♫ I so regret doing this, but once again, I think there is no choice but to skip ahead. Every note of this movement is high intensity and rich with meaning, but formally, the rest of the recapitulation is more-or-less predictable. The second theme – the “op. 111” theme initially in the key of D Major – moves not quite to the home key of f sharp minor, but at least to its parallel major, F sharp Major. ♫ And so, too, does the closing theme, now, with that much more of the slow movement behind it, somehow even more suffused with consolation than was the case the first time around. ♫ But the consolation never lasts in this movement. This F sharp major music doesn’t have the last word, instead leading us into a coda. Of course this movement has an enormous coda – it NEEDS to be enormous to balance everything that has preceded it, and it obliges. It is huge in length, in context, in feeling. And it begins by taking one of the movement’s main preoccupations – the relationship of f sharp minor and G Major – and expanding it in a big way. That G Major utopian phrase ♫ has already come four times, but it is evanescent – it lasts only two bars, coming and going in a matter of moments. This time, for the first time, we have a G Major that lasts long enough to feel stable. ♫ But in spite of the increased durability of this G Major, it is, inevitably, yanked away, this time in a far more violent way than before. ♫ There are, to be sure, more violent outbursts to be found in Beethoven’s sonatas – the Appassionata alone has about four of them. But there is a very particular kind of brutality about this one. Part of it, I think, is that its material is derived from the second theme, ♫ which has a seemingly imperturbable calm about it; the breaking of that calm is in itself a major event. But the main issue is the astonishing, hammering repetition of that final chord. We reach the diminished chord, with the f sharp on top, ♫, and Beethoven repeats it, over and over again. ♫ It is a desperate question, and in the absence of an answer, Beethoven asks it again, and again, and again. This passage has such a desperation about it, it seems likely to be the movement’s last stand – its last moment of fight. And in a normal movement, it would be. But this is no ordinary movement, and Beethoven has more to say. That howl of a passage I played just now is followed by yet another return of the opening theme, complete with another appearance – appearance number 5 – of the G Major reverie, once again with a long, resigned ritardando. This passage seems sure to lead to a firm cadence – probably our final cadence. But it does not. ♫ Beethoven avoids the expected cadence, ♫ instead giving us one last moment of bitterness, of grit, of staring into the face of an emotional abyss. ♫ And now, finally, all the fight has been depleted. I still don’t think the word “resignation” quite applies here, but the ending of this movement conveys the knowledge that the pain is inescapable, and will not be eased. ♫ As you can hear, this last appearance of the theme does resolve into F sharp Major. ♫ But unlike the second theme ♫ and most unlike the closing one, ♫ this is a major without a hint of consolation in it. It is what is known as a Picardy third – in which a minor key movement ends on a major key triad, without meaningfully having moved from the minor to the major mode. Here, the major represents not hope, but the end of hope. The extinguishing of the possibility of anything good. It is no accident that this movement, this Greek tragedy, is an outlier among Beethoven’s slow movements. If Beethoven had explored this emotional territory in sonata after sonata, even he could not have withstood it. It is miraculously devastating.