Beethoven – ‘Moonlight’ Sonata

 

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2



Beethoven’s “Moonlight sonata”, a name coined by German music critic Ludwig Rellstab after Beethoven’s death, is one of the most widely known classical music pieces, and has been since it was composed some 200 years ago.

But let us examine it more closely and look at the facts surrounding the piece, find past and future musical connections and, of course, compare and choose the best recordings of the sonata.

It is said that Beethoven was inspired to write the sonata while visiting Lake Balaton, located in Hungary.

The sonata, which is in three movements, as most sonatas of the classical period, is best known for the first movement, Adagio sostenuto (there are about 10 times as many recordings of it than there are of the whole piece).




The descending bass-line, characterising the introduction, sometimes called the Phrygian progression, (which it, strictly speaking, isn’t in this case, because it detours to subdominant f-sharp before reaching the target dominant g-sharp), had been used long before Beethoven:

Adagio from a Sonata by Albinoni, written 100 years earlier


And thus, borrowing the idea of this baroque rhetoric figure, Beethoven starts his Sonata.

But what really captured the public’s heart was the ever-imploring polyrhythmic motif making up the main theme:




Both the perpetual triplets and the polyrhythm were copied out of Mozart’s score – from the Commendatore’s death scene in ‘Don Giovanni’.




The unusual tonal progressions are what led Beethoven to title the sonata “Quasi una Fantasia”. Fantasia usually describes a free-form classical music piece.

The tonic major-to-minor progression, which initiates the modulation to the second subject, had frequently been used earlier by Mozart, and Beethoven just can’t resist:

Thematic comparison

Beethoven – ‘Moonlight’ Sonata

25 years earlier: Mozart – Sonata No. 4 in E-flat major (1775)

100 years later: Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 2 (1900)

There’s always been a discrepancy over the twelfth bar on whether to play the note c or b in the second triplet group:



But, in fact, there shouldn’t be a discrepancy, because, as per the counterpoint rules of the classical period, two separate voices mustn’t move in parallel octaves or fifths, unless one is doubling the other. Clearly, the middle triplet note is not doubling the (already-doubled) bass-line. And hence – c, and not b, should be played.

The first movement mostly adheres to the sonata form, but not without surprises. In the exposition, the second subject is not in the dominant key, as it usually is in classical sonata form, but instead sounds in B minor, which is not even a parallel key!




Towards the end of the first movement, the main motif is foretelling darker times ahead, moving into the left hand territory:


Moving forward, the second movement turns out to be a light-hearted exercise in classical harmony. Unfortunately, the main motif is hardly a melody, and, what’s more, it is repeated 20 times in the course of (fortunately, only) two minutes. Here are four of these (repetitions) from the opening:




The Trio is on par with the Allegretto. Two repeats of two eight-bar sequences. At least it’s contrasting. The Allegretto, as expected, is repeated da capo after the Trio.

(Excellent playing there by Daniel Barenboim in above examples.)

The third movement, a fierce fiery Presto in sonata form, starts with the same notes as the first movement, namely: c-sharp, g-sharp, c-sharp and e. Also, Beethoven adds an agitato instruction to the score. He then goes on to transform the original three-note motif into two lightning bolts, modifying the rhythmic pattern, with the second note on the weak beat, keeping the initial underlying harmonic structure the same.

Thematic comparison

1st movement

3rd movement



Again, Beethoven eyes a motif by Mozart for the first part of the second subject, and...repeats it six times until it gets him somewhere. Mind you, he even grabs the ornaments along.

Thematic comparison

Mozart – Sonata No. 1 in C major (1775)

Beethoven – Sonata, 3rd movement

The theme continues its run until it bumps into a Neapolitan flattened supertonic (which comes from the third bar of the first movement), runs around a bit, bumps into it again an octave lower, runs around a bit, and finds its way into another theme, which, at last, leads to the controversial closing subject.


The exposition is repeated, traditionally. The development and recapitulation aren’t, and we will see why in a minute.

The development section starts off with the first subject arpeggios in tonic major, but quickly gives way to the cantabile theme from the second subject, which nicely relocates into the left hand, and off it goes, jumping down and down, until it arrives at the long dominant pedal point, predicting the reprise, just as it did in the first movement, albeit without the diminished seventh chords (Beethoven saves these for later).

We then get a reprise, which essentially duplicates the whole exposition section, except for the standard change of keys and a few minor alterations. And only afterwards comes the final ascent, one of the more effective ones from Beethoven – with two climax points, practically one after another.

