Schulz's Beethoven: Schroeder's Muse
page 16 of 156

Charles Schulz
Peanuts •  03/25/1952

By the 1850s the Hammerklavier had long been nicknamed the "Giant Sonata" by musicians because of the mighty opening gesture (which is drawn in panel 3), the extreme number of pages in the first edition (58!), the technical virtuosity required to master the work, and the immense power and large number of ideas it develops. By the 20th century it had been renamed the "Mount Everest" of all piano sonatas. Once we're aware of this history, readers can better appreciate the sophistication of Schulz's Hammerklavier strips. Here Schroeder decides a running start will best enable him to launch the mighty opening. Tongue stuck firmly in cheek, Schroeder lands on the ground to begin the most difficult piano sonata ever written.

Music Excerpt: Hammerklavier Sonata in B-flat Major, Allegro, Opus 106 (1819): mm. 1-2
Craig Sheppard, piano

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