Wednesday Music: Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14, “Moonlight”

I’ve been on a whole Beethoven kick recently. I’ve been listening to his violin concerto (which was featured on Wednesday Music once) and some of his piano concertos, too. (Number 5 was also featured on Wednesday Music). This week’s piece is another Beethoven piece, one that a lot of people know about: Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2, which is popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata. Here’s a little bit about it.

  • Beethoven wrote this piece in 1801 and even then, it was a very popular work.
  • It was nicknamed the Moonlight Sonata by a German music critic after Beethoven’s death. I’ve noticed there seems to be a trend of pieces getting their nicknames after the composer’s death—or at least not from the composers themselves.
  • Like many classical sonatas, this one has three movements, two fast and one slow. Unlike many, it doesn’t follow the traditional order for these movements. Most sonatas have the form of fast-slow-[fast]-fast (sometimes there are four movements, hence the optional fast movement in brackets). The Moonlight Sonata has a slow-fast-fast structure, which is atypical.


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2 thoughts on “Wednesday Music: Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14, “Moonlight”

  1. This is honest to goodness my absolute favorite piano piece and I have craved learning to play it for years. Though, it’s not the excessive intricacy of the piece, or the years of skill built up from practicing, that’s kept me from learning this gorgeous work of art. Sadly, it’s my biology that keeps me from playing it. I was not gifted with the long, lithe fingers required to play the piano and as such I have had to refrain from learning such wonderful pieces as “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven. Even so, I enjoy this piece immensely. A good choice.


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