Intimate confessions in Beethoven’s Moonlight

Intimate confessions in Beethoven’s Moonlight


norman lebrecht

August 06, 2021

If you haven’t encountered the prolific Youtube pianist Anastasia Huppmann, late is better than never.


Here are her intimate thoughts on Beethoven’s opus 27/2:

The first movement of Moonlight Sonata is dominated by a slow and almost yearning rhythm; as if Beethoven himself were in a state of lamentation. As I played this adagio sostenuto, I soon began to realise that there are some human emotions which are best put into musical form. There is simply no way that words could describe what can only be called a mournful state of beauty. As if I were walking with Beethoven himself underneath the pallid moonlight… I felt completely swept away in a sense of forlorn sorrow and yet, I could not help but to be captivated by this state of sublime rapture. These emotions would soon be replaced by a sense of personal transition which accompanied the second movement and finally, by the extremely turbulent nature associated with the third (presto agitato) section. I felt as if I were being swept off of my emotional feet into a state of ethereal agitation. There was a sense of tempestuous yearning and the frenetic tempo only served to heighten my senses until they hovered somewhere between uncertainty and magnificent bliss…

There is, I assure you, more of this. Much more.


  • John Borstlap says:

    According to latest musicological research, what Beethoven wanted to express in this sonata, is the variety of moods he sank into after discovering that he had, for the 4th time, miscalculated the balance of his monthly expenses and income.

  • Jackson says:

    I’d agree with what she said basically even if the language was a touch flowery and over the top.

  • Peter X says:

    Cleavage, pouty lips, blonde hair, red dress: a cheap, often used marketing trick designed to lure older, lonely, heterosexual men in. She may be less vulgar than Lola, though.

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    From her Wikipedia entry:

    “Her music style has stood the test of time and brings back music from the good old days.[citation needed]
    She performs heartwarming tunes to infatuate listeners’ hearts over and over again.[citation needed]
    This explains why her concerts attract a massive following of fans.”
    Here too, a citation would be needed, though Wikipedia fails to say so.

    Incidentally, one cannot help but marvel at the subtle interplay between this item and today’s other shocking report, about price fixing by Yamaha. It has not escaped our attention that Ms. Huppmann’s delicate fingers are caressing the ebony and ivory of a Yamaha grand.
    If Yamaha’s anti-competitive practices were found to be erecting obstacles to the indiscriminate acquisition of their instruments, thus frustrating the budding vocations of other, equally over-eager and bountiful young devotees of the well-tempered eighty-eight, we should be grateful. Grateful for Yamaha’s contribution to discernment and taste.

  • Piano fan says:

    “Beethoven may have written his Funeral March because he had a stomach ache.”

    -Frederic Chopin

  • Cheap says:

    Total hype garbage. Cheap

  • BRUCEB says:

    I used my usual listening test method: open a tab on YouTube, then don’t watch — only listen. To me she sounds like a good musician. She probably won’t displace anybody’s Olympian ideal of whoever they consider the best (Schnabel, Pollini, Hatto 😉 …), but to me she definitely sounds good enough to be out there performing. There were several times when the tone of the piano distracted me and I thought “oh right, it’s a Yamaha” — the tendency for attacks to become percussive and for the sound to lose its color in louder dynamics is usually what gives it away. I realize that may be partly due to the pianist, but it’s something I’ve noticed with a lot of different players playing on Yamahas. I suppose a person could counteract that trait, but they might need a long time working with the same piano to figure out its secrets.

    I only skimmed the written paragraph above. Who cares? She’s writing to attract the general public, who want to be “swept away on a wave of emotion” or something; who knows if this is how she really thinks (or how she really writes).

    Once in awhile I checked in on the video: what I saw mostly saw was close-ups of her hands, and then shots from farther away, of her sitting at the piano. I must have missed the pouting and the cleavage. Oh well.

    One thing I will say in her favor: I was looking at other screens, but she did keep me listening… unlike Lola, where I forgot there was even music playing until it stopped — and then it was like when the refrigerator suddenly turns off and you realize “oh, that was actually kind of loud.”

    P.S. Here she is playing Chopin in a dress that’s not red and low-cut, on a piano that isn’t a Yamaha:

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    I’m sure Beethoven himself had approved this interpretaton (even if he could not listento it). 🙂

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    I’m having trouble falling asleep so I would be most grateful if she could come over to my private chambers and perform the Goldberg Variations to help put me out of my constant misery.

  • christopher storey says:

    I found the performance of the first movement very odd. There was ( particularly at the beginning) this insistent tolling of the bell by the right thumb even when it was merely repeated G sharps . I am not saying that it is not a valid viewpoint, but it was both strange and monotonous