An autograph fragment of the Violin Sonata op. 47 is titled, in Beethoven’s hand, “Sonata mulattica composta per il mulatto Brischdauer, gran pazzo e compositore mulattico” – meaning “Mulatto Sonata composed for the mulatto Brischdauer, great madman and mulatto composer”. The genesis of the sonata, which was to become famous under the name “Kreutzer Sonata”, is closely connected to a visit to Vienna by George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (1778–1860), a violinist with an Afro-Caribbean father and a European mother. In the language of that time, his descent made him a mulatto.
Beethoven was apparently deeply impressed by Bridgetower's musicality and virtuosic abilities. However, when the sonata was published in 1805, he dedicated it to Rodolphe Kreutzer under the title “Sonata per il Pianoforte ed uno violino obligato in uno stile molto concertante come d’un concerto”. The work “in the style of a concerto” is probably Beethoven’s most demanding violin sonata and since the 19th century has formed part of the core repertoire of the great violin virtuosos.