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Better Nicknames

7047 Views 50 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  MoonlightSonata
I was just thinking about the famous works that are usually referred to by their nicknames, and about the nicknames that don't fit. The two that came to mind were Beethoven's "Moonlight" and "Tempest" sonatas, both nicknames given by publishers/biographers because of myths on what the music is "supposed to be about"

I'm not against nicknames; I think they make it easier to remember the piece, and they also can sum up the mood of the work, or what the listener should think about when listening. Yet there are pieces with nicknames, like the two mentioned, that aren't the best.

So, what are some pieces that you guys think have good nicknames? How about pieces you think have bad nicknames? And for the bad ones, what could be a better nickname? Or maybe, the piece shouldn't even have one at all!
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What I read is that it is not about moonlight, and so properly ought to be called "Moonlight." Can't remember how the name got associated with it though.
I don't remember the name of the man, but I believe it was one of Beethoven's biographers who wrote that the sonata was supposed to represent the moonlight over the waves of Lake Zurich. But there's nothing to really back this claim. My opinion is that this was the product of a Romantic audience putting their views into their interpretations of Classical pieces

OR, it could be a publishing gimmick to market absolute music to a Romanic audience, for whom programs were vogue
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Then there are those nicknames so terrible that no one uses them. Ever heard of Chopin's "Raindrop" Prelude? Yes? And what about the "Thou Art So Like a Flower" Prelude? Or the "Suicide" Prelude? No?
Monsieur Cortot needs to calm down :lol:
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