Thursday, February 6, 2014

Moonlight Sonata made a blind girl "see" and feel a moonlit night

Dr Abe V Rotor 
 Living with Nature - School on Blog 
 Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 KHz DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday

There was a blind girl who could not see the beauties of a moonlit night.  She missed the silver sheen on trees and shrubs and grass;  she could not imagine the world of milky white in the sky.  A composer wanted to make his blind girl "see" and feel a moonlit night.  So he created a beautiful piece of music which is now a masterpiece.  The considerate and selfless composer was Beethoven and the piece of music he created is the well-known "Moonlight Sonata." (Anecdotes of the Great that help build a better Life, compiled by J Maurus, Saint Paul Publications)

The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor "Quasi una fantasia"Op. 27, No. 2, popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata, is a piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, it is one of Beethoven's most popular compositions for the piano. Sonata is almost a fantasy, hence the first edition is headed Sonata quasi una fantasia.  

The name "Moonlight Sonata" originated from a German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab. In 1832, five years after Beethoven's death, Rellstab likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. Within ten years, the name "Moonlight Sonata" ("Mondscheinsonate" in German) was being used in German and English publications. Later in the nineteenth century, the sonata was universally known by that name.

Critics are divided on Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata even after the composer was gone. Its romantic tone goes too far as to be interpreted as lament. Others interpret it as a fantasy but different from the original idea of the composer. The style was unconventional: it has three parts which are quite distinct, so that the shifting and joining the three in perfect harmony, many believe, could only be done by a genius. 

It is not surprising that masterpieces are products of ideas whose time has yet to come. Geniuses think ahead of us, they are often branded controversial or revolutionary. 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Evangeline was patterned after Homer's epic, a style long discarded by poets in Longfellow's time. Yet in less than a century Walt Whitman further modified Longfellow's version into a freer and flowing poetry. This is true with Picasso leading the most radical school that led artists all over the world to accept and adopt. Hemingway's novels opened a new era of literature. We have our local versions of such radical movements.  In music, Nicanor Abelardo brought the kundiman to the level of art. He also composed music for the sarswela as well as songs in different musical forms. He completed more than 140 compositions, foremost are Mutya ng Pasig, Nasaan Ka Irog and Bituwin Marikit.  He was given the title the "Father of the Sonata in the Philippines".

In painting Botong Francisco expanded into mural dimension cubism pioneered by French Impressionist Paul Cezanne, and further refined in classical abstract art by HR Ocampo.  
Orchestra plays  Nicanor Abelardo's Kudiman compositions at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  Backdrop of stage is HR Ocampo's masterpiece.
 But the enduring nature of masterpieces, their timelessness and appeal,  categorize them among the so-call Greats. Foremost among Beethoven's works to many of us, irrespective of audience - is Moonlight Sonata. Find time to listen to .Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and you will enjoy the serenity, the imagery of Lake Lucerne. Be transported into the land of peace and fantasy. Imagine you are that blind girl who was able to "see" and feel a moonlit night. ~  

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