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Celebrate National Moon Day with these five moon-inspired classical pieces

A full moon over a city
Thula Na
A full moon over a city

July 20 is National Moon Day, commemorating the day astronaut Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Many composers have written about the moon and connect themes of love, nature and the soul to this celestial body. Explore those themes through these classical selections.

Throughout time, many have been struck by the beauty and mystery of the moon. Though some see it through a scientific lens, others are inspired through the arts, resulting in brilliant and ethereal music for us to enjoy.

Clair de lune by Claude Debussy

Clair de lune, French for "moonlight", is titled after a poem written by French poet Paul Verlaine. The poem describes the soul as a landscape of music played in a minor key under the light of the moon. This piece is also featured in the 2008 movie classic Twilight.

Ein kleine Nachtmusik by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Ein kleine Nachtmusik, German for "A Little Night Music", is the nickname for Serenade No. 13 in G Major, K 525, which is a serenade for two violins, viola, cello and double bass. Meant to be party music, this serenade is light and trivial.

“Moonlight Sonata" by Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor was dedicated to his 16-year old lover and student Countess Giulietta Guicciardi. It was only until the 1830s when the piece received its nickname by poet Ludwig Rellstab, who thought the first movement was like a boat floating in the moonlight.

"Song to the Moon" (Rusalka) by Antonín Dvořák

"Song to the Moon" comes from the opera Rusalka, the Czech equivalent of "The Little Mermaid". The water nymph Rusalka sings to the moon in want of her human prince.

"Mondnacht" by Robert Schumann

A part of a series called Liederkreis by Schumann, "Mondnacht" is a poem by Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff set to Schumann's ethereal composition.

Lauren Zoller is an intern for Classical KC.
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