Saturday, May 04, 2013

"In the Moonlight", waiting in the sunshine for an Amusement Park train-- and learning how a Beethoven Sonata really used to sound


While waiting for a train shuttle at Busch Gardens today near Williamsburg, VA, I heard a prepared recording of classical music that I thought at first “glance” was irritating, but then actually proved interesting.
  
The train station was broadcasting  a recording of the “Presto” finale of the Piano Sonata #14 in C# Minor by Ludwig Van Beethoven, the “Moonlight” Sonata, whose first movement is so hackneyed.  But this is the primitive finale, which seems to make so much of empty, declaratory passage work, but also generates legato, continuous themes of nearby notes in the inner voices.  What was striking about this recording was the plucked sound.  Was this a harpsichord?  Not exactly.  Apparently, this was a “fortepiano” of the early 19th Century, that had a range of only five octaves.  Yet, there was some real dynamics at the end, some real fortissimo. See the Wikipedia history here.  

Later, the station played a trite medley of classical music that is not effective.  The Mozart “Big G Minor” does not need to morph into Gerswhin.

As to the Moonlight Sonata, as it clattered, I did wonder, did any theme from the work inspire Reid Ewing’s “In the Moonlight” song from “Modern Family” (2010)?  Maybe there is a vague resemblance between the “Do Me” song and a motive in the inner voices of the Beethoven.  I hadn’t noticed this before. 

Remember the song "Walkin' in the Sunshine" from the middle 1960s?  (For that matter, remember "Monday, Monday"?)  I used to hear these in McCollum Hall at the University of Kansas, and still dream about them, when sleeping in the moonlight.  

Update: June 29, 2013

I dreamed last night that someone had made a vinyl record of the "Moonlight Sonata" paired with "In the Monnlight, Do Me'.  Why vinyl? 

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