At first there is an illusion that we are entering another development section. But here it becomes clear why only the exposition got a repeat: the whole second part – encompassing the development section, the full reprise and the elaborate ending – is twice as long as the exposition. But another important reason is that the climaxes would not have been successful the second time round.




Logically, the first climax is based on the first subject, while the more elaborate and emotional second climax develops on the second subject motif before rolling into triplet arpeggios – “down and up” several times – in Salieri’s style – up through a chromatic scale – trill! – descending again in a kind of improvisational figuration – and grinding to a halt: Adagio. Then... Tempo I più tranquillo, piano. The not-so-controversial-anymore pedal point returns for six bars, pianissimo. Then – Presto, forte – a final arpeggio ascent – sforzando – descent – and two blasts – fortissimo, senza Pedale.

Was it this that the first movement’s final bars prophesised?

(The unsurpassed Jenö Jandó in above examples.)

Recordings review


Playing this sonata may seem like an easy task for a professional pianist. But it isn’t. Firstly, there are literally hundreds of small directions in the score, some more controversial than others. Secondly, every pianist gives a personal rendition of each of the movements, almost always breaking at least some of the rules set by the composer.

So, what are we looking for in a recording? How do we choose the best ones?

Obviously, the technical aspects of the playing should be nothing less than perfect. But, first of all, we are looking for an interpretation, which is musical, in the full sense of the word. It must flow. It must sing. The three movements should be played in one breath.

Secondly, we expect well-chosen tempi, clear articulation that adheres to the score, proper use of the pedal, in line with the style of the late classical period.

Let’s begin with the first movement. The indicated tempo, Adagio, is one of the slowest existing tempo indications. Obviously, it should be slower than Andante.

In most recordings we hear a fairly moderate tempo.

Evgeny Kissin

What is played by Pletnev, Arrau, Lupu, Rubinstein, Serkin is really moving into the Lento territory –

Rudolf Serkin

– while Jandó, Horowitz, Kempff, Schnabel play a bit faster than usual.

Jenö Jandó

But, strictly speaking, the term Adagio refers to the tempo of the 1/4 notes (crotchets), and in that sense most pianist are within the relative limits. Perhaps only Schnabel’s is really too fast.

Technically, it turns out, most performers do not play the main motif correctly. They just don’t properly combine the triplets with the dotted quaver.

Only Barenboim, Kissin, Pletnev, Ashkenazy, Lupu and Rubinstein can be said to have a true polyrhythm.

Daniel Barenboim

Brendel, Kempff and Schnabel have really got it wrong.

Wilhelm Kempff



Barenboim’s first movement is exemplary, being objective and at the same time very personal. Pletnev, Jandó, Ashkenazy, Arrau, Lupu and Gieseking have also put a lot of thought into their interpretations, with all having a good singing tone, emotions, dynamics and flow.

Radu Lupu

The middle section, with ascending and descending diminished seventh chords, should continue to be played in triplets. They needn’t be accented, but if there is a hint of it after all, it must not under any circumstances be in duplets! Unfortunately, we do hear that in recordings by Gilels, Brendel, Pollini, Serkin and Kempff.

In the second movement, all of Barenboim, Jandó, Kissin, Pletnev, Tomšič, Serkin, Lupu, Gieseking, Schnabel and Horowitz maintain a good balance between the dance-like mood, the singing upper melody and the playful staccato chords.

The Trio, which starts with three sforzandi and continues – after the repeat – in pianissimo, should be contrasting, not complementing the Allegretto, which starts and ends in piano. Well done Kissin, Jandó, Pletnev, Rubinstein and Horowitz.

Jenö Jandó

There is only one perfect recording of the third movement, and it is by Jenö Jandó. The musicality as a whole, the interpretation, the technical aspects, the balance, the fine details – his playing has it all. You can practically hear Beethoven himself at the piano.

But while everyone is free to judge Jandó’s musicianship on their own, let us examine the technical side.

Beethoven knew exactly what he wanted, when he marked specifically the first note and the last three in each bar staccato, starting from the fifth bar of the second subject:

Jenö Jandó

Why then are these markings ignored by all of Kissin, Gilels, Rubinstein, Pollini, Serkin, Horowitz, Kempff, Schnabel? How can you just play it all on pedal?

