Roni's Journal

Friday, 21 September 2007

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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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Sneak peak: Moonlight Sonata

The Phrygian progression discussion was a prelude to the upcoming post on Beethoven's Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor.

Quotes:

There's always been a discrepancy over the twelfth bar on whether to play the note c or b in the second triplet group ... But, in fact, there is no discrepancy, because, as per the counterpoint rules of the classical period, two separate voices mustn't move in parallel octaves or fifths, unless once is doubling the other. Clearly, the middle triplet note is not doubling the (already-doubled) bass-line. And hence – c, and not b, should be played.

The second movement turns out to be a light-hearted exercise in classical harmony. Unfortunately, the main motif is hardly a melody, and, what's more, it is repeated 20 times in the course of (fortunately, only) two minutes.

Again, Beethoven eyes a motif by Mozart for the first part of his second subject, and...repeats it six times until it gets him somewhere. He even grabs the ornaments along!

Over 20 top recordings will be reviewed, and the best of them selected.

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