Beethoven’s Sustained Beauty

One of Beethoven’s most famous piano sonata’s is his sonata #14 in C-sharp minor known as his “Moonlight” sonata. Most classical pieces with 3 movements have a fast, slow, fast tempo form. Beethoven’s moonlight sonata is unique in that the first movement is in a slow speed, the slowest of the three movements. The first movement is one of the more recognizable of piano sonata movements. I am fairly certain you have heard this many times before.

Ludwig Van Beethoven [1770 – 1827]

The first movement is marked adagio sostenuto.  This means the movement is to be played in a slow sustained manner. The way this is done on the piano is to play in a strong legato form in which the notes are connected and the first note held well into the second note being depressed.  Another way for a note to be sustained [longer than the full value given] is for the pianist to use the middle pedal, which is called the sostenuto pedal.  When depressed, whatever note has been played while it has been depressed will sustain that note [and that note only] until the pedal is released. The first slow movement is truly beautiful and moving. 

Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata #14 is scored in C# minor, with 3 movements: 1. Adagio Sostenuto; 2. Allegretto; and the exciting movement 3. Presto Agitato.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy Beethoven’s sustained beauty, his iconic “Moonlight” Sonata.

L. Van Beethoven: Piano Sonata #14 in C# minor, “Moonlight”:

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