Ludwig Van Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 14


Classical Music In This Key

Beethoven | Piano Sonata No. 14 “Moonlight” in C sharp minor | Daniel Barenboim

There are only two known symphonies in the 18th century written in this key. One of them is by , who appears to have found the key difficult since he later rewrote it in . In the following two centuries, C-sharp minor symphonies remained rare. Notable examples are the second movement Adagio of ‘s , the first movement of ‘s and ‘s .

This key occurs more often in piano literature from the 18th century onwards. wrote just two keyboard sonatas in C-sharp minor, K. 246 and K. 247. After ‘s , the key became more frequent in the piano repertoire. Beethoven himself used this key again in the outer movements of his . Even so, still felt the need to rewrite his C-sharp minor piano quartet in C minor, which was published as .

First Movement Adagio Sostenuto

Beethoven created the first movement in C-sharp minor, with a triplet figuration opening the right and an octave opening the left. The triplet pattern was unique to Beethoven, and he maintained it throughout the first movement, giving it a rolling back and forth feeling.

The melody adopted a slow tempo which exhibits brilliant harmonies that span from note to note, chord to chord. Many of Beethovens critics, like Hector Berlioz, said that this first movement sounded more like lamentation and not a romantic composition. His long-term student and friend, Carl Czerny, described it as a nocturnal scene, in which a mournful ghostly voice sounds from the distance.

This first movement impressed his audience and became overly popular the popularity of the movement exasperated even Beethoven. He wasnt too happy with that as he thought some of his earlier compositions were much better than this one.

In its technical composition, the exposition carries the first subject and the second subject , which are relatively short compared to the structure of a regular sonata. The development section, which is expected to carry the theme in a sonata, remains really short , almost like a bridge.

Instead, he brings out the theme again in the recapitulation section, with the first theme and the second theme having different keys. He then ends the movement with the coda .

Beethovens Moonlight Sonata: Discover The 1801 Piano Masterpiece

23 November 2020, 14:14

Composed between 1801 and 1802, this popular piece is one of Beethovens best known piano works.

Despite its nickname, in Beethovens mind this was never the Moonlight Sonata. Instead, the rather pedestrian title of Piano Sonata No. 14 was what the composer seemed perfectly content with.

But when the German critic Ludwig Rellstab described the sonatas famous opening movement as being akin to moonlight flickering across Lake Lucerne, he created a description that would go on to outlive the composer.In many ways, Beethoven was a revolutionary. More than any other composer of his day, he was responsible for pushing convention and welcoming in the Romantic era of classical music.

This work is a prime example of his refusal to follow the status quo: the traditional fastslowfast pattern of how it was then perceived a sonata should sound.

Instead and astonishingly for the time he chose to open with a slow, hypnotic set of arpeggios .

The storm and drama certainly comes, but not until the second movement, a section audiences of the time would have expected to be reflective and calm. Just one of the ways in which Beethoven was prepared to turn the predictable on its head and create whole new forms of music.Today, the Moonlight stands as the composers most famous and most loved solo piano piece.

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Classical Influence On Later Composers


Musical eras and their prevalent styles, forms and instruments seldom disappear at once instead, features are replaced over time, until the old approach is simply felt as “old-fashioned”. The Classical style did not “die” suddenly rather, it gradually got phased out under the weight of changes. To give just one example, while it is generally stated that the Classical era stopped using the in orchestras, this did not happen all of a sudden at the start of the Classical era in 1750. Rather, orchestras slowly stopped using the harpsichord to play until the practice was discontinued by the end of the 1700s.

One crucial change was the shift towards harmonies centering on “flatward” keys: shifts in the direction. In the Classical style, major key was far more common than minor, chromaticism being moderated through the use of “sharpward” modulation . As well, sections in the minor mode were often used for contrast. Beginning with Mozart and Clementi, there began a creeping colonization of the subdominant region . With Schubert, subdominant modulations flourished after being introduced in contexts in which earlier composers would have confined themselves to dominant shifts . This introduced darker colors to music, strengthened the minor mode, and made structure harder to maintain. Beethoven contributed to this by his increasing use of the as a , and modal ambiguityâfor example, the opening of the .

