Recorded on 11/13/2007, uploaded on 01/13/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
I have dubbed today's
Noontime concert a "Moonlight Recital" with a variety of pieces celebrating the
nighttime. Oni Buchanan
No Moonlight Recital would
be complete without Beethoven's famous Sonata
No. 14 in c-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2, "Quasi una fantasia," composed
in1801, and inheriting its nickname "Moonlight" in 1832, years after
Beethoven's death, when the Berlin critic Ludwig Rellstab described the first
movement of the sonata as evoking the image of moonlight over Lake
Lucerne. In the first movement,
Beethoven writes that the performer is to "play the entire movement as
delicately as possible and without dampers," or in other words, without
anything to muffle the sound of the ringing strings, allowing dissonant
harmonies to bleed into one another, an extraordinary compositional effect
unlike anything else Beethoven wrote. The
second movement, has a character that seems to be part minuet and part scherzo,
featuring a contrasting Trio section.
Liszt famously referred to the second movement as "a flower between two
abysses." The third movement, Presto agitato,
churns with ferocity and unrelenting drive. Oni Buchanan
Piano Sonata No. 14
"Moonlight" Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor
is one of the most often performed works for the piano. Indeed, the first
movement enjoys the same popularity as Für
Elise and the Fifth Symphony. Beethoven gave the sonata, and its
counterpart, the Piano Sonata No. 13 in E flat major, the title Sonata quasi
una fantasia, meaning "almost a fantasia." The title is an
indication that neither sonata follows the traditional three or four movement
pattern. In the case of the Moonlight Sonata, the prominent difference is the
first movement being a slow Adagio
instead of an Allegro. The nickname
"Moonlight," like so many of the descriptive titles for Beethoven's
works, was not given to the sonata by him. It was actually coined by the music
critic Ludwig Rellstab in 1832 when he compared the sonata to the moonlight
shining upon Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.
The first movement opens in the key of C sharp minor. It
holds to the traditional sonata form, but as stated above, it is not in the
typical Allegro tempo. The movement's
principal melody, with its dotted-eighth-sixteenth rhythms against the
accompaniment triplets, was described by Berlioz as a "lamentation."
The melody begins pianissimo and never rises above a mezzo-forte.
Karl Schumann noted that the softer dynamics occurred more often in Beethoven's
piano music than loud ones. This movement gained instant popularity during
Beethoven's lifetime. Berlioz called it "one of those poems that human
language cannot qualify." However, the Moonlight
was not without its critics. Carl Czerny, grieved by the success of the
movement remarked, "Surely, I've written better things."
The second movement is a tranquil scherzo and trio in the relative major key,
although, written as D flat major instead of C sharp major. Liszt described
this movement as a "flower between two chasms." The movement stands
out against its surrounding movements because of its simple, cheerful
The final movement is a thunderous sonata form. Like the previous sonata, No.
13, this movement is an experimentation in shifting the usual weight of the
sonata from the first movement to the last. In the conventional Classical
sonata, the first movement is the most important to which the succeeding
movements simply augment. However, Beethoven reversed this in the Moonlight
Sonata, making the final movement the goal to which the previous movements
build towards. In essence, the last movement served as the final resolution of
the conflicts of the previous movements. This trend was taken up by the later
Romantics to great effect. Of the final movement, Charles Rosen remarked that
"it is the most unbridled in its representation of emotion. Even today,
two hundred years later, its ferocity is astonishing."
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
I don't dare "vote" on this performance because I have no idea what score to give it. A Million? Brava Ms. Buchanan. Your playing transported me.
I absolutely love it
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