Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The subject of the morning was the Little Fugue in Schumann's Album for the Young. It starts in A - not a simple key on the piano: too many sharps and so off-balance! Suddenly its primary stabilizing tone, E, turns to an E# and we are in dangerous territory where nothing is reliable.

This prompted speculation on the term "fugue" which, according to the dictionary, means chase. Who is chasing what? I had the sensation, listening today, that here Schumann is teasing the player into all kinds of embarrassing tonal and instrumental situations.

Nothing theoretical about it.