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Thread: Beethoven - 'Moonlight' Sonata

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    Junior Member Roni22's Avatar
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    Default Beethoven - 'Moonlight' Sonata

    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.

    Read on: detailed analysis of Beethoven's 'Moonlight' Sonata, and a comprehensive recordings review, all with audio examples.

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    Roni,

    Thanks for posting this. Interesting!

    I have the Barenboim recordings of the Beethoven Sonatas.

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    Junior Member Roni22's Avatar
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    Thank you!

    Do leave comments on the blog itself. Thanks

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    Great work Roni22! I don't have much time know, but I've already bookmarked your blog to read it carefully in the next days (a Microeconomic Analysis exam is consuming all my resources at the moment).

    About the first movement, its bass-line and upper range motiv. Do you know Edwin Fischer said the it is actually a quote from the scene in which the Comendatore dies in Don Giovanni? He made profound studies on the Beethoven sonatas and seemed very conclusive in this particular idea.
    András Schiff also defends this idea, of course.

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    Junior Member Roni22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manuel View Post
    About the first movement, its bass-line and upper range motiv. Do you know Edwin Fischer said the it is actually a quote from the scene in which the Comendatore dies in Don Giovanni? He made profound studies on the Beethoven sonatas and seemed very conclusive in this particular idea.
    András Schiff also defends this idea, of course.
    Thanks, Manuel.

    I would disagree: the Commendatore aria does indeed begin with a Phrygian progression, but unlike the opening bars of the sonata, it does not divert to the sub-dominant.

    Also, the mood in the sonata is nothing like in Don Giovanni. It seems to be looking back much farther - into the Baroque era.
    Last edited by Roni22; Sep-21-2007 at 14:33.

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    Junior Member Roni22's Avatar
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    For those looking to listen to the aria mentioned above, here is a hair-raising video excerpt of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roni22 View Post
    Thanks, Manuel.

    I would disagree: the Commendatore aria does indeed begin with a Phrygian progression, but unlike the opening bars of the sonata, it does not divert to the sub-dominant.

    Also, the mood in the sonata is nothing like in Don Giovanni. It seems to be looking back much farther - into the Baroque era.
    It was Fischer's idea that this Adagio sostenuto is therefore a funeral march.

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    Junior Member Roni22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manuel View Post
    It was Fischer's idea that this Adagio sostenuto is therefore a funeral march.
    Well, it's more a prelude than anything else. After all, the culmination is in the third movement, and the first movement has quite a few predicting moments, including the flattened supertonic in the second bar, the diminished seventh arpeggios in the pedal point before the recap, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roni22 View Post
    including the flattened supertonic in the second bar, the diminished seventh arpeggios in the pedal point before the recap, etc.
    Do you also relate to music just as enjoyment? (I.e.: whistling the Scherzo from Prok's fifth symphony at the bus stop, making funny faces when you reach the basoon line*). Or you are always quirurgical as with this Sonata.



    *Does anyone else think it is inevitable to make a funny face when whistling or humming the basoon exposition from an orchestral piece?

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    Junior Member Roni22's Avatar
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    Of course. Music is an art. Art is for enjoying it, feeling the emotions it conveys, accomplish the feats it drives us to achieve, no?

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    András Schiff lectured us on this Sonata at Wigmore Hall last year.

    http://download.guardian.co.uk/sys-a...4CSharpMin.mp3

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    Here's a summary with links to the weekly introduction notes on the Guardian Unlimited Arts Blog pages:

    Week 1 - The Early Sonatas (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/music/20...beethoven.html)
    (1) Piano Sonata in F minor, opus 2 no. 1
    (2) Piano Sonata in A major, opus 2 no. 2
    (3) Piano Sonata in C major, opus 2 no. 3
    (4) Piano Sonata in E-flat major, opus 7

    Week 2 - Trio Sonatas from Op. 10 & Pathetique (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/music/20...en_part_2.html)
    (1) Piano Sonata in C minor, opus 10 no. 1
    (2) Piano Sonata in F major, opus 10 no. 2
    (3) Piano Sonata in D major, opus 10 no. 3
    (4) Piano Sonata in C minor, "Pathétique", opus 13

    Week 3 - Five Sonatas (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/music/20...en_part_3.html)
    (1) Piano Sonata in G minor, opus 49 no. 1
    (2) Piano Sonata in G major, opus 49 no. 2
    (3) Piano Sonata in E major, opus 14 no. 1
    (4) Piano Sonata in G major, opus 14 no. 2
    (5) Piano Sonata in B-flat major, opus 22

    Week 4 - Working Toward "Pastoral" (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/music/20...en_part_4.html)
    (1) Piano sonata in A-flat major, opus 26
    (2) Piano sonata in E-flat major, opus 27 no. 1
    (3) Piano sonata in C-sharp minor, opus 27 no. 2 ('Moonlight')
    (4) Piano Sonata in in D major, opus 28 ('Pastoral')

    Week 5 - "Waldstein" (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/music/20...en_part_5.html)
    (1) Piano sonata in G major, opus 31 no. 1
    (2) Piano sonata in D minor, opus 31 no. 2 ("Tempest")
    (3) Piano sonata in E flat major, opus 31 no. 3
    (4) Piano sonata in C major, opus 53 ("Waldstein")

    Week 6 - "Apassionata" and others (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/music/20..._part_six.html)
    (1) Piano sonata in F major, opus 54
    (2) Piano sonata in F minor, opus 57 ("Apassionata")
    (3) Piano sonata in F sharp major, opus 78
    (4) Piano sonata in G major, opus 79 ("Cuckoo")
    (5) Piano sonata in E flat, opus 81a ("Les Adieux")

    Week 7 - "Hammerklavier" and others (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/music/20...art_seven.html)
    (1) Piano sonata in E minor, opus 90, no. 27
    (2) Piano sonata in A major, opus 101, no. 28
    (3) Piano sonata in B flat major, opus 106 ("Hammerklavier")
    (4) Piano sonata in B flat major, opus 106 ("Hammerklavier") cont'd

    Week 8 - The Final Works (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/music/20...inal_part.html)
    (1) Piano sonata in E major, opus 109
    (2) Piano sonata in A flat major, opus 110
    (3) Piano sonata in C minor, opus 111

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roni22 View Post
    For those looking to listen to the aria mentioned above, here is a hair-raising video excerpt of it.
    But the Commendatore is already dead in that scene. That's not the part I pointed out a few posts before.

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    Junior Member Roni22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manuel View Post
    But the Commendatore is already dead in that scene. That's not the part I pointed out a few posts before.
    Sorry, I thought you meant those.

    With regard to Andras Schiff - what a great pianist to give such an awful lecture.

    But thank you for the link.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roni22 View Post
    Sorry, I thought you meant those.

    With regard to Andras Schiff - what a great pianist to give such an awful lecture.
    Really? I find them to very interesting, as well as constructive.

    Did you expect them to be more clinical?

    Perhaps he does little to disect the work?


    I notice your blog doesn't mention Josef Hoffman. His Moonlight is one of those I like most.

    I uploaded it a few weeks ago for a friend in the USA. Here is the Rapidshare link

    http://rapidshare.com/files/46542649/Hoffman.rar

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