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PDG
01-20-2001, 03:58 PM
I wonder why Beethoven did not write a "proper" 1st movement for the Moonlight sonata. Of course, the work contains plenty of substance as it stands, but to go Adagio - Allegretto - Presto for the 3 movements seems somewhat bizarre to me(!). I`m not sure that the piece is properly balanced by the arrangement of its movements. It`s like an "Unfinished" symphony, in reverse!

Michael
01-20-2001, 10:05 PM
Both the "Moonlight" sonata and its companion piece, Opus 27 No. 1, are very unorthodox pieces and Beethoven was fully conscious of this and was careful to give both of them the subtitle "sonata quasi una fantasia". At least the first movement of the "Moonlight" is in sonata form (barely) but the other work starts off with a sectional andante with an allegro trio!
B had already started his experimenting with the sonata that came just before these two, the A flat, Opus 26, which starts with a variation movement, is followed by a scherzo and a funeral march and the finale has been described as a toccata in all but name.
Beethoven is usually seen as the great innovator but, in this case, Mozart was there before him. Sonata K.331 (Alla Turca) begins with a theme and variations followed by a minuet and trio and ends with the famous rondo. There isn't a sonata-form movement in the entire work.

Michael

PDG
01-23-2001, 01:11 PM
Michael,

Yes, Beethoven had already been experimenting with sonata-form for a couple of works prior to the Moonlight, but it must have seemed very strange to the turn-of-the-19thC Viennese, to have been still settling into their seats, only for the famous adagio to suddenly start floating towards them. But, of course, our man knew what he was doing, & one can imagine him chuckling to himself as he held his audience spellbound.

BP
01-26-2001, 06:12 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
Both the "Moonlight" sonata and its companion piece, Opus 27 No. 1, are very unorthodox pieces and Beethoven was fully conscious of this and was careful to give both of them the subtitle "sonata quasi una fantasia". At least the first movement of the "Moonlight" is in sonata form (barely) but the other work starts off with a sectional andante with an allegro trio!

Michael

Michael, are you sure about the sonata form thing? I do not think the first movement really has any form, partially because it is very hard to write in just about any form over a never-ending repetitive ostinato (I know this from experience) except possibly for variations.

BP

Michael
01-26-2001, 07:26 PM
Originally posted by BP:
Michael, are you sure about the sonata form thing? I do not think the first movement really has any form, partially because it is very hard to write in just about any form over a never-ending repetitive ostinato (I know this from experience) except possibly for variations.

BP

Well, I said it just about qualifies as a sonata-form movement. No other form seems to fit. Tovey describes it as "continuous melody on an enormous scale with elements of development and recapitulation".
It might seem like one continuous melody but formally it can be analysed into the usual first-movement phases with a short coda. The part in the middle where the melody all but vanishes and the triplets fill the air is just like a short development section so that when the rhythmic opening figure is heard again, it feels like a recapitulation.
Robert Simpson called it "the ghost of a sonata movement", and that just about describes it.
When people ask for the "Moonlight Sonata" it is usually the first movement they have in mind. This would be ironic if it were not in sonata form!

Michael

PDG
01-27-2001, 09:19 AM
Despite its definite structure, I tend to think of the adagio as a free-form, fantasy-sonata movement; and, of course, Beethoven titled each op.27 work "almost a fantasy". It`s the presto which finally nails the Moonlight as a bona-fide sonata (difficult to think of moonlight when hearing the presto!). Most people think that the adagio IS the Moonlight Sonata. Everyone knows the adagio, yet almost no one knows the presto. Strange!

Rod
01-27-2001, 09:38 AM
Originally posted by PDG:
Everyone knows the adagio, yet almost no one knows the presto. Strange!

And isn't there a third movement in there somewhere?

Rod

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
01-27-2001, 11:28 AM
Originally posted by Rod:
And isn't there a third movement in there somewhere?

Rod



And what a gem of a movement it is ! The Allegretto I mean.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
01-27-2001, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
And what a gem of a movement it is ! The Allegretto I mean.


From what I have heard, it is this movement that presents the greatest challenge to the interpreter in op27/2. Either too superficial or too heavy.

Rod

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

pentatonika
12-31-2005, 06:54 AM
Some members on this thread seem to be confused about the tempo markings. On my score, the minuet movement is marked Allegretto and the third movement is marked Presto agitato.

I would like to attempt to analyze the first movement in the sonata form.

