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Beethoven allegedly told his publisher Artaria; in connection with this Sonata; that “Here you have a sonata that will be a hard nut to crack.” Indeed; the enormous dimensions of the work; which was sketched in 1817 and completed in late 1818 or early 1819 and has nearly 1;200 measures; together with its numerous musical and technical challenges; long made it seem unplayable; and even today it is still considered a major challenge for concert pianists. The piece owes its nickname to the title of the original German edition; “Grosse Sonate fur das Hammer-Klavier”; since Beethoven had been wanting since 1817 to Germanize the term “pianoforte” for the printing of his piano sonatas.
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