Vladimir Horowitz



And this gets extreme when we talk about the final culmination point:

Jenö Jandó

Evgeny Kissin


Staccato!

But Kissin’s playing is unique in its own way. His playing of this movement is one of the fastest available, and, while in other recordings the speed degrades the quality of the pianist’s playing and hence the overall delivery, the fact that Kissin has such fine control of his technique, combined with his remarkable musical insight, the result is an amazing performance, perfect in its own way, and astoundingly different from Jandó’s.

At one point he is full of fire, a moment later – he is in a different, distant a world. Listen to his absolutely unique interpretation of the development section:

Evgeny Kissin

Both Daniel Barenboim and Mikhail Pletnev offer their personal renditions of the movement, interesting in their own ways.

There are many wrong notes in other recordings, and they are the result of ‘missing’ the right ones, but it is difficult to explain why Barenboim plays a d-natural instead of e towards the end of the third bar in the A major connecting theme:

Daniel Barenboim

in slow motion



Strange also that he doesn’t repeat this the second time round.

But what is completely and totally unacceptable is forgetting that Beethoven compressed the same connecting theme in the recap. And Barenboim does just that – forgets:

Jenö Jandó

Daniel Barenboim



And the deeper we dig into the recordings, the farther we find ourselves from the ideal and flawless performance.

Let’s listen to it again...

Jenö Jandó

And so, here are the top 10 recordings of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata:

1. Jenö Jandó

Bonus: equally outstanding renditions of No. 8 ‘Pathetique’ and No. 23 ‘Appassionata’ sonatas
 
2. Evgeny Kissin

Bonus: unparalleled performance of Franck’s “Prelude, Choral & Fugue”, Variations on a Theme of Paganini by Brahms

 
3. Daniel Barenboim

Bonus: Sonatas No. 21 ‘Waldstein’ and No. 23 ‘Appassionata’

 
4. Mikhail Pletnev

Bonus: Sonatas No. 21 ‘Waldstein’ and No. 23 ‘Appassionata’

 
5. Emil Gilels

Bonus: Sonatas No. 8 ‘Pathetique’ and No. 12

 
6. Vladimir Ashkenazy

Bonus: Sonatas No. 8 ‘Pathetique’ and No. 23 ‘Appassionata’

 
7. Radu Lupu

Bonus: 5 Piano Concerti, Sonatas No. 8, No. 21, Variations in C minor, Piano Quintet, 2 Rondi

 
8. Claudio Arrau

Bonus: Sonatas No. 8 ‘Pathetique’ and No. 23 ‘Appassionata’

 
9. Dubravka Tomšič

Bonus: Symphony No. 7, Overture to “Fidelio”

 
10. Alfred Brendel

Bonus: Sonatas No. 8 ‘Pathetique’ and No. 23 ‘Appassionata’

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55 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Roni,
I'm a lifelong lover of the LvB piano sonatas, and I've heard most, though not all, of the recordings you analyze. I'm not a pianist, nor do I have the scores, but I have studied music enough to understand your arguments. My own favorite recording of the Moonlight, and it has been so for many years, is the one by Ivan Moravec, so I wish you could have included it in your survey. But having your arguments at hand, I will now make my own analysis of the Moravec recording. I do think there are other considerations besides fidelity to the score, two important ones being vitality and imagination. You do credit Kissin's imagination; I think he rates far higher than Jando, who is rather bland in my view, on both counts. You've given me so much to consider, Roni, and for that I thank you. it's a wonder that after so many years this great music still has so much to reveal.
Kindest regards,
John
in the mountains of north Georgia, USA

26 September 2007 21:12  
Blogger Roni said...

John,

Many thanks for your reply, and especially for pointing onto this outstanding recording.

No doubt, Moravec will soon be incorporated into the recordings review.

Roni

07 October 2007 03:39  
Anonymous Jessi said...

When I was little I used to fall asleep to my mother's playing of the Moonlight and the Pathetique. I haven't had a recording until now; I just bought the Jeno Jando. Of course now I'm wanting to hear Ivan Moravec too.

Thank you for the fascinating and educational blog; I'll be a regular reader.

14 October 2007 16:57  
Blogger John's New Blog said...

no list of beethoven recordings may deemed to be complete without mention of the genius that was John OGDEN

16 October 2007 20:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! A fantastic analysis and a wonderful journey through this work. Bravo!

