Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Working on the Rachmaninoff Waltz from Opus 11 with two fully aware, intelligent young people has been a real eye-opener for me. Until working with these two, I always approached four-hand music from the standpoint of getting it right at all costs. Here, however, is a piece that is crafted with wrong notes that exude inebriation. It literally reels, gets blurred vision, misses the correct note again and again. The fine ears of these young people make it clear to me that this ultra sophisticated aspect of the piece is very subtly composed into it. Ironically, it is an aspect of music that cannot really be written down--it simply must be heard. How do I know that they hear it? Because they trip over its illogical passages. Listening to their errors has revealed the piece to me.

My respect for Rachmaninoff has grown enormously. So has my respect for these students and for the uniquely difficult challenge of reading aspects of music that defy notation.