Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 26 in E Flat ‘Les Adieux’ was written around the spring of 1809, when the French army attacked Vienna, and Beethoven's friend, patron, and pupil Archduke Rudolph was forced to flee the city for many months. Beethoven wrote the words ‘On the departure of His Majesty the revered Archduke Rudolph’ in French at the head of the score of this most recent project, Op. 81a. The first published edition of the Sonata from 1811 also has titles at the head of each of the sonata’s three movements: ‘Les Adieux’ (The Farewell), ‘L’Absence’ (The Absence) and ‘Le Retour’ (The Return), but it is not known as to whether these titles were inserted at Beethoven’s directions, or if they were added by the Publisher. Whatever the case may be, there can be no doubt that Les Adieux is genuine evidence of one friend's care for another, and it is no surprise that the piece is better known for its titles than for its magnificent music.