26 October 2007 22:24  
Anonymous Mike O'Brien said...

Hello, Roni--

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and loving analysis. I very much enjoyed 'looking under the hood' with you!

Beat,

Mike O'Brien
Portland

28 October 2007 02:31  
Blogger Rene said...

Great analysis, my parents bought me all the recordings of Jenö Jandó when I was small. I performed a few concerts of various Beethoven's sonatas when I was 13. I had been taught by my piano teacher that classical music has to be played exactly how it is written(ie Jenö Jandó). After a few concerts of Beethoven's Sonatas, my school music teacher recommended I listened to Wilhelm Kempff and he gave me a complete new dimension of playing Beethoven. It is very hard for me to choose which style is better, so I went for a bit of both on my later concerts but I still follow the old rule "classical music has to be played exactly how it is written". Thank you for the analysis, really enjoyed reading it.

02 November 2007 02:51  
Anonymous vinz said...

this blog is wonderful..and the analys is deep and not too much technical in the same time.
compliments!

a note: your sentence "Adagio from a Sonata by Albinoni, written 100 years earlier" is wrong...it was composed in 1949. read my comment in the phrygian progression post.
:-)

06 November 2007 16:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zawsze uważałem, że Beethowen urodził się o wiele lat za wcześnie. Jego kompozycje są dzisiejsze, ale myślę, że były naszych dziadków i będą naszych wnuków. Są ponadczasowe.

09 November 2007 18:49  
Blogger darxoul said...

I have very recently seen your post, and it is the single thing that makes my monday a happy one (very rare for mondays :)) Thank you for this great post. Just one point: I would really like to hear about the interpretation of Gould's recording of the sonata.

03 December 2007 08:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you like Beethoven, have you heard Di Xiao's op 109? Stunning, try www.dixiao.webs.com. This girl is going to be the next big thing in Classical music

12 December 2007 20:11  
Blogger Tim said...

Very intersting commentary, if a bit over my head, theory-wise.

Regardless of the theoretical accuracy of the recordings, the version that has moved me most has almsot been Serkin (http://www.amazon.ca/Sons-Ludwig-van-Beethoven/dp/B0000025M4).

I've got dozens of recordings of the big three sonatas and Serkin's has always impressed me most. To me, Jando comes in very lackluster and mechanical. These are emotive pieces, and I get very little from Jando.

Anyway, I loved reading and listening to your article!

14 December 2007 07:48  
Blogger D. Schreiber said...

What an interesting blog! Where do you find images of Beethoven's manuscripts?

dschc535[*at*]rogers.com

08 January 2008 20:06  
Anonymous AB said...

Nice article, I am in fact working on a similar project .. How can I contact you? Do you mind if I contact you?

Ahmed

25 January 2008 01:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing blog ! I am totally floored by the knowledge at work and how you make it easy for the mere amateur to start understanding the underlying beauty of those works and of their rendering by various performers. Please keep up this excellent work by bringing us more composers to understand. Thank you - ED

02 February 2008 05:51  
Blogger warnakey said...

Hi! I'm very interested in your blog and the amount of time you put into each entry. I really appreciate because I know how much work you put into it.

I just wanted to say I would really love it if you started updating your blog again. Perhaps you could do a review of some of the great Symphonies like Beethoven's 3rd, 5th and 9th or even the Planets by Gustav Holst.

Anyway! Fantastic writing.

- eric

31 March 2008 09:27  
Blogger ursita films said...

The moonlight sonata has been, by far, my favorite piece of music since I was a boy, and I feel such gratitude to you for this accessible and far-reaching analysis of it. What an incredibly generous blogger you are, thank you.

04 April 2008 05:41  
Blogger Mike said...

Moonlight sonata is one of my favorite sonatas from Beethoven. I love the analysis. When you get a chance, please visit our Classical Music Forum. We host many talented musicians and composers who can offer critiques and analyses of various compositions.

13 April 2008 21:38  
Blogger s said...

This post has been removed by the author.

14 April 2008 05:35  
Anonymous James May said...

You should also compare the 2nd theme of the 3rd movement with the main theme of Mozart's Sonata in A-Minor, K. 310. Great minds do think alike!

04 May 2008 00:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, enjoyed your commentary. Just one small point about the first movement tempo. This movement is in alla breve time (2/2) so the Adagio tempo refers to the minim beat, not the crotchet one. Schnabel's recording is one of the relatively few which keeps this two in a bar feel and links it more strongly with the passage from Don Giovanni (also in 2/2 - though Andante not Adagio). Personally, I think people have got used to hearing this piece played much too slowly.

