The Appassionata

In the clip Wilhelm Kempff plays the first movement of the sonata.

Maxim Gorky recorded that Vladimir Lenin once said, “I know the Appassionata inside out and yet I am willing to listen to it every day. It is wonderful, ethereal music. On hearing it I proudly, maybe somewhat naively, think: See! people are able to produce such marvels!” He then winked and added sadly: “I’m often unable to listen to music, it gets on my nerves, I would like to stroke my fellow beings and whisper sweet nothings in their ears for being able to produce such beautiful things in spite of the abominable hell they are living in.”

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck,  has said that his film was inspired by the anecdote that Lenin loved the “Appassionata” but refused to listen to it because it deterred him from the Communist revolution. (As we know the film tells the story of a Stasi agent who has a moral awakening when coming into contact with music and art.) The characters in the film even discuss the Appassionata/Lenin story.


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