#7: No. 13 in Eb major, Op. 27 No. 1 "Sonata quasi una Fantasia"

Yes, that's right, there are two sonatas quasi una fantasia. This one is lesser known, which is unfortunate because it is just amazing. Frankly, it's probably lesser known because it doesn't have any easy movements to play. The world isn't fair. Get used to it.

 

#6: No. 14 in C# minor, Op. 27 No. 2 "Sonata quasi una Fantasia" "Moonlight"

Come on, you know this one. It might even be your favorite. But surprisingly, Beethoven said of it: "Surely I've written better things." What an ungrateful jerk.

 

#5: No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathetique"

You might know this one, too. If you don't know, you can listen. And if you can't listen, you can look up the sheet music. And if you can't look up the sheet music, you can probably look it up online. And if you can't look it up online, you can go directly to the box of shame and stay there.

 

#4: No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 "Tempest"

Like most named sonatas, Beethoven did not title it - someone else did. The name "Tempest" may have come from the juxtaposition of wild and violent moods, like a storm. Or perhaps it got its name because the movements somehow represent the story in Shakespeare's play "The Tempest." But actually, this piece is clearly based on the 1982 movie "Tempest" which stars John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands.

 

#3: No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90

Did you know that the second movement was inspired by the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul"? No? That's because it's not true. Uncanny resemblance, though.

 

#2: No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 "Waldstein"

Fun fact: I loved this sonata so much growing up that I would rip it off and stick quotes from the first movement in my own compositions. No, you're never going to hear them.

 

#1: No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata"

This is the greatest piece of music anyone has ever written for all time.