THE ‘YIN’ AND THE ‘YANG’ SIDES OF BEETHOVEN

BEETHOVEN’S MOONLIGHT SONATA – 3rd MOVEMENT

THE “YANG” SIDE OF BEETHOVEN

Beethoven Yang

Over five months ago, in dreamtime on Aug 29, 2017, I received my next musical assignment for 2017. It was Beethoven’s hellishly difficult 3rd movement of the otherwise serene Moonlight Sonata.

Elizabeth and I were about to leave on our planned road trip to Canada. Which turned out to be a Tour of the SIerra Nevada because of all the forest fires up north.

So I really did not get started on this piece until late September.

And it was like hell. My arthritic hands hurt. My music sounded like sh**t. Some of the notes in the lowest register I could not even read. I played them purely by ear.

I can’t tell you how many times I decided to give it up – only to be drawn back to this amazing Beethoven piano composition by some magical force. Probably the author himself.

And so this evening, almost five months later, I decided to record my “work-in-progress” audio version of this piece.

Here it is. It is far from perfect. Or even close to perfection. But it is what it is as of this Sunday, Jan 21, 2018.

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, 3rd Movement – YANG – recorded on Jan 21, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic\

 


THE “YIN” SIDE OF BEETHOVEN – 1st MOVEMENT

Beethoven Yin

The 3rd movement of the Moonlight Sonata, which I recorded and posted last night, shows us the YANG-side of Beethoven. It is fast and furious, burning with passion like an inferno.

By contrast, here’s now the 1st movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” – which gives us his YIN aspect, mellow and serene, line moonlight.

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, 1st Movement – YIN – recorded on Oct 12, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic

 

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BEETHOVEN KNEW HE WAS GOING DEAF WHEN HE WROTE THIS MASTERPIECE – IT WAS HIS EXPRESSION OF DEFIANCE

My greatest satisfaction comes in that forte section at about 1:50 mins of the piece where both hands are playing simultaneously partly dissonant staccato chords. It is that section that made me try to play this 3rd movement in the first place. I feel Beethoven’s RAGE in it over his loss of hearing. He wrote this Sonata in 1801 when he became first aware that he would be going deaf. He was only 31 at the time.

Can you imagine the pain such a realization would cause to a composer and pianist of his talent and skill? And yet, he never gave up. Even when he was almost completely deaf, he created his greatest masterpiece – the Ninth. I did not realize this until this moment, but perhaps that’s what is also keeping me coming back to this piece even after giving up on it. What’s a little arthritic pain compared to something as terrible as deafness for a composer?

So maybe subconsciously, I am doing this as a tribute to good old Ludwig. Hm… And maybe, he has been the one nudging me to do it.

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