Molto allegro e con brio
Composed in 1796, this Sonata is an early example of Beethoven's unique symphonic style. Its organic mode of composition looks ahead to that of the Fifth Symphony (also in his Pathétique key of C minor). Yet all three movements also have a Classical quality, and it seems likely that Mozart's C minor Sonata K457 (1785) was used as a model, though the Beethoven is more rough-hewn and youthful in spirit.
The organic quality of the Allegro is seen in the frequent recurrence in different guises of the two principal ideas of the opening theme: an extended rising triad and a falling scalic figure. Indeed, these features permeate the whole work: in the Adagio the leaping triadic figure is transformed as part of the main theme and provides the outline for the fast runs of the episodes, each time followed by a descending scale. The first subject of the sonata form finale, too, is based on a short bar-long phrase rising up a position of the triad on each repetition. The short development contains the famous anticipation of the motto-theme of the Fifth Symphony.