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Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (Read 4054 times)

Offline frigo

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Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
« on: January 21, 2008, 01:04:40 PM »
Hi !
I have seen in the graded chart list that the whole sonata is graded 8.

What is the grade of the first movement? Anyone knows?
As a beginner, I don't find it very transcendental, or am I wrong?

piano sheet music of Sonata 14 (Moonlight)


Offline gerryjay

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #1 on: January 21, 2008, 02:48:19 PM »
 hey frigo!
 this chart have some problems. beyond the fact that any classification is somewhat subjective, this one is according to abrsm as far as i know. so, to the board itself, this sonata is considered dip level (something like grade 9, or more).
 however, there is a problem with multimovemental works classification. it's very unlikely to have the same difficulty throughout. this sonata particularly have a huge contrast between its first (lower intermediate) and last (upper intermediate-lower advanced, am i right?).
 about the first, i would say it is around grade 5 abrsm. not that difficult, but not that easy either.
 could you tell what you have already played? i think with that information it will be easy for the folks to help you more than i can.
 

Offline kyliec

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #2 on: January 21, 2008, 08:20:19 PM »
Hi Frigo, here in Australia the first movement is on the AMEB Grade 7 Piano for Leisure syllabus.

cheers, kylie

Offline mikebechstein

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #3 on: January 22, 2008, 07:29:46 PM »
Like many pieces that can be learned early on, the first movement of the “Moonlight” can also take a lifetime to interpret. I would class this movement, along with “Fur Elise” for example, as one of the many pieces that beginners learn but most professionals, (some of the piano giants included) cannot play “well”. This is, obviously, subjective but seems true when comparing recordings of these apparently “easy” pieces.

However, as Barenboim advises, it is never too early to become familiar with any work that is within reach of your finger ability. Learn the “Moonlight” or learn the “Hammerklavier” as familiarity does not always breed contempt but it often gives you time to immerse yourself in any subconscious meaning of the piece. (Please take the word “meaning” with the contempt it deserves as it is used only as a substitute for an explanation of interpretation that is beyond my limited ability and can possibly not be put into words anyway.)
Più Vivo

Offline shortyshort

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #4 on: January 22, 2008, 11:15:13 PM »
I believe that it's only after you have the piece memorised that you can start to play it.

It is a must.

If God really exists, then why haven't I got more fingers?

Offline gerry

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #5 on: January 22, 2008, 11:33:32 PM »

However, as Barenboim advises, it is never too early to become familiar with any work that is within reach of your finger ability. Learn the “Moonlight” or learn the “Hammerklavier” as familiarity does not always breed contempt but it often gives you time to immerse yourself in any subconscious meaning of the piece. (Please take the word “meaning” with the contempt it deserves as it is used only as a substitute for an explanation of interpretation that is beyond my limited ability and can possibly not be put into words anyway.)


Good point but just need clarification; does Barenboim's quote end with the first sentence and your remarks continue after that?
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den, der heimlich lauschet.

Offline dan101

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #6 on: January 24, 2008, 02:26:36 AM »
Although not technically difficult, the first movement of this sonata does require tonal control and clever voicing. Don't underestimate its demands, just because of a grade label. Good luck.
Daniel E. Friedman, owner of www.musicmasterstudios.com
You CAN learn to play the piano and compose in a fun and effective way.

Offline katie_h

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #7 on: January 24, 2008, 04:40:39 PM »
Has anybody seen the Barenboim masterclasses?

Offline mikebechstein

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #8 on: January 24, 2008, 04:56:33 PM »
KATIE - Yes I have it on DVD and I will lend you when I see you next.

GERRY - The first sentence is a paraphrase of Barenboim. The rest is mostly mine. (Sorry I should use quotes) However, it followed on from what he said many years ago when some people questioned him recording the Hammerklavier when so young (at the time) and he said something along the lines of "it won't get any better by not playing it" which I think is a great statement.
Più Vivo

Offline gerry

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #9 on: January 24, 2008, 05:09:20 PM »
Thanks for the clarification. Since I'm toiling "teacherless" at the time, are there other masterclass-type aids like the Barenboim one available on DVD? I feel I've exhausted the written literature available. Do you have any recommendations?

thanks
Gerry
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den, der heimlich lauschet.