28 May 2008 18:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

Since I'm a pinao lover specialy beethoven sonatas. I wanted really appreciate this wonderful documentation that educates people on line. I'm playing this piece since 25 years and you might not beleive it I did not know that much about it. This is a great job.

Thanks a lot.
Shahram....

27 June 2008 04:16  
Anonymous Mozart's Left Toe said...

Thanks for blogging so beautifully about classical music, Roni!

You are an inspiration as I start on my classical music + opera blog.

I saw Brendl perform in Graz, he was terrific.

All best,
--Mozart's Left Toe
www.amyrmartin.com

02 July 2008 20:57  
Blogger joseph said...

I've studied several of the Beethoven piano sonatas and someday hope to have played them all. They're simply genius!

One minor quibble though is that you do not mention the recordings by Richard Goode. While sometimes I find his interpretations a little fast (ok, a lot), they are definitely interesting for that reason alone. Not to mention the fact that I don't think I have EVER heard a wrong note. BTW, the third movement of this sonata played by him is AMAZINGLY fast.

Cheers! Thanks for the hard work and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

13 July 2008 21:36  
Blogger Fernando Vasconcelos said...

I have just arrived at your blog to find one of my favourite Beethoven compositions explained in such detail that my fear is not to be able to read it today ... Great blog and post! All the best from Lisbon, Portugal.

27 July 2008 19:56  
Anonymous Dave said...

This is such an unbelievable post, so comprehensive. I'd love to see more content on the blog, but it must be tough to put together such an all-encompassing post on a regular basis. Any chance of a post on Satie's Gymnopaedies?

02 September 2008 11:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOOOOOWOWW AMAMAMMAZMZZZINGNGNNGNG I LOVE RONI YOU ARE MY LIFE I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND

17 September 2008 16:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good tidings of comfort and joy my friend
ahve good tidings and lovely holidays for you and your lovely family and children

17 September 2008 16:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the 3rd movement, what about murray perahia video in youtube? gilels is amazing. kempff is too slow. horowits sound really weird in the beginning. brendel sounds amazing

21 September 2008 03:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoyed it!

21 October 2008 16:10  
Anonymous David said...

This is absolutely brilliant and great fun as well.

Please write more about classical music.

25 October 2008 19:07  
Anonymous Brendan said...

Thank you so much for this very informing deconstruction of Beethoven's sonata. I'll be pointing my students to it!

17 December 2008 07:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ерунда. Машка Гринберг лучше всех.

13 January 2009 01:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great analysis... Please do the same work about Appassionata

15 January 2009 16:05  
Anonymous John Zeweniuk said...

wow! the material here is awesome. I notice it was posted over a year ago. I wish there were more posts as the material so so well laid out and illustrated. I'll come back to this often just to absorb what's here! Thank you!

17 January 2009 07:25  
Anonymous Daniel said...

Wow! Great article- very revealing. I think you'd like the music of my friend William Goldstein- he specializes in classical-style improv, much like the impromptus of Chopin or Schumann- instant compositions with the form and structure of any normal piece. You can watch a video of him here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KycMwdw4C6M
Or, check out my favorite album, First Impressions:
http://www.amazon.com/First-Impressions/dp/B00000IKA0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1231397480&sr=8-3

22 January 2009 09:32  
Blogger Mike said...

Thoughtful analysis. It prompted me to examine other recordings in some depth, particularly Jando's and Kissin's.

I will say though, as fast and precise as Kissin's performances of the 3rd mvmt are, they seem utterly sedentary next to Gould's. Glenn Gould's renditions, while less evocative in the development sections, stand as testaments to his almost supernatural technical ability. He's not playing twice as fast, but it's close, and with trenchant clarity.

27 January 2009 07:39  
Anonymous olga said...

Hello Roni!

Great review, I definitely agree regarding the tempo of the first movement. There are new recordings including the one of Murray Peraya that plays it twice faster that anybody else. Here is the link to the recording of Guardian series of Beethoven sonatas review by Schiff: http://download.guardian.co.uk/sys-audio/Arts/Culture/2006/11/22/03_14CSharpMin.mp3
He advocates playing the first movement faster and claims that the original Beethoven manuscript calls for it. The truth is that the original manuscript of this sonata does not have first and last pages of the first movement(!) - therefore I am not sure where this guy took it from. Anyways, great work, I just wonder why you ignored the Swatoslav Richter recording that I believe is one of the best ones.

