Classical Music Concert: Program Notes

Classical Music Concert: Program Notes

1.0 Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Piano no. 14.

“Quasi una fantasia” means it is almost a fantasy (Broyles, 2011). It is the original title of the sonata replaced by Moonlight. It is until several years later after Beethoven died that the Moonlight Sonata became the popular tile. Ludwig Rellstab, a German music critic, wrote that Moonlight Sonata represents the reflection of moonlight off Lake Lucerne. Since his statement, Moonlight Sonata became and is still the unofficial title. In 1801, the Magnificent Beethoven composed the popular Moonlight Sonata.

It is a musical dedication to Giulietta Guicciardi, his pupil (Miller, 2007). The two fell in love shortly after beginning the lessons. She would accept Beethoven’s marriage proposal willingly, but one of her parents forbade the relationship, preventing him from marrying her. This sorrowful event culminated in Beethoven’s classical masterpiece. Adagio Sostenuto, Allegretto, and Presto Agitato are the three parts of the Sonata.The first movement, Adagio Sostenuto, is the most famous but mysterious (Ibid). It is a dark, whisper like melody. It has a condensed form in the sense that it plays the main melody, develops it, and plays it again like the original melody. The second movement is a comic composition that is fast moving. The melody is in the form of scherzo, used in place of Minuet and trio, at the time of Beethoven. It uses D flat major unrelated to C#, the overall key. The third movement is unique to the other two. It is powerful and invigorating due the rapid progression from note to note.

2.0 Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata, D Major, K240

Domenico Scarlatti was the son of Allesandro Scarlatti, who was the pioneer of the Neapolitan School of 18th century opera (Sutcliffe, 2003). Interestingly, Domenico Scarlatti lived just some months after the end of the era of two grand masters of classical music, Bach and Handel. The two represents the High Baroque, but in Scarlatti are the initial, significant models of a new classical style of composition. Scarlatti’s style of composition would reach full development through the work of maestros such as Mozart and Haydn.Scarlatti’s Sonata consist has two brief parts. Scarlatti used several daring and difficult devices including repeated trills, intricate hand-crossings, skips, and notes. His work is unique and is different from the later, subsequent works of Mozart and Haydn, made to perfection by Beethoven. Scarlatti’s Sonata is unique and comparable to none, in terms of technical ability. The work of Fredrick Chopin can only rival his technical composition.

Somber tones and sadness are the significant defining theme in his more than five hundred key board sonatas (Ibid). However, the sonatas never fail the listener because of the strong sense of invention and vitality of the music. His style is remarkable even though Domenico produced most of his works in speed. In the sonata, Domenico concentrates his work into a single keyboard instrument. In the keyboard may be heard the passion and fire characteristic of the Spanish classical music. It is never until the twentieth century that we experience the music that represents the ambience of its country’s folk culture so faithfully. Scarlatti combines energy and brilliance and contrasts them somber moods and sadness

3.0. Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto, C Major, Hob Vllb: 1

In 1761, John Haydn begun to compose Cello Concerto, in C Major, and completed it in 1765 (Keefe, 2005). Its first performance is unknown, though there is a known performance in Prague, the Czech Republic, by cellist Milos Sadio together with Charles Mackerras conducting the Czech Radio SymphonyOther performances include a performance by the Chicago symphony orchestra with Jean Martinon conducting and Janos Starker, soloist, in 1964.The latest performance occurred in 2004, performed with William Edins as a conductor and Mstislav Rostropovivh, soloist.

The orchestra comprises two horns, strings, and two oboes (Ibid). Its performance time is approximately 25 minutes. John Haydn is an excellent Viennese classical triumvirate. There was only one Cello Concerto by Haydn, in D major, until 1961. Cellists and audiences alike loved and treasured it because it was the single best work of its kind. Neither Beethoven nor Mozart wrote a cello concerto. Hayden composed the Cello Concerto for Weigl, his best friend and a brilliant musician, following his death.The Cello Concerto has three movements just as the ordinary form of classical concertos (Ibid). The arrangement of the movements occurs in a pattern of fast-slow-fast. The Concerto exploits several instruments and the capacity of the various instruments for athletic passagework and lyrical expression. The works of Hayden earned are popular for leisurely expression, but this concerto is a perfect classical piece to convey sadness.


Broyles, M. “Beethoven in America”. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2011.

Keefe, S. “The Cambridge Companion to the Concerto”. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Miller, N. “Beethoven: Piano Sonata 14- Moonlight Movement”. Neill Miller Analyzed Editions, 2007.

Sutcliffe, B. “The Keyboard Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti and Eighteen- Century Music Style”. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

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