Thursday, April 11, 2013

Generic Schubert

Is it possible to play Schubert without asking questions?  Is there a composer more deeply involved with conflict, by extension, with irony, with double entendre?

Think about it:  The lied (German song) is a treatment of essential duplicity.  The singer is one voice, the piano, another.  But which is the spoken and which the unconscious?  Is it a static arrangement?  According to the "rules" the singer has the spoken part, naturally, while the piano is in the background.  Really?  Has anyone who has ever performed Schubert Lieder bought that simplistic notion?

And it gives rise to other observations, drunk vs. sober, for example.  