Mar 26

Adieu to the Piano

On this day (March 26) in 1827, Ludvig van Beethoven, one of our great classical composers, died in his apartment in Vienna at the age of 56 during a thunderstorm (and there reportedly was a peal of thunder at the moment of death!)

I didn’t realize that Beethoven apparently had a sense of humor. His last recorded words were “Pity, pity—too late!”, as the dying composer was told of a gift of twelve bottles of wine from his publisher.

Adieux to the Piano was one of the greatly popular parlor pieces for the piano during much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Although attributed to Beethoven, there is some controversy. During the 19th century unscrupulous publishers (so the music business is the same more than 200 years later!) would frequently attempt to improve sales of their works by slapping Beethoven’s name onto them. However, it is listed in the library of congress by Beethoven.

In any case, there is a simple meditative peacefulness to this song, and it’s fun to play!

Beethoven also wrote the popular “Moonlight Sonata”, which clocks in at around 4 minutes (I play it a little faster than usual.)  It’s a fun piece and I’d love to share that with you all as well, but I’m also aware 4 minutes is a lot of your time to ask for!  So if more than 20 people tell me that they’d like to hear my version (see the poll at the bottom of the page) of the first movement of “Moonlight Sonata”, I’ll be happy to record it for you. It really sounds great with the Bosendorfer Imperial Grand piano sound!

In the meantime, enjoy.

Dr. Weiss

P.S. This song is dedicated to my brother Michael, a serious Beethoven fan, on his upcoming birthday.  Happy Birthday, Michael!

Bosendorfer piano sound – For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I’ve ever owned!!