The famous Moonlight sonata, v so countless false traditions and also interpretations, is in emphasis in this article. This is a exceptional piece, v emotions therefore extreme and also contrasting, the it stand out as an every time favorite for any kind of audiences throughout history.

You are watching: The dreamy first movement of the moonlight sonata features

Beethoven’s famed Moonlight Sonata was born in 1801 as op. 27./2. No a really marketable name, for sure. The Moonlight Sonata (“Mondscheinsonate” in German), this catchy surname was offered by the poet Ludwig Rellstab, much later in the 1830s. That likened the an initial movement to a boat floating on the lake Lucerne, in Switzerland. This surname for numerous critics and also aficionados is a nonsense. Follow to your opinion the very first movement is nothing else, however a funeral music and as together there is nothing romantic about it!

What is certain, and also by the will of the composer, is the inscription he put on the score: Sonata quasi una fantasia. Meaning, sonata in the way of fantasy. This header was expected for the companion piece as well, op.27/1. It definitely points come the dream like, free-flowing improvisation the is the key character of this piece. 2 contrasting worlds: sonata with its structural order and also fantasy, with its freedom.

The two sonatas are having actually their own and also different lives. One, the an initial of the 2 under op. 27 is practically unknown, the second, the Moonlight is just one of the finest known works of Beethoven. Not only in his time that overshadowed later works (to the irritation of the Master), however even today it proceeds to impress. In 2004 in Australia, for example, people voted it to be the many loved piano music ever. Later, this magazine will do justice to the first composition, as it is also to be taken into consideration a amazing piece.

The Moonlight Sonata, like practically all Beethoven’s piano works, to be unique and outstanding in the time. Most sonatas in that era consisted a lively, thematically strong very first movement, a subdued 2nd movement and also a vivacious finale. By contrast this sonata has actually a dreamy first, a somewhat much more lively second and a fury third movement. So much so, that legend has actually it, throughout the premier many strings snap by the hefty hands that Beethoven…

Beethoven specialized this work-related to Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, a 16 years old college student of his. Beethoven was in love through her, however their romance ultimately did not come to fruition.

First movement – Adagio sostenuto, C-sharp minor, modification sonata form

The sonata beginning in a really unusual way, return a sonata, it starts with a sluggish movement. The tempo is adagio sostenuto, but also alla breve (2/2, counting two in a beat). This Beethoven work has actually a the majority of false heritages sticking to it, one is the tempo, i m sorry is most often played also slowly.

The composer put a sentence right here as a indict for how to pat this distinct movement: “Si deve suonare tutto questo pezzo delicatissimamente e Senza Sordino”. It says really delicately, but without sordino (dumper raised). Today, there is dispute if on a contemporary piano this can be done or not. If us take Beethoven seriously, we should follow his instructions and try to carry out it as he says. Numerous would to speak on toady’s piano, pedal should be pressed under to the 3rd in bespeak to discover the sound and also emotions the composer intended. This way, there is brief moment of blurring, as the previous harmony still sound softly and the new one does not take over yet.


Bar 1-5: arrival of the very first theme

Bar 5-9: very first theme

Bar 10-15: bridge

Bar 15-23: 2nd theme


Bar 23-42: very short advancement section


Bar 42-46: an initial theme

Bar 46-51: bridge

Bar 51-60: second theme, after bar 4 a significantly altered second theme

Bar 60: coda

The movement starts with this dreamy fantasy world, almost hypnotic with a strong base and also triplets ostinato (repetition that the exact same motif).

The next part of the sonata is the genuine telling the the true nature the this movement. Edwin Fischer write in his book about his discovery in Vienna in an archive, whereby he saw a note written by Beethoven and also for this component there to be a copy from Mozart’s Don Giovanni’s killing scene. This part is transposed come C-sharp minor and also sounds prefer this.

If friend look up Mozart’s scene, the similarity are much more than convincing. This is a fatality scene!

The movement goes on with its minimal dynamics and also ostinatos, waving like a sad sea.

The finishing is so delicate, so fine and also so sad, the listener nearly forgets to breathe. Simply as the motion ends with releasing its energy and turning into silence.

Berlioz wrote, the adagio movement is one of those poems that human being language does no know exactly how to qualify.

We might not agree more….

Second activity – Allegretto and also trio, ternary form

The center movement is in D-flat major. Beethoven provides a comparison here, after having the whole first movement in blur with the pedaling. Here, we have actually clear music.

Allegretto menuetto

Bar 1-9: an initial subject

Bar 9-17: repeated (varied)

Bar 18-26: 2nd theme

Bar 26: first subject (extended, varied)


Bar 1-9: very first subject

Bar 10-18: 2nd theme

Bar 18: repeat of very first theme

Third part

Allegretto da capo

The movement starts together a music v string instruments, the base representing the cello. With Beethoven, regularly piano is a totality orchestra and also we must discover to combine the tools that a sound is representing.

A variation part is coming, ultimately with some legatos. András Schiff in among his lectures claims this part is favor a lot of question marks, with a huge question and a tiny answer at the end.

Now, ~ the fantasy in movement one and the happy staccatos in the start of activity two, we come ago to the fact with strong accents. Beethoven to write forte piano to the tenor voices.

The finish of the motion if acquainted already. The ‘question marks’ space back, every question acquiring stronger, more loud and then again this tiny answer.

This center movement was defined by Franz Liszt as a little flower in between two abysses, referring to the menacingly towering first and last movements.

Third motion – Presto agitato, C-harp minor, sonata form

The last motion is the longest and also finally in actual sonata form. Again, the pedaling will be very critical. Piano masters will tell us, Beethoven was the an initial great composer to completely utilize the pedals. Here, he switches back and forth, with and also without pedals (con and also senza sordino).

The movement even with today’s requirements is extreme, ferocious. As Charles Rosen put it: the first movement is too vulnerable for modern-day instruments and also the last motion was too grand because that the contemporary’s. The contrast in between the an initial and the last movement was unmatched until then.


Bar 1-14: an initial subject

Bar 15-21: bridge

Bar 21-63: 2nd subject

Bar 63-64: repetition and development


Bar 66-102: an initial and second subject appears


Bar 103-116: very first subject

Bar 117-158: 2nd subject

Bar 158: coda

The motion starts v a menacing rhythm.

Then come the 2 chords that are always with pedal in.

Now, together.

The music gets really furious, right here we deserve to hear the parts, wherein Beethoven may be snapped some strings…

The music then comes to a an ext lyric part.

A new theme comes around 2m30s, with complete orchestra at the end.

A bit later a full pedal section prepares the recapitulation.

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The finish is virtually like a piano concerto, stepping the end from the boundaries of a constant piano sonata. Grand!

Finally the coda, i beg your pardon reminds the listener to the later on coming Appasionata sonata.