Composed between 1801 and 1802, this popular piece is one of Beethoven’s best known piano works.
Despite its nickname, in Beethoven’s mind this was never the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata. Instead, the rather pedestrian title of Piano Sonata No. 14 was what the composer seemed perfectly content with.
But when the German critic Ludwig Rellstab described the sonata’s famous opening movement as being akin to moonlight flickering across Lake Lucerne, he created a description that would go on to outlive the composer.
In many ways, Beethoven was a revolutionary. More than any other composer of his day, he was responsible for pushing convention and welcoming in the Romantic era of classical music.
This work is a prime example of his refusal to follow the status quo: the traditional fast–slow–fast pattern of how it was then perceived a sonata should sound.