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Ludwig van Beethoven » Violin Sonatas (complete editions)

See also: an excerpt (click here) from the Sonata op. 47 (Kreutzer) included in Ossip Schnirlin's Neue Weg (1921) to illustrate the use of spiccato.

Metronome marks by Czerny, Moscheles, and Singer are given in a comparative table here 

For many years, Ferdinand David's comprehensively bowed and fingered edition of the Beethoven Violin Sonatas, published by Peters, remained the only significant annotated edition of these works. The David edition, however, exists in a number of variants, not all of which seem to have stemmed from him. The edition was re-engraved during the 1880s, more than ten year's after David's death, at which time a number of changes were introduced. Three versions of the Peters edition are given here: one with the plate number 4926 and two different versions of pl. no. 4899) The complicated publication history is discussed in the introduction to Ferdinand David's edition. 

Dont's edition, issued by the obscure Austrian publisher Wedl in Wiener Neustadt 15 years later, seems only to have had very limited circulation and as yet, despite extensive searching, it has been impossible to locate a copy anywhere in the world. 

Edmund Singer's edition, which was also the first  to have a separate named editor for the piano part (Wilhelm Speidel), is the most detailed of all the editions included here. It was designated on the title as being intended 'particularly for use in music conservatoires'. Each sonata includes a key to the markings employed. As well as the normal bowing and fingering instructions, these include among other things instructions for the part of the bow to be employed, and a sign for portamento (which mostly occurs where the fingering does not necessarily indicate it). 

In comparison, Friedrich Hermann's edition seems restrained, providing largely essential fingering and bowing. The fingering, however, frequently implies portamento where late 20th- and early 21st-century players would mostly avoid it.

Adolf Brodsky's edition exhibits a somewhat more modern approach to fingering, making use, for instance, of 2nd position where the older editors tended to avoid it. There are still, however, many instances of portamento fingering.

Arnold Rosé is particularly free with portamento fingering, but tends to avoid open strings and harmonics, which are prominent in earlier editions. Hie approach probably reflects his own tendency to employ vibrato more freely (which is demonstrated in his solo recordings).

Joseph Joachim's edition was published by Peters alongside Ferdinand David's, which continued to be sold for some years into the 20th century. It does not reflect a major change of approach and seems more to have been issued as a result of Joachim's prestige as a Beethoven performer than as a reflection of newer tendencies in German violin playing.


Opus No: nos 1-10 op. 12 no. 1; op. 12 no. 2; op. 12 no. 3; op. 23; op. 24; op. 30 no. 1; op. 30 no. 2; op. 30 no. 3; op. 47; op. 96

Editor(s) Title Publisher Publication No. Year
Auer, Leopold Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violin Carl Fischer 789 1917 View
Brodsky, Adolph Sonatas for Violin and Piano Schirmer 232 1894 View
David, Ferdinand Sonaten für Pianoforte und Violine C. F. Peters 1868 View
Dont, Jacob Sonaten Wedl 1883 View
Grützmacher, Friedrich Sonaten für Pianoforte und Violine (arr. cello) Breitkopf und Härtel 1874 View
Halir, Carl Sonaten für Pianoforte und Violine Litolff 330 1905 View
Hermann, Friedrich Sonates pour Piano et Violon Breitkopf & Härtel V.A 1246/7 1890 View
Joachim, Joseph Sonaten für Pianoforte und Violine C. F. Peters 1901 View
Kreisler, Fritz Violin - Sonatas Augener/B. Schott's Söhne 1911 View
Rosé, Arnold Sonaten für Violine und Klavier Universal 104a 1901 View
Seybold, Arthur Violin-Sonaten Anton J. Benjamin 1919 View
Singer, Edmund Sonaten für Pianoforte und Violine Cotta 1887 View