(MUSIC) So! That was a big bite. Moving on to the development, the music remains as full of incident. One residual effect of using the mediant instead of the dominant as a secondary key area is that Beethoven has to figure out how – or, more to the point, where – to begin the development. If the second theme had been on the dominant, the norm would have been to begin the development there as well; going back, fleetingly, to the tonic would have been possible as well. Staying on the mediant would have been very awkward-sounding – Beethoven never did it, in spite of continuing to use that key area again and again, for the rest of his life – and so Beethoven needs to do a bit of fiddling to get where he needs to go. A lot of fiddling, actually. Beethoven begins this development not on the dominant, not on the tonic, but on the subdominant, which is even further away from the mediant than the tonic is. So, Mediant. (MUSIC) Tonic, and-- (MUSIC)-- subdominant. Five links down the chain. And fittingly, Beethoven seems to run around in circles in order to get there. (MUSIC) And, having chased our tail, we're now into F major, and the development. One fascinating feature of this development is that despite being neither short nor in any way modest, it completely overlooks the second theme. As so often discussed – and as implied in the word itself – the purpose of the development is to develop the materials of the exposition. But while certain bits of the second theme area get used, the theme itself doesn’t have so much as a supporting role. To me, this really cements its status as a respite from the relentless driving motion of the piece. The unusual choice of key had already done so, but its absence from the development really drives home the extent to which it seems to have floated in from another planet. So, instead of being an equal opportunity employer of all of the movement’s thematic materials, this development turns into a kind of fantasia on the first theme: Beethoven is, as he so often is, fantastically resourceful with it. Here is the beginning of the development. (MUSIC) The first thing to note about this is how dark it is. As I mentioned, this sonata in general, and this first theme in particular, has a tendency to hover between major and minor. Whereas the theme itself, in the exposition, leans towards major, in the development, the scale is tipped towards minor, and the theme’s darkness is given full expression. In fact, I struggle to think of any other sonata in a major key whose first movement development is so predominantly in minor. That is very powerful evidence of the ambiguity in the theme itself. Now, let me break down what I just played. For four bars, we have an almost unaltered reiteration of the theme, in F major. (MUSIC) But with that move towards the minor in the final bar (MUSIC), the music takes a turn, and we are launched into a kind of stream of consciousness based on the theme’s third and forth bars (MUSIC). Beethoven might be uniquely resourceful, but there is still only so much one can do with (MUSIC) But those third and forth bars get repeated dozens of times, cycling through a remarkable number of mostly minor keys. First the bars simply get repeated, taking us, in short order, to C major, then c minor, and then g minor. (MUSIC) And then he puts on the accelerator, quickening the accompaniment in the left hand, and the motive itself, going from: (MUSIC) to (MUSIC) (MUSIC) And now we're into C minor. (MUSIC). And now we're into f minor. And here, he takes this motive into an even more rarefied place. He eliminates the sixteenth note response (MUSIC), and repeats the first half of the motive over and over again, in a surreal, ghostly, pianissimo passage that modulates nonstop. (MUSIC) And again. (MUSIC) And again! (MUSIC) And here, he sets his jaw and decides we are staying put (MUSIC). I apologize for breaking down this passage so minutely, but it’s pretty amazing, and very revealing. Both in its hazy sonority, and in its EXTREME harmonic instability, it really emphasizes the character of the opening theme that it's riffing on. And that character is NOT aggressive! It is, in fact, not even confident. Perhaps it seems like I’m stating the obvious here, but this sonata does need a bit of saving from its own reputation.