Thank you again,

Olga

02 February 2009 04:09  
Blogger Steven said...

Okay. We should shelve 'Moonlight' and lay the needle on something different. How about the Pastoral, at least the first movement? The public needs to hear this sonata. It's so relaxed as if Beethoven sat down at his piano one rainy afternoon and started playing off the top-of- his-head. Classical music has a reputation for being "important" irrelevant, and so on. The Pastoral is unexpected, easy in its beauty relevant.

21 February 2009 15:39  
Anonymous lee said...

Bravo! A good analysis and a wonderful path through this work.

04 March 2009 21:20  
Blogger The Composer's Staff said...

hey guys. awesome blog! if any of you guys are interested in composing, please check out my site:

www.composersstaff.blogspot.com

i'm trying to really get it off the ground.

thanks again!

19 March 2009 01:08  
Blogger marga said...

excelente!
saludos!

28 March 2009 17:27  
Blogger armajo said...

FELICIDADES Y MUY AGRADECIDA.

29 March 2009 22:45  
Anonymous Hektor said...

Great job! That is an impressive breakdown and explanation of this masterpiece. A friend of mine, classical pianist Ronnie Segev, was digitizing his music collection and offered to give me his CDs afterward. A CD of Beethoven's greatest works got me interested in his life and music genius so it was nice to find your blog.

01 April 2009 17:00  
Anonymous krishna said...

Unbelievable perfection. Great effort to deliver the complicated music notations for the benefit of aspiring people. Indeed a great effort. I really enjoyed the posts. sure..its an asset for posterity.

07 April 2009 06:21  
Blogger Mikael said...

AWESOME BLOG!
Thanks a lot for this... this... THIS!!! AMAZING POST!!!
I wanted to say I would really love it if you started updating your blog again <33333

09 April 2009 04:07  
Blogger Alan said...

A wonderful account! Thank you...

A question regarding the cadence at the end of the development in
m.3. - How best to analyze the chord preceding the V?

The left hand is playing an F# octave, and the right has A, C#, D#, A.

The best I can come up with is that it seems to be a type of phrygian cadence (with the root in the bass, not the third). But whence the D#? I don't get it...


Thanks,
Alan

04 June 2009 17:06  
Blogger Roni said...

Alan, it's an inversion of II7, i.e. D#-F#-A-C# with bass on F#.

Roni

04 June 2009 17:14  
Blogger Alan said...

Ahhhh, of course...

Thanks Roni!

05 June 2009 00:18  
Anonymous Matt Mclaughlin said...

Nice pics! Very informative blog. Understanding key strokes is really important while learning piano.

31 July 2009 09:11  
Anonymous Norbert C. Piano said...

This is a great deep down analysis of the piece. Great trivial history of the name too! The Moonlight Sonata is one of my favorites which I play from time to time just to relax.I am also trying to play it through guitar so I can play it anywhere. Then, I will also try to find a recording of "Commendatore’s death scene in ‘Don Giovanni’" you have mentioned.
Thank you very much for such a good post Mr. Ron.
I'll try to find your other posts.

27 August 2009 19:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great analysis.

Though, regarding the motif in the first movement, how can you bear to listen to Ashkenazy's left foot perpetually stuck in the mud. And can anyone explain to me Anton Kuerti's interpretation of same?

Also very intrigued by Schiff's analysis, on tempo and dampers...

T.

01 September 2009 17:20  
Blogger Mark said...

Great blog! I am not a musician, but I am a ballroom dancer. I would like to perform a show dance to the first movement. The tempo is good for a dramatic Viennese Waltz. I like to know the history of the music. Did the composer intend the first movement to be a funeral lamentation or a love song to his pupil G.Guicciardi? I'd like to think the latter!

03 October 2009 16:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Roni.

Is this blog still active? I thoroughly enjoyed reading the two entries you have up, and would love to read more along those lines for the rest of Beethoven Sonatas.

28 October 2009 03:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello,

While I quite like Jando's version. I have to take somewhat of an issue with the idea that music should be played exactly as written. When I go out to hear a performer play a certain piece I expect them to inject themselves into the piece and play an interpretation. In fact I would suggest that it is imperative that the performer do so, otherwise what would be unique about each particular performance.

28 October 2009 07:58  

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