Piano Sonata No9 Op14 No1

Moonlight Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor Sheet Music by Ludwig van ...
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Recorded December 2017 in St. Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield University
Recorded at Theatro Municipal de São Paulo, February 15, 1962.
Sviatoslav Richter at Carnegie Hall: recorded in actual performance , v. 1Columbia Masterworks, 1961. M2L 272.
Club National du Disque PR 9, 1959.
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    A Brief History Of The Moonlight Sonata

    The Sonata quasi una fantasia, now commonly known as the ‘Moonlight Sonata’, was Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 14th piano sonata, Opus 27, Number 2. He wrote and published it in 1801-1802 during the Classical music era.

    Beethoven wrote this masterpiece at a difficult time when his hearing had begun to deteriorate seriously. There were many speculations on the cause of his deafness, but many people thought that it could have been a consequence of his habitual plunging his head into cold water to remain awake. Beethoven had mastered almost every keynote despite his deafening ears and could make out most of what the music would sound like.

    Beethoven dedicated the ‘Moonlight’ sonata to his 16-year old lover and student, Giulietta Guicciardi, whom he had fallen in love with at around that time. He proposed marriage to her, but her father forbade her from marrying him as he was without rank. Even though their love didnt prosper, Giulietta admits that the Sonata always reminded her of Beethoven.

    Beethoven composed the ‘Moonlight’ sonata like he would write other songs and gave it a pedestrian title that would describe a fantasy style. He didn’t think that the piece would become as popular as it did. In this unpleasant surprise, he wrote to his friend expressing his disappointment. Part of the letter read, “Everybody is talking about the C-sharp Minor Sonata! Surely, I have written better things.

    Lets look at the analysis of the movements of the Moonlight Sonata.

    Ludwig Van Beethoven Moonlight Sonata

    Beethoven : Sonata No.14 Op.27 No.2 (“Moonlight”) / Valentina Lisitsa

    The mysterious and admirable Piano Sonata no. 14 was completed by Beethoven in the year 1801. He subtitled it Quasi una fantasia, which can be translated as sonata in the manner of a fantasia. The Piano Sonata No. 14 got popular as the moonlight sonata due to the German poet and critic Ludwig Rellstab. After the death of Beethoven, in the year 1832, Rellstab related the first movement of the sonata to moonlight shining upon the Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. In ten years time, Piano Sonata No. 14 became popular as moonlight sonata and the name was referred to in many publications as well. Beethoven moonlight sonata is dedicated to Giulietta Guicciardi, who was his young aristocratic student.

    Unlike other compositions of his age, which consisted of greatly defined first movement, subtle second movement and spirited final movement, the Beethoven moonlight sonata was entirely different. The Piano Sonata No. 14 has a misty first movement, followed by a spirited second movement and ends with a frenzied final movement. It was known that the piano strings were snapped while playing the final movement of this furious yet delightful sonata. Beethoven moonlight sonata was greatly acclaimed in his age and it still remains as one of his crowing pieces.

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    Third Movement Presto Agitato

    This third movement carries the greater weight of all three movements. Beethoven wrote it in C-sharp minor, with many fast broken chords and accented notes and the fast Alberti bass sequences that are heard all over the song, from right to left. One would need to be skillful, lively, and with incredible stamina to meet the movement’s technical demand to perform this movement.

    If you analyze its technical composition, you’ll realize that it has the exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda sections, just like the first movement. The exposition is mainly quiet with instances of loud accents. The development and the recapitulation carry the well-chosen heavy accents and then end with the coda from mm. 158.

    Ludwig Van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No 14


    Composed in 1801, Beethovens fourteenth piano sonata is perhaps his most famous. Now known as the Moonlight Sonata, this solo work for piano is regularly performed around the world in recitals, exams, and in homes. The work was dedicated to the Austrian countess, Giulietta Guicciardi, who was briefly a piano student of Beethovens. Many of you will know this work for its heart-wrenching first movement, but this work actually has three movements, all of which are fantastic in their own right. The different characters that Beethoven creates in each one of these dynamic movements makes this sonata unique, so no wonder it is still so popular!

