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Beethoven: Sonata 14 (Moonlight) Op. 27 No. 2 in C-sharp Minor

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Ludwig van Beethoven - Sonatas :
Sonata 14 (Moonlight), Op. 27 No. 2
Sonata 14 (Moonlight) Op. 27 No. 2  in C-sharp Minor by Beethoven piano sheet music
Key: C-sharp Minor Year: 1801
Level: 8+ Period: Classical
piano sheet music Piano score: PS Urtext
piano sheet music Piano score: Ruthardt edition
piano sheet music Piano score: facsimile of first edition
piano music mp3 recording Sonata 14 (Moonlight) Op. 27 No. 2 - FREE SAMPLE (mp3 file)
Recordings in Naxos Music Library

Hypnotic calm before the storm

The "Moonlight" Sonata is one of Beethoven's most popular piano works, especially the haunting first movement with its sad melody played against the familiar ostinato triplet rhythm. It's the kind of soothingly beautiful but sad movement that can almost place a listener into a state of hypnosis. To create this hypnotic beauty, the pianist needs to excercise great control of the three different layers of music: bass line, triplet accompaniment, and melody. Less well known but indeed well worth exploring is the comparatively cheerful second movement - a Scherzo and trio in D-flat major, fairly straightforward but with interesting syncopated rhythms. Liszt called this movement "a flower beetween abysses". In the stormy third movement Presto, the broken chord triplets of the first movement are transformed into violently erupting arpeggios, covering three octaves. This dramatic composition, with typical Beethovenian sharp accents, presents substantial technical difficulties.

Practice & Performance Tips:
Beethoven instructs the performer to depress the sustain pedal for the entire duration of the first movement. ("Si deve suonare tutto questo pezzo delicatissimamente e senza sordino"). On most modern instruments, however, the effect will probably be too blurred if there are no pedal changes at all. But if that other main instruction is followed - to play softly and delicately throughout - it becomes possible to experiment a bit with the right pedal to achieve the sort of half-blurring that Beethoven was after.

The next two movements are more difficult, but don’t hesitate to try the second movement Allegretto if you are an intermediate player, as it is a beautiful piece of music as well as an excellent exercise in articulation, rhythm, balance and control of touch.

The last movement is really only for the most advanced pianists. The piece is like an erupting volcano, and it’s quite a feat to keep these continual explosions under control. However, focusing on the steadiness of the left hand part will help you to stay on top of... Sign up for a Gold membership to read the practice tips.

Downloadable piano sheet music from Sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven to print: Sonata 14 (Moonlight) Op. 27 No. 2 in C-sharp Minor (published in 1801)

Sonata 14 (Moonlight) Op. 27 No. 2 in C-sharp Minor, a composition by the classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The piano score of this piece was first published in 1801 and is part of Sonatas by Beethoven.
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