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Sunday 5th June, 0900-1300
Emil Gilels

Adagio sostenuto
Presto agitato

The popular nickname of the 'Moonlight' for the second sonata of Op. 27 may be a fair title for the first movement, but the rest of the work contains some of the most turbulent music Beethoven ever wrote. Much has been said of Countess Guicciardi, or at least Beethoven's feelings for her, being the Sonata's inspiration, but, as she herself recalled, it was not dedicated to her until after another work intended for her had had to be reassigned to another patron.

This is again designated as a 'Sonata quasi una fantasia'. There is no standard fast first movement. Instead, the Sonata opens with a slow movement, a calm and poetic, virtually athematic Adagio sostenuto. It is followed without a break by a short D flat major scherzo, with a dramatic, syncopated trio, and the hectic, often ferocious Presto agitato concludes the Sonata in a mood about as far away from the Adagio as is possible.

Matthew Rye

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