Saturday, February 9, 2013

Listening for Variation

Preparing Haydn sonatas is a daunting task: so much wit, so much condensed content.  We are taught that Beethoven was the master of variation.  I am not so sure but that Haydn wins in that category.  Just this afternoon I was rehearsing a "simple" 8-bar opening phrase in 2/4.  No two measures were alike.  How many playings through did it take for me to recognize this?  What can I do in performance to make this level of ingenuity palpable to the listener?

I have the same tendency as everyone else, which is to listen with some body part reliably marking time.