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Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

I chose for this assignment to write about Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. First of all I chose Ludwig van Beethoven, because he is my favorite composer of all time, since I was little. I like his compositions because they seem, to me, very passionate and honest. They almost allow an insight into Beethoven’s mind and soul, and in some of the music I feel that I can relate to him and it is as if I understood what he wanted to say. One of these incredibly deep, passionate pieces is the Piano Sonata No. 14 in C minor “Quasi una fantasia”, op 27 #2. I was lucky to be able to learn how to play the first two movements on the piano myself. The specialty in this piece was for me that I was able to forget the world around me and only I, the piano and the music existed. For those who don’t play any music I would compare it to reading a fascinating book while forgetting everything around you.
Since every musician understands and interprets a piece of music differently, it was hard to find a pianist, who would play the Moonlight Sonata as I would translate it.  I found a great artist, but have a look yourself, especially the third movement. She almost made me cry and laugh at the same time.

Beethoven “Moonlight” Sonata op 27 # 2 Mov 3 Valentina Lisitsa:

Beethoven “Moonlight” Sonata op 27 # 2 Mov 1,2 Valentina Lisitsa:

The Moonlight Sonata was composed in the summer of 1801 in Hungary. Beethoven remained a freelance artist and was the first composer to do so. He earned his money by composing and performing his music. This Sonata, which is one of the most popular piano sonatas from Beethoven, was dedicated, according to Wikipedia, to Beethoven’s pupil and passion, the 17 year old Countess Gulietta Gucciardi. But as I researched further about this Sonata I found on a website that according to Fischer: “ …this image has no connection with Beethoven’s intentions. He rather attributes this atmosphere to the feeling that overwhelmed the composer when he took watch at the side of a friend who prematurely left the world of the living. In one of Beethoven’s manuscripts there are several notes from Mozart’s Don Juan, notes that follow the killing of the Commander by Don Juan, and lower, this passage is rendered in C sharp minor in absolute resemblance to the first part of the sonata in C sharp minor. Analyzing and comparing, one could realize that it cannot be the case of a romantic moon lit night, but rather of a solemn funeral hymn.” (all-about-beethoven)
For me the Moonlight Sonata is also rather a composition written out of suffering grief and loss than out of romance. I compare his three movements to the three stages of grief described by Dr. Roberta Temes, which are numbness, disorganization, and reorganization. In the first movement the Adagio Sustenuto I can hear the numbness through the heavy and slow melody. In the second movement the Allegretto seems to be almost disorganized with its syncopation, as if from someone who tries to show happiness and mask his depression. The third movement, the Presto Agitato, is again fast, almost light, uplifting and organized. This comparison shows to me that the Moonlight Sonata was not written for a romance, but rather for a dead friend.

Works cited:


3 responses

  1. dwhoman

    Good post. I think you reported and analyzed the piece very well. I suppose Beethoven being a freelance composer could be used as a connection to the rise of the middle class, but I think that the connection needs to be make more apparent. I really liked Valentina’s playing; exceptional.

    March 12, 2011 at 8:44 am

  2. dwhoman

    It would be nice to listen to your own rendition of the first two movements. The third is really fast, it would certainly show that you have become highly proficient at the piano to hear you play it. I also liked how you went into the pieces background and showing that the piece connects listeners to Beethoven’s soul.

    March 12, 2011 at 9:16 am

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    September 9, 2014 at 10:19 am

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