It was the Moonlight Sonata that started my obsession with musical Conversations. And no, it wasn’t the Mozart link described in the prior entry.
It is easy to find how Beethoven influenced subsequent composers. You can jump only a few decades forward to Frederic Chopin, for example:
Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, No. 2 in C# Minor, “Moonlight”:
Frederic Chopin, Fantaisie Impromptu in C# Minor, Op. 66
Dedicated to Beethoven, Chopin’s composition (also in C# Minor) opens with a direct quote from the Moonlight’s opening, before moving on to examine a similar soundscape.
And it is exactly that soundscape that so captures me. As I noted the last time, some of my earliest memories are of my father playing the Moonlight Sonata, and like many childhood memories, that soundscape paints a world that takes me back to the innocence of youth. It is catnip for me–and I have searched for and found that soundscape elsewhere throughout music history. I won’t claim any formal connection between any of these works (I’ve selected different works by Mozart and Chopin, for example). But for me, here are some of the greatest composers in history scratching at an essential truth.
Much like the descendents of Babel, these composers speak to me in different tongues, but are each saying the same essential truth. I wish I knew what that was.
Playlist: Searching for Musical Truth
A Bonus Conversation:
Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, like so much of what he wrote, seems to exist out of time. There will be more examples to come, but Alicia Keys makes that case effortlessly on the very first track of her debut album. From 2001: