81a); it was composed during 1804 and 1805, and perhaps 1806, and was dedicated to Count Franz von Brunswick. Usually sonatas are fast-slow-fast, with the slow movement sandwiched in the middle. The triplet chords emphasize this point with a textual fury to match the structural significance of this moment. You’re all probably familiar with the famous first theme (which we started the listening with), but this second theme is my favorite. FIRST PART: I want you to take a listen to all the parallels from the exposition – it starts off virtually identical, except with some twists and turns. In fact it does not conclude at all. It’s best described as ferocious, powerful and passionate, and it’s the movement that requires the most skill. (Yet, Ries wrote that Beethoven "seldom introduced notes or ornaments not set down in the composition.") Despite the misgivings of the original producers, Schnabel's Beethoven sonata cycle has been constantly reissued to satisfy demand, most recently in superlative CD transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn on Naxos. Over the course of its three movements, the “Appassionata” pulls the listener through a wide range of extreme emotions. The last note of REOSO becoming the first note of the fugue. 110. But this is very different. We’ll play clips from the piece so you can get a sense of what it sounds like, and talk a bit of history, theory and style. Let’s jump to the technical side of this movement. 23 in F minor, Op. Even so, with Fischer we hear the confluence of two strong personalities - the composer's and the performer's - which is the very essence of this recreative art. Because Beethoven has simply switched from F minor to F major. One of the most touching, but perhaps revealing, descriptions of Beethoven's playing is quoted by Schonberg from Sir John Russell toward the very end of the composer's life, when he was stone deaf and his "playing" had become an abstraction - yet perhaps this is the most important description we have, as it portrays Beethoven's purest ideal as a performer, at last unfettered from the constraints of the actual instruments of his time: That strikes me as the most meaningful guide to a great performance of the Appassionata. Thus, when we hear a Beethoven piano sonata, we come closer to the man and the artist than with any other genre of his music. I will check every class he ever offers. It’s got three movements: This is typical of the Classical-era genre – sonatas are almost always 3-4 movements long. On a personal note, learning this movement was a revelatory piano experience – some of you have probably experienced this with pieces you’ve learned. His Appassionata is far lighter than Backhaus's, emphasizing lyricism, color and clarity rather than the philosophical weight that more often is thought to typify the German approach. But is the source of the diabolic power of the “Appassionata” simply the drama of violent surprises and shifts of mood? If you enjoyed this video analysis of Moonlight Sonata, you might want to check out some of our other similar videos: Clair de Lune by Debussy Scruton in Understanding Music tries to come to terms with his fascination for Mozart; looking at (for memory) the opening of his C major Piano Sonata, K. 545, he notes the utter simplicity and clarity of the arpeggiated melody line. Until deafness forced a change in his career, Beethoven was known as one of the finest pianists of his time - and the best improviser of all, a key skill to flex the prowess of a composer's imagination. More dramatic shifts follow as episodes of extreme velocity, furiously jolting rhythms (that could be described as jazzy had they been created a hundred years later), and moments of solace alternate in transporting the listener. So Beethoven was heavily influenced by Mozart’s death scene in Don Giovanni, and Chopin was later inspired by Moonlight Sonata for his Fantaisie-Impromtu. His moderate tempos further abet an overall aura of lightness that undercuts the gravity of the work, not necessarily to its advantage. The second theme is also used in a sequence, in which the same idea is repeated several times, each a step higher (4’20”). The sequential technique is employed again to heighten the tension (8’00”-8’31”). It’s the second theme, which we haven’t yet listened to. There are examples of composers following tragic slow movements with immediately exuberant finalis. The second theme is in the major key and is notable for its similarity to the opening theme. First for Beethoven and for the piano sonata in general. And because of its tardiness it sounds like devil’s laughter in the face of ultimate damnation. Thus, the first movement of the Appassionata is structurally intriguing and demanding, yet this is manifested in plain musical terms, able to be comprehended by, I daresay, even the novice listener. Amazing. 10, No. Frederic Lamond (1927; HMV 78s, Biddulph CD) - Scottish born, Lamond (1868 - 1948) was considered the greatest interpreter of Beethoven in his time. That thematic unity, in turn enabled a further unique touch - omitting the exposition repeat, a standard and mandatory structural requirement of the time. The first movement’s lyrical second theme (in A-flat major) is the first victim. You'll hear that this time, the upward fourths are compressed, taking up just a half a bar compared with the normal full bar. It's an article of faith that Beethoven's groundbreaking composition is the 3rd Symphony, the Eroica of 1803. How does the 3rd movement of the Appasionata compare in terms of difficulty? The right hand embellishes the single notes with a dominant seventh chord…. His pulse is constantly alive, but never in a way that suggests ego or caprice; rather, he seems possessed by a creative impulse that injects infectious enthusiasm into every phrase. But in the Hammerklavier, between the slow movement and a fugue, comes in extraordinary transitional passage, a period of Beethoven groping for a way to go on. Welcome to Hell – Liszt’s musical gates into the netherworld, Kontrapunktin kauneutta – Polyphonic beauty (Finnish & English), Chess on the Keyboard – The Time Curve Preludes. The harmonic orientation of the work is dismantled from the outset; the hollow arpeggios (due to the space between hands) and the haunting triplets sound an ominous warning. 2 (Moonlight), Practice with no progress? The music has finally reached F minor and it is patently obvious to hear (8’49”). As if to further confuse the listener, Beethoven gives us a handful of diminished chords — the theme is in a major key, but the music surrounding it sounds distinctly haunting and, well, ‘minor’. It wasn’t always called “Moonlight Sonata” – on the first edition, Beethoven gave the piece an Italian subtitle, “Sonata quasi una fantasia”, which translates to something like “Sonata almost like a fantasy” (A fantasy is another music genre, and much more improvisational). In the meantime, enjoy the class and Part 4 of Exploring Beethovenâs Piano Sonatas. The movement as a whole is quite quiet and somber, mainly piano/pianissimo with a few crescendos – it never grows beyond that, which is really quite restrained for passionate Beethoven.
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