Classical Music

Billy Joel: Sonata Pathétique

Billy Joel is probably one of my favorite singers , if not the favorite. I grew up listening to and playing his music on the piano.  When I was a kid living in eastern PA, I remember writing his name in marker on a swing. Of course, it might also have had something to do with the fact that my brother’s name is Billy and his best friend at the time was named Joel and I thought they were both pretty cool. (SSH! Don’t tell my brother I said he was cool!)

On his blog, Classical Music Almanac, Kurt Nemes recently posted a recording of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 8, or “Pathétique,” which included this particular recording of the Adagio Cantabile by Daniel Barenboim.

It’s a beautiful piece that everyone, I’m sure, will recognize upon hearing it if they don’t already know it by name. In his 1983 album, An Innocent Man, Billy Joel quoted Beethoven’s Sonata Pathétique for the melody of his song, This Night. Listen to it here – it kicks in at about the 1:18 point.

Don’t worry, I still love the original the best, but whenever I do hear it, I can’t help but sing along with Billy Joel’s lyrics! I love the way that classical music can work its way into modern music to be just as relevant today as it was when it was originally written.

3 thoughts on “Billy Joel: Sonata Pathétique

  1. You might enjoy Billy Joel’s first album of classical music. When I asked him why he didn’t record it himself, he said he had broken the pinkie on one hand in a motorcycle accident many years ago. “Besides,” he went on to say, “I’m just a ham-fisted rocker…I needed a pianist.” Here’s one piece from the album, performed by Richard Joo.

    • I do – and I have it. Fantasies and Delusions is a wonderful album – needs its own post though! Great – now I’m really itching to see him in concert again. Would love to see a performance of his classical album though. I wonder if he’ll ever write another one.

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