Offline mikebechstein

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #10 on: January 25, 2008, 04:30:14 AM »
Sorry Gerry, I mostly do books myself and Barenboim is the only masterclass DVD I own. I did, however, learn a lot from Cortot’s triple masterclass CD, which covers Bach to Chopin. It is called “Alfred Cortot – The Master Classes.”
Più Vivo

Offline gerryjay

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #11 on: January 25, 2008, 04:48:18 AM »
 hey gerry!
 what about posting a list of books that you like? i want something new to read, and if you have some suggestions, i´d be very thankful!

Offline imchopin

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #12 on: January 26, 2008, 05:07:17 AM »
Hi !
I have seen in the graded chart list that the whole sonata is graded 8.

What is the grade of the first movement? Anyone knows?
As a beginner, I don't find it very transcendental, or am I wrong?
For the first movement, I agree with grade 8 ... maybe 7.  All three movements are "very transcendental", just like other Beethoven sonatas. 

Like you, I also began my piano studies with this sonata.  In the first movement, I quickly learned the notes and memorized the movement, but I still could not PLAY the music.  Hitting the notes is easy in the first movement. Learning to play steadily within the quiet, smooth, and moderately slow progression is more difficult than one may think. The first movement requires near perfect listening skills to master the sound.  Surprisingly, the physical technique required to play softly and evenly can be very demanding sometimes.  At one time, I thought I had mastered the first movement, so I made a personal recording.  I immediately realized that my dynamics were NOT smooth like they should have been.  Not only had I not mastered the movement, but I suddenly felt like I was just beginning.  If you can truly keep a steady pace in this movement, while maintaining the delicate pianissimo, then you've got it made except for the pedaling.  I agree with Andras Schiff, who believes in holding down the pedal relentlessly through this movement.  I only release the pedal 2 or 3 times, which Schiff would disagree with, but oh well.  Good luck learning this sonata.  The third movement will give you the technical demand you seem to crave ;)

Although not technically difficult, the first movement of this sonata does require tonal control and clever voicing. Don't underestimate its demands, just because of a grade label. Good luck.
I agree completely.  I have learned never to judge a piece's superiority solely based on technical difficulty. Honestly, many people think they have mastered this sonata, but they have not.  I have not.

Offline gerryjay

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #13 on: January 26, 2008, 02:13:12 PM »
 hey imchopin!
 are you imbetter reincarnated?  ;)

Quote from: imchopin
I have learned never to judge a piece's superiority solely based on technical difficulty.
take care with the concept of superiority because it probably doesn´t apply to music (although it could be a thread for itself  :P). anyway, if i got your idea (to not judge a work only by it´s level), i agree very much with you.


Quote from: frigo
I don't find it very transcendental, or am I wrong?

another word of warning: liszt transcendental studies are very difficult, but transcendence have nothing to do with difficulty. it´s a stage of knowledge, so to speak. to quote kant himself: "i call all knowledge transcendental if it is occupied, not with objects, but with the way that we can possibly know objects even before we experience them". i think (and that´s a personal point of view) that liszt was talking about the discovery of the "inner pianist", the complete and perfect musician that exists prior to him/herself, hence the name "etudes d’exécution transcendante".

Offline imchopin

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Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
«Reply #14 on: February 14, 2008, 08:28:54 AM »
hey imchopin!
 are you imbetter reincarnated?  ;)
take care with the concept of superiority because it probably doesn´t apply to music (although it could be a thread for itself  :P). anyway, if i got your idea (to not judge a work only by it´s level), i agree very much with you.
Hi gerryjay! (I just now saw your post)
Just between you and me.  I am not really Chopin per say ...  I am just one of his lame disciples LOL 8)

(P.S. - Agreed.  Superiority is a terrible word to use with music. ;))