Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, commonly known as Sonata Pathétique, was written in 1798 when the composer was 27 years old, and was published in 1799. Beethoven dedicated the work to his friend Prince Karl von Lichnowsky. Although commonly thought to be one of the few works to be named by the composer himself, it was actually named Grande sonate pathétique (to Beethoven's liking) by the publisher, who was impressed by the sonata's tragic sonorities.
The Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53, also known as the Waldstein, is considered to be one of Beethoven's greatest piano sonatas, as well as one of the three particularly notable sonatas of his middle period (the other two being the Appassionata sonata, Op. 57, and Les Adieux, Op. 81a). The sonata was completed in the summer of 1804. The work has a scope that surpasses Beethoven's previous piano sonatas, and is notably one of his most technically challenging compositions. It is a key work early in his 'Heroic' decade (1803-1812) and set the stage for piano compositions in the grand manner both in Beethoven's later work and all future composers.
The Waldstein receives its name from Beethoven's dedication to Count Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel von Waldstein of Vienna, a patron as well as a close personal friend of Beethoven. Like the Archduke Trio (one of many pieces dedicated to Archduke Rudolph), this one bears Waldstein's name though there are other works dedicated to him. This sonata is also known as 'L'Aurora' (The Dawn) in Italian, for the sonority of the opening chords of the third movement, which conjures an image of daybreak.
The Partitas, BWV 825–830, are a set of six Harpsichord suites written by Johann Sebastian Bach, published from 1726 to 1730 as Clavier-Übung I, and the first of his works to be published under his direction. They were, however, among the last of his keyboard suites to be composed, the others being the 6 English Suites, BWV 806-811 and the 6 French Suites, BWV 812-817. These six suites for harpsichord are the last set that Bach composed and the most technically demanding of the three. They were composed between 1725 and 1730 or 1731. As with the French and English Suites, the autograph manuscript of the Partitas is no longer extant.
In keeping with a nineteenth century naming tradition that labelled Bach's first set of Suites English and the second French, the Partitas are sometimes referred to as the German Suites. This title, however, is a publishing convenience; there is nothing particularly German about the Partitas. In comparison with the two earlier sets of suites, the Partitas are by far the most free-ranging in terms of structure. Unlike the English Suites, for example, each of which opens with a strict Prelude, the Partitas feature a number of different opening styles including an ornamental Toccata found in the E minor Partita.