Wednesday, August 17, 2011

ROCK Sex: "MOONLIGHT SONATA" - Beethoven > The Beatles > Piero Umiliani > En Vogue > TWIN PEAKS

ROCK Sex says, "Love is old, love is new".

Creativity is a cultural relay race. Here's another great baton.


"The Moonlight Sonata" by Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most haunting and romantic Classical ballads of all time. Its actual title is "Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor, "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2"; the Latin phrase translates as "Almost a fantasy".

Sit back and be transported into mood indigo.

LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN -"Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor, "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2" (composed 1801)

A classic Pop song that incorporates Beethoven's melody is "Past Present Future" by The Shangri-Las. Producer Shadow Morton, firmly in the Phil Spector aural tradition, smartly puts the spotlight on Mary Weiss and her ever-haunting monologues.

The line "but don't try to touch me" is especially chilling, and the song was a natural for a new remake by Marianne Faithfull.

THE SHANGRI-LAS -"Past Present Future" (1966)

Yoko Ono is a classically trained pianist. While she was playing "Moonlight Sonata" once, John Lennon lit up and asked her to play the chords backwards. This inspired the framework for his song "Because" on the ABBEY ROAD album. George Harrison plays a Moog synthesizer in various parts.

"Because" is loved for its melody, its cheeky puns ("because the wind is high, it blows my mind"), and for the lovely chorus sung by John, Paul, and George.

SELTAEB EHT -"esuaceB" (backwards, 1969)

Bringing the relay full circle, the song is often covered by symphonic orchestras. But it is also as popular in a capella versions, like this one by the late great Elliott Smith.

ELLIOTT SMITH -"Because" (1999)

By coincidence that same year, Italian film composer Piero Umiliani used "Moonlight Sonata" as the framework for this spectral piece for the film Angeli Bianchi...Angeli Neri/ White Angel, Black Angel.

The piano is most certainly Umiliani, with vocals by I Cantori Moderni (The Modern Singers), who sang on all the classic '60s and '70s Italian soundtracks.

PIERO UMILIANI -"Magical Moonlight" (1969)

In the tradition of The Shangri-Las and The Beatles, here's En Vogue with a midnight serenade.

EN VOGUE -"Sad But True" (2000)

The Beethoven melody has also inspired songs by Alicia Keys, Atmosphere, and Down Low.

For an especillay unnerving scene in TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN (2017), director David Lynch slowed a recording of the Moonlight Sonata down severely for dissonance and dislocation.

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© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

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