Saturday, October 26, 2013

Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata

Ludwig van Beethoven portrait
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig was the man.

The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor "Quasi una fantasia", op. 27, No. 2, by Ludwig van Beethoven

The Sonata has three movements:

1 mvt: Adagio sostenuto.
2 mvt: Allegretto (click to go at 6:00 min).
3 mvt: Presto agitato (click to go at 8:05 min).

This version of Beethoven's famous Sonata No. 14 is crisp and precise. It's overwhelming characteristic is its technical precision. Many prefer more emotional renditions, as, in fact, do I. This, however, is likely close to how the piece was intended and played during Beethoven's era, when it (rightly) was extremely popular.

As for the sonata itself as a work of art, you don't get much better. It is one of the most solemn and foreboding pieces of piano music, though with an incongruous liveliness that grows as the piece progresses. If asked to use one word to characterize the tone, it would be "stern." The soaring melody contrasts perfectly with the well-known bass line. The Sonata is such a complete work of art that you completely forget that it is one man on one piano, without the horns or brass or string instruments that lesser artists throw in to fill out their pieces.

Among my many vices is classical music. That wasn't always the case. When I was in my teens, I was drawn to The Beatles and soft rock of the '70s and slightly edgier stuff from the '80s. As I move through life, though, classical is where it's at. It is awesome as background when writing or doing coding online.

I find it increasingly difficult to listen to pop music for long periods of time. Now and then pop is fine, especially classic rock or pop from the '90s and earlier. For anything but short bursts, though, classical is much more enjoyable. As you get more and more into classical, in fact, you realize that much "original" pop music, including television and movie themes, comes straight from classical pieces, sometimes with little attempt to disguise that fact.

I don't expect most people to "get" this post, but it's what I like, so it is here. If you ever get around to classical, the Moonlight Sonata is a good place to start.

Ludwig van Beethoven portrait


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