♫ Given that we still have the massive second movement ahead of us, I’m going to skip forward a bit. For a good while, the recapitulation follows essentially the same script as the exposition, up through that contrapuntal passage. ♫ This time, rather than taking us to a new key area, it keeps us in C, as expected. ♫ What is somewhat unexpected is that after seeming to be sticking to c minor, it instead moves to C major, providing the same kind of sighing relief (bolstered by the slackening pace) as the first time around. ♫ Here, though, is the moment where things take a turn. If Beethoven had stuck strictly to the script he provided in the exposition, this “poco adagio” respite would be followed immediately by the furious music that brought it efficiently to a close. ♫ But instead, for the first and only time in this movement, Beethoven turns expansive, improvisatory, and exploratory, extending this second theme area into a fantasia of almost twice the length it was the first time around. ♫ There is something about this that is so moving – Beethoven taking the time to allow this material to unfold naturally and without urgency, in a movement that is otherwise SO tightly constructed. (The character could hardly be more different, but this is in design a bit reminiscent of the moment in the first movement of op. 109 – a movement which is otherwise Guiness-book-level compact – when the second theme ♫ expands to accommodate an improvisatory variation.) ♫ But back to op. 111. That moment might be very moving, but inevitably, the urgency returns, and if anything, the respite has only made it more furious. ♫ When the second theme came in the recapitulation, it was, somewhat surprisingly, still in major: that is typically the moment in a minor key sonata when the major of the exposition turns to minor, when the sadness, or fury, or pessimism of the movement is confirmed. Here, Beethoven gives us one last moment of hopefulness, ♫ which makes it all the more devastating when the exposition’s closing music IS transformed to an enraged, anguished, minor. ♫ We’re at the end here, you and I: you know my fixations, and my quirks, and you’ve heard me overuse more than one adjective. But I’m sorry, I can describe this only as remorseless. This is music without compromise, and without forgiveness. As is the coda. The fight is gradually extinguished, but is there an iota of hope, of anything positive? There is not. ♫ You’ll notice that this ending is in C Major, but this is NOT an equivocation, or even a modulation. It’s another one of those “Picardy third” endings, where at the last moment, we land on a major chord, without feeling that we have truly moved away from the minor, or from its character and atmosphere. This coda, with its ever-larger upward leaps, ♫ it might be more resigned than, ♫ but it is no more optimistic: these leaps are an expression of a need that can never be met. This movement, which began in mid-storm, ends miserably, with no future possible.