Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Classics in Commercials: My friend Stuart, Beethoven, and Android

I love to talk about classical music to anyone who will listen, and it's especially nice to meet new people who share a similar love of it. Stuart Gauld is one such person in my life. Last year, he and his wife Sarah started running in the Saturday morning running group I also run with (The Kansas City Track Club KCTC - Lee's Summit chapter). Over coffee one morning, after a run, our conversation somehow landed on music, and he told me that despite having no formal musical education, he loved classical music....especially vocal music..a la Luciano Pavarotti. Since then we regularly talk about music and share thoughts and suggestions with each other. Just yesterday he sent me a message asking if there was a particular recording/performance of the Beethoven Sonata no. 14 in C-sharp minor "Moonlight" that I liked the most. I had to think about it a bit because I don't think there is a pianist of note who hasn't recorded it...and there are many excellent interpretations. I suggested some new (Lang Lang, and Yuja Wang, and some old...Rudolph Firkusny, Van Cliburn, Vladamir Horowitz, Alfred Brendel, and Murray Perahia. There are many others of course, but I went with these.
Later in the evening, as I was watching my beloved KC Royals blow another lead late in the game, a commercial came on that featured the music of Beethoven...the 3rd movement of his Sonata no. 14! Small world for sure. It was a commercial for Android. It's called Monotune. Here it is:

There is also a "The Making of Monotune" that is interesting:

Ji Liu (born 1990) is the young pianist who stars in the commercial. I don't really care about the product per se...but it is very nice to see any company pick classical music as part of an ad campaign, so for that I do applaud Android.
Beethoven composed this Sonata in 1801. He did not call it the "Moonlight" Sonata. This term was given to the work by a music critic, Ludwig Rellstab (at least according to Wiki) in 1832. Given the feel and mood of the Sonata's very famous first movement, "Moonlight" certainly seems appropriate if you ask me. This ad features the third movement, "Presto agitato."