Sunday, 26 October 2008

185. Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata in C sharp minor, op. 27, no. 2 "Moonlight"(1801)


Title: Klaviersonaten
Performer: Stephen Kovacevich
Year: 1999
Length: 16 minutes


This is possibly the most famous piano sonata in the history of piano sonatas, and with good reason. We are now, according to the parameters of the list, in the Romantic period, listening to the first and last movements of this sonata it is hard to disagree with this definition.

Beethoven starts this sonata with one of the most famous portrayals of what is essentially sadness or longing or something equally heart-achingly painful. The second movement is a little ray of sunlight and then he goes into the amazingly frustrated last movement, there's anger and frustration here, portrayed in a much more violent way than anyone before.

The work has the problem that comes with it being so famous. You've heard it a thousand times, but listening to it in chronological context discloses just how brilliant it really it, and why it deserves its fame. An amazing piece.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The work was completed in 1801 and rumored to be dedicated to his pupil, 17-year-old Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, with whom Beethoven was, or had been, in love. The name "Moonlight" Sonata derives from an 1832 description of the first movement by music critic Ludwig Rellstab, who compared it to moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne.

Beethoven included the phrase "Quasi una fantasia" (Italian: Almost a fantasy) in the title partly because the sonata does not follow the traditional sonata pattern where the first movement is in regular sonata form, and where the three or four movements are arranged in a fast-slow-[fast]-fast sequence.

Wilhelm Kempff plays the third movement:

No comments: