Friday, May 3, 2013

Do I Let On That It's My Favorite?

The question of secrecy in music is very important.  Just think of the number of situations in which composers have found themselves unable to spell out exactly what they want to say in the manner in which they want to say it: in other words, having to be cryptic about it. 

Who comes to mind? 
  • William Byrd, a crypto-Catholic during a time when that meant you ran the risk of the state cutting off your head, literally.
  • Dmitri Shostakovich, an independent thinker stuck under Stalin's thumb
  • Lutoslawski, setting Polish folk songs for school children in such a way that they would learn freedom from within
These are just the first ones who come to mind; surely there are many more.

What about the performer?  How do we know about the performer's deepest identity when playing?  It is a compelling question that I can best address from my work with children and with amateurs.  If one plays so as to call attention to the parts one loves most everyone seems to "get it."

My dilemma of the moment is how to announce the repertoire for an upcoming recital that will include two of my all-time most beloved pieces.  I want the listeners to know but if I tell them it will probably only distract them.