Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two revealing quotations from a day's teaching, both in response to my questioning why it is worth the trouble to work in extreme detail on "easy" passages:

"Because it is so much more interesting to listen to."

"Because it is so beautiful!"

Who heard it? They did.
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.