The first of two works published after the groundbreaking Op. 13 sonata sees a return to some more familiar forms of pianistic expression. The E major sonata is largely bright and comfortable sounding – more clearly designed to be performed at home so a smaller audience. The occasional unexpected modulations from the tonic E major (and in the second movement E minor) to the supertonic of C major are something Beethoven would continue to return to in later works. The structural unity created by hinting at these modulations in the first movement and fully realising it in the trio of the second movement shows a structural planing that would become fundamental to Beethovens middle and later period works.
He was often asked to arrange many of his piano works for other ensembles, and he often turned down these offers, the Op. 14 no 1 sonata was a rare exception as he arranged this for String Quartet and transposed the work to F major. Perhaps this is a hint at the origins of the themes which in their Piano form show clear hints at 4 part dialogue?