Laurie’s Sonata Pathetique in Little Women

By Trix Wilkins

I’ve been listening to Beethoven’s Sonata Pathetique performed by Daniel Barenboim – the song that Laurie plays after proposing to Jo.

It is breathtaking, the beauty and complexity of this piece. I have a greater appreciation as to why Jo’s respect for “the Laurence boy” increased so highly upon hearing him play the piano for the first time.

Sonata PIC

When I first read Little Women, I had no idea what Sonata Pathetique actually was, having merely a vague concept of it being “sad.” I assumed it must have been, for Laurie played it upon receiving the most heart-wrenching rejection of his life.

In actuality, the range of emotion expressed in the piece goes far beyond sadness – and the talent involved in even being able to play this song is astounding.

While listening (unfortunately, I do not possess the sort of talent to play it myself), I stumbled across Edwardian Piano’s post about lyrics that were written for the Sonata Pathetique by John Murray Gibbon in 1933.

I wonder whether Gibbon might have had Laurie somewhat in mind when he penned these particular words to match the score:

Vainly longing, ever finding, faltering idly, where shall I wander?…For ever enduring, ever faithful. For ever enduring, holding true.

Perhaps not, but that fateful proposal is what comes to my mind now…

 

Author and book sale PIC

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