As it see it:

INTRODUCTION

ms. 1-4

EXPOSITION
ms. 5-9 first subject
ms. 10-23 second subject

DEVELOPMENT
ms. 23-41

RECAPITULATION
ms. 42-46 first subject
ms. 46-60

CODA
ms. 60-69

Do the rest of you agree or disagree?
According to "The Sonata in the Classic Era" by William S. Newman, there is a sonata analysis of this movement in "Mondscheinsonate" by Krohn and on pages 103-104 of "A Companion to Beethoven's Pianoforte Sonatas" by Tovey. I'm overseas, so library access if difficult for me. If any of you have access to either book, please write back.

pentatonika
12-31-2005, 07:04 AM
One more goodie:

It has been said that Beethoven was not thinking about moonlight when he wrote this work. Rather, a later person applied that nickname.

According to contemporary biographer Arnold Schering, Beethoven was thinking about King Lear. Shering created a list of literary and dramatic works which allegedly inspired Beethoven piano sonatas. It is from Schering that we get the nickname for The Tempest sonata.

Should the Moonlight Sonata be renamed the King Lear Sonata?

If Schering had unbridled rein, the
Pathetique Sonata would be the Hero and Leander Sonata, the Pastorale Sonata would be The Winter's Tale Sonata, the La Chasse Sonata would be the As You Like It Sonata, and the Waldstein Sonata would be the Odyssey Sonata.

Rutradelusasa
12-31-2005, 07:49 AM
PDG, I couldn't agree more, I've always said that (I don't think I ever did on this forum) and I've played it in that sense. I've always found that there is no 1st movement, and we should abstract it from the others (try to remove the 1st movement of the pathethique and then abstract one based on the others). So you are left wondering: is this a stormy sonata with a tender second movement or is it a tender sonata which gets stormier as it goes (think of the pastoral as it approaches the 4th movement)?

And for me that is THE genious of it, I mean, could music get more interactive than this?

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"Wer ein holdes weib errugen..."

Chris
12-31-2005, 09:40 AM
Why did you reply to a four year old thread?

Rutradelusasa
12-31-2005, 11:14 AM
Originally posted by Chris:
Why did you reply to a four year old thread?geez, I hadn't noticed http://www.gyrix.com/ubb/eek.gif



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"Wer ein holdes weib errugen..."

Chris
12-31-2005, 12:05 PM
Not you - pentatonika.

Michael
12-31-2005, 05:57 PM
Originally posted by Chris:
Why did you reply to a four year old thread?

Well, as the thread seems to be re-opened, I might as well mention another curious thing. As far as I know, Beethoven wrote only two works in C sharp minor: the Moonlight and the late quartet, opus 131, and both open with a slow movement. Coincidence?

Michael

Droell
01-02-2006, 03:44 AM
Originally posted by Rutradelusasa:
PDG, I couldn't agree more, I've always said that (I don't think I ever did on this forum) and I've played it in that sense. I've always found that there is no 1st movement, and we should abstract it from the others (try to remove the 1st movement of the pathethique and then abstract one based on the others). So you are left wondering: is this a stormy sonata with a tender second movement or is it a tender sonata which gets stormier as it goes (think of the pastoral as it approaches the 4th movement)?

And for me that is THE genious of it, I mean, could music get more interactive than this?




It helps to remember that in Beethoven's day, a piano sonata only had three movements. It was Beethoven himself, only a few years earlier, who had pioneered "symphonic" four movement piano sonatas.

Charalampos
01-21-2006, 10:25 PM
I have a question.... why Beethoven wrote such a "luric" melody with espressivo signs and he used simple triples to accompany... I think that if the melody is played espressivo (just when the melody starts!!!)the flow of the triples just brake...and I don't like to brake the flow... I think that the triplets keep the flow and not an espressivo... I 'd like to hear your opinion...

jman
02-01-2006, 10:51 PM
I think this is a rather interesting topic, 4 years old or not...

I don't think I could agree with the adagio being analyzed in sonata form. I don't think it has to be because Beethoven indicated that it's more a fantasy and it eventually builds to the finale which is in sonata form (same idea as the op. 27 no. 1). I see where the analyzer is coming from though, in that there are somewhat distinctsections, although the key areas are not consistent with sonata form. I also don't know if 4 bars is long enough to constitute a first theme.

My impression was that the first movement is more a ternary form...or is it rounded binary, I can never remember the difference, I know it's about the final cadence. So kind of it's not using the terms exposition, development and recap and just replacing them with A, B and A because I don't think the sonata terms are applicable here.

Hofrat
02-02-2006, 05:54 PM
Originally posted by Droell:

It helps to remember that in Beethoven's day, a piano sonata only had three movements. It was Beethoven himself, only a few years earlier, who had pioneered "symphonic" four movement piano sonatas.

Dear Droell;

Beethoven was not the progenitor of the 4-movement sonata!!


Hofrat