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It is thought that this piano piece was inspired by Beethoven's love for his 17-year-old pupil, the Countess Giulietta Guicciardi to whom the work is dedicated. Beethoven considered the sonata to be inferior to many of his other works for piano, its popularity exasperated the composer, who remarked to Carl Czerny, "Surely I've written better things."
The sonata's nickname came from a Berlin critic named Ludwig Rellstab who in 1832 described the famous first movement as like "a boat passing the wild scenery of Lake Lucerne in the moonlight." Otherwise it would be called the slightly less romantic "Piano Sonata in C Minor op 27 no 2." Beethoven himself subtitled the work "Sonata quasi una fantasia" (Sonata in the style of a fantasia).
The Hungarian composer Franz Lizst's preference was for the middle of the three movements, calling it, "A flower between two abysses."
"Moonlight Sonata" has been used in and inspired a number of popular songs. John Lennon got the idea for the Beatles track "Because
," when he heard Yoko Ono playing "Moonlight Sonata" on the piano. He asked her to play it backwards, and came up with "Because" based on what he heard. Also "Stabbed
," by the Scottish band Glasvegas is set against the piano of "Moonlight Sonata."
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