Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata 1st mov. (Adagio)
Pawel Siwczak fortepiano
Enjoy this piece as it may have sounded when Beethoven first played it, be transported in time, and maybe even enchanted by its spell.
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• 1st movement only (Adagio quasi una fantasia),
• and the complete sonata (all three movements).
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Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827), or Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 is a solo piano work written in 1801 and dedicated to the composer’s pupil: Countess Giulietta Guicciardi.
Its first movement, Adagio quasi una fantasia, is hugely popular and one of the most loved pieces of classical music. Described by Beethoven “like a fantasia” it resembles a free improvisation. The gentle, arpeggiated chords in the right hand create a mysterious soundscape on top of which floats a simple, touching melody contrasted and underpinned by rich bass notes of the left hand.
“Moonlight Sonata” was not called this way by the composer. In 1832 (five years after Beethoven’s death) Ludwig Rellstab, a poet and a music critic, compared the impression of the first movement to that of a moon reflecting in the waters of Lake Lucerne. This poetic description captured the imagination of the artists, listeners and publishers, especially on the verge of the era of Romanticism.
In this music video Pawel Siwczak plays the Adagio from Moonlight Sonata on an instrument that would be familiar to Beethoven. It’s a replica built in 2011 by Paul McNulty after the original by Walter & Sohn from Vienna made in 1805. It was the same as Mozart’s favourite piano. Beethoven knew and played these instruments, and wanted one for himself!
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