As part of the Beethoven experience on the BBC website in 2005, Matthew Rye wrote a synopsis of each Beethoven sonata on the BBC Radio 3. It's a great way to get an overview and context of the sonata if you're studying them.
Let's take one of the sonata's I'm currently studying, Sonata in C Major, Op.2 #3. Here's a Youtube recording of Daniel Barenboim performing the first movement:
I knew the sonata was written in Beethoven's earlier period in Vienna, and logically the synopsis refers to the influence of the Vienese great composers Haydn and Mozart. The first movement according to the synopsis was an elaboration of a quartet (as exemplified by the 4 part texture in the opening) he wrote in Bonn in his youth? Wow! now that's illuminating as it gives you a perspective in how to approach the piece in study, practice and performance. Thank you BBC!
Additional BBC Radio 3 articles: