♫ So formally, this movement is an ABA, with a modest coda – formal simplicity rules the day in all four movements of the “Pastorale”; it’s not a piece for showiness or excess, or even irregularity. The middle section of the second movement – the B section, if you will – is really all about providing a contrast with the outer A sections. Where the A section was in d minor, the B is in D Major, and thus instantly sunnier. Where the A section was continuous, with the sixteenth note bassoon line in the bass never letting up, the B section is very much stop-and-go, with a dotted rhythm answered, in every bar, by a chain of triplets. And whereas the melodic line in the A section was a…monologue, if that’s the right word, the B section is a conversation, probably between wind band and a single flute – this being, like the opening, highly orchestral writing. ♫ It’s quite reminiscent of the parallel passage in the slow movement of the sonata op. 26 – the funeral march movement. ♫ In that case, it’s a drumroll and then winds, but it is equally orchestral. In the funeral march, that music is meant to be evocative – performative, even. This is less the case in the “Pastorale”, but I would say that this music, too, is just slightly impersonal; it's less interesting on its own merits than it is as a foil to the darker, more brooding outer sections of the movement. When that darker A section returns, it's very much a literal return – nothing is fundamentally altered. But the first time around, each half was repeated – literally repeated, with no variation. On the return, the repeats are written out, and heavily embellished, with the right hand chords exchanged for a single line moving in the thirty second notes – eight times the speed of the opening version! ♫ Again, it was not exactly relaxed at the outset, but this new motion makes it vastly more insistent: now, on top of the left hand moving in sixteenth notes that never relent, the right hand is equally unrelenting, but twice as fast. The motion is not exactly fast, but it is meant to seem like an unstoppable force. This is even truer of the second half. Even the first time around, with those off-kilter accents, it did reach a climax. ♫ But now, with the increased rate of motion, the climax acquires a new power, and the fateful quality of this music becomes almost overwhelming. ♫ Note that just at the climax, Beethoven makes a harmonic change. ♫ We’d heard the old version three times already; this minor harmonic tweak, along with the greatly embellished right hand line, really gives this fourth iteration a sense of finality. Which, in turn, means we're ready for the coda, which is somber with a capital S. It makes its effect by being sparer, not only than the embellished variant of the opening, but than the opening itself. For the first and only time in the movement, we get the opening motive without the walking bassoon line underneath. ♫ This stark, unadorned version of the opening has a chilling effect on the music, and sets the coda on a brooding path. ♫ Simple, intense, and powerful. And it achieves those qualities using many of the tools found earlier in the movement. Crescendos snuffed out by subito pianos. ♫ Then the music of the B section, now in the opening’s minor mode. ♫ And finally, music of utter simplicity – simplicity being Beethoven’s most powerful tool all the way through this sonata. ♫ The outer movements of this piece are notable for their unhurried, unharried, cyclical quality: the second movement, in contrast, is much more focused, intense, and severe. It’s interesting to look at it immediately after op. 10 no. 3 – it doesn’t have any of the melodrama, not to say histrionics of the earlier d minor movement, but its power -- undeniable.