Piano Sonata No.14 in C sharp minor Op.27 ('Moonlight')
Ludwig van Beethoven


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The 12th of Beethoven's 17 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This climbed to its highest ever position of number 27 in the most recent Hall of Fame poll.

Despite its nickname, in Beethoven's mind this was never the Moonlight Sonata. Instead, the rather pedestrian title of Piano Sonata No. 14 was what the composer seemed perfectly content with. But when the German critic Ludwig Rellstab described the sonata's famous opening movement as being akin to moonlight flickering across lake lucerne, he created a description that would go on to outlive the composer.

Today, the Moonlight (or the 'sonata in the style of a fantasia', as Beethoven preferred to subtitle it) stands as the composer's most famous and most loved solo piano piece.

Riverbank in Moonlight by Charles-Francois Daubigny (1875).