Adagio sostenuto from Moonlight Sonata

When I was around 16, I played the first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for a solo and ensemble event in Mansfield, Ohio. I had always loved music, but at that time I was perched on a precipice, ready to jump into a free fall of immersion in the magical world of melodies and harmonies.

As fate would have it, I was last on the judge’s list that day. When I finished playing, he told me that I played the piece beautifully, and that it was worth waiting all day long, just to get the chance to hear me play Beethoven. That compliment was one of many factors that pushed me over the edge, and I have been soaring in that musical free fall ever since.

In recent years, several of my piano students have played this moody Adagio sostenuto from the Moonlight Sonata, and I have so enjoyed helping them find their own interpretation. I thought it might be a good time to record it myself, which I did recently, at Airtime Studios, on a Yamaha C7 piano, with David Weber as engineer.

This piece is often associated with a moonlit lake at night. So, I gathered some paintings on the internet and Zack Philipps from Tribeswell and I put together a “slideshow” to accompany the music.

The music itself is available on CDBaby and will be on iTunes soon. In the meantime, the video is below.

Hope you enjoy it!

Paintings, in order of appearance:

Moonlit Lake with a Ruined Gothic Church, a Church and Boatmen
Sebastian Pether

Moonlight
Elias Childe

Ships in Moonlight
Albert Bierstadt

Moonlight – Silver Lake, Cottonwood Canyon
Alfred Edward Lambourne

Silver Moonlight St Ives Bay
Julius Olsson

Moonlight
Ralph Albert Blakelock

Barques de pêche au clair de lune
Alfred Stevens

Moonlight, A Study at Millbank
Joseph Mallord William Turner

About Timothy Reed

Timothy Reed is a composer, pianist, singer, actor, writer, and piano and voice teacher. In 2010, he released a CD entitled “Euphoric Owls”, which alternates between solo piano and piano with what he calls “ethereal voices”. Imagine George Winston meets Schubert and Chopin, often with soaring vocals, with Tim and the amazing Brown Sisters.

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