    Unlike traditional movement arrangement of fast-slow-fast, Beethoven uses a slow-moderate-fast sequence of movements. The change in speed throughout the movements give this work momentum for the fiery final movement. It is thought that Beethoven wanted to start with a prelude to the other movements, which is why the first movement seems like a somewhat introduction to the work. The three movements are laid out as follows:

    III. Presto agitato

    I. Adagio sostenuto
    II. Allegretto
    III. Presto agitato

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    The History Of Moonlight Sonata

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    Western Classical music era, which was between 1730 and 1820, was characterized by a distinctive music style, with a touch of romance and an aesthetic attitude, despite the politics in that era. The most common form of music was the Sonata. Its structural pattern formed a basis for most classical instrumental music.

    Ludwig Van Beethoven, a renowned German music composer, and pianist participated mainly in the widening of the Sonata, and he remains the most admired music genius of classical music. He composed many songs in different music categories in his musical pursuit Symphony, Concerto, Sonata, quartet with some, like the ‘Moonlight’ sonata, becoming very popular. So, what’s the history of the famous ‘Moonlight’ sonata, and why was it so popular?

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    Beethoven: Piano Sonata No14 Op27 No2

    The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor “Quasi una fantasia”, Op. 27, No. 2, popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata, is a piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi.

    This piece is one of Beethoven’s most popular compositions for the piano, and it was a popular favorite even in his own day. Beethoven wrote the Moonlight Sonata in his early thirties, and did so after he had finished with some commissioned work there is no evidence that he was commissioned to write this sonata.

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    Differences From The Standard Model

    Opus 109 differs from the “standard model” in several ways. Although written in three movements, it feels more like “two balanced movements”,:163 since the first movement is linked to the scherzo-like Prestissimo by holding down the pedal. The internal form of the first movement is based less on elaboration than on the contrasting juxtaposition of fast and slow, loud and soft, and major and minor. Hence the second movement takes on even more of the function usually assigned to the first movement, which would be in sonata-allegro form. Then the third movement is most unusually for a sonata a theme and variations. Thus the theme in the third movement takes on the role of the slow movement, which is usually the second movement in the standard model. Although the sonata is formally in three movements, many leading musicians and recordings make it sound like two movements by going into the second movement without a pause and then clearly separating the third movement. However, musicologists Jürgen Uhde, Richard Rosenberg , Udo Zilkens and Carl Dahlhaus divide the work into three movements in their detailed analyses.

  • Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung. Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo, E major, 34 time.
  • A performance lasts about twenty minutes, of which the third movement takes more than half. Overall, the sonata is endowed with abundant melody and interesting, complex harmony.:192193

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    Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, “Moonlight”: I. Adagio sostenuto

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    Why Was The Moonlight Sonata So Popular

    The first movement of the Moonlight sonata was more popular than the other two movements. Probably because of the style of creation and the atmosphere it brought. While this could be true, it’s difficult to tell whether the listeners were triggered by the music itself or how Beethoven distorted the whole sonata pattern and created a unique piece.

    Beethoven had designed this composition to be like a fantasy, just like he described it in the title. That’s why he used contrasting textures that listeners would easily pick up on. The theme-filled first movement allowed the audience to grasp the theme of the Sonata and could easily flow with it.

    The popularity of the Moonlight sonata peaked after the nickname Moonlight was invented. The handle easily creates imagery in people’s thoughts and associates the song with the beautiful moonlight shining over the vast waters, which is a great starting point for a song.

    It’s also possible to associate the song’s popularity with Beethoven’s deafness, as people wondered how he could create such a masterpiece without proper hearing. Even though the deafness was at its early stages, the progression was pretty fast as he’s reported to break several pianos trying to make out the sound of the keys.

    The Moonlight sonata is popular to date, having been played in several non-classical pieces over time. Some of the popular appearances are:

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