Wednesday, February 24, 2010

So much of European music works because it engages the listener/player in a push/pull conflict: "I want to hold this sound," the unspoken wish of the player, directly conflicts with the composer's indication that it be released and in a certain specified manner.

Last night I heard a recital of songs by various 19th and 20th century French and German composers. Conflict is at the heart of the accompanied song literature. If the pianist follows the singer there is no drama; they must resist one another. If "I want to move ahead" is the desire impelling the vocal line, the pianist must assert "I will not let you move without resistance."