(MUSIC) So, as the first movement closes, nothing less than the universe opens: the slow movement of opus 2 number 3 is one of Beethoven’s earliest cosmic masterpieces. I've played the opening once already, in the lecture on opus 7, because they are so similar in their use of silence, but it bears repeating: (MUSIC) Many things, here! First of all, what I just played is, amazingly, both the entire A section of the piece, and just one phrase. Beethoven really had a gift for this – the very different but also gorgeous slow movement of opus 22 also features a minute-and-a-half opening phrase that leads us directly to the B section (it’s a sentence-as-paragraph – a Proustian sentence). But what’s so amazing about this immense phrase is that it is sustained through so many silences. There is nearly as much silence in it as sound, but these silences never bring resolution, or exhalation, or finality. The endings of each individual section: (MUSIC) these all ask harmonic questions. And only here (MUSIC), after nearly a minute, to we get a resolution. Silence served Beethoven as richly and faithfully as anything, throughout his life – it creates such a sense of expectation, of him asking questions of and communing with some greater power. The second significant, immediately apparent aspect of this is its key, E Major. This is a topic we’ve discussed before, but it’s central enough to be worth revisiting. Beethoven absolutely loved using distant key areas – within movements, but especially for slow movements of large-scale works – to create a sense of difference, and of distance. E Major is four links down the circle of fifths from C Major, (MUSIC) and it sounds far-off. In this specific relationship – C to E – this is a mediant one, which of course, is one of Beethoven’s great loves. (MUSIC) He just cannot get enough of that juxtaposition. But while the significance of the E Major is heavily connected to the piece being in C Major, and it therefore being the mediant, Beethoven also just loves E Major. Over and over, within pieces of all keys, he uses it for some of his most tender, and incandescent slow movements. This begins with the trio opus 1 number 2 – that's, I’d argue, Beethoven’s first truly great slow movement – and continues through the third piano concerto, the extraordinary string quartet op. 59 number 2, and then the sonatas op. 90 and of course 109. Again and again, E Major, in any context, signals the arrival of something otherworldly. It’s so interesting, how composers are attracted to certain keys, and have different relationships to them. Haydn wrote very little in E Major; and Mozart even less – out of 626 pieces, all I can think of is the marvelous but slightly strange piano trio K. 542, and the admittedly extraordinary – but only three minute long – trio “Soave il Vento”, from the opera Cosi fan Tutte. For neither Mozart nor Haydn did E Major have some special meaning; for Beethoven it did. What’s particularly interesting about the way Beethoven heard – felt – E Major, is that with its four sharps, many would regard it as a rather bright-hued key. Beethoven’s E Major is indeed bright, but it's also remarkably warm. Many musicians would suggest that those two qualities are opposed to one another, but Beethoven finds their intersection point, which is radiance. Beethoven’s E Major movements take different forms, but they are invariably radiant. And lest this is beginning to sound like hokum, keys do have powerful and specific associations for different composers. This goes back to a time when instruments were not even-tempered, and therefore the keys were very literally different from one another – not a subject I can speak about with authority or experience – but it continued for centuries after that was no longer the case. And for Beethoven in particular, over and over, we see that E-flat Major tends to be regal, F Major is pastoral, C minor is fateful, C Major is muscular, and E Major is radiant. Of course, with music as multi-layered as Beethoven’s, this is inevitably reductive, but these tendencies are undeniable and unmistakable. I realize I’m probably testing many people’s patience, having gone on this long about the second movement without progressing past one – admittedly very long! – phrase. But there is one other aspect of it I need to discuss. Here, again, is the opening…kernel…of the second movement. (MUSIC) It is virtually the same combination and pattern of notes that opened the first movement, simply transposed into a new key. (MUSIC) The curlicue reigns supreme! Obviously, the respective characters of these two ideas have nothing in common, which makes it only more impressive that motivically, they are essentially identical, winding their way around the third scale degree and ending up on the second. (MUSIC) Now, this is perhaps not as sophisticated as the harmonic link that bound the outer movements of the Appassionata, (MUSIC) but it is a sure sign that, as early as opus 2 in 1801, Beethoven was preoccupied with the question of what held a sonata together, and already coming up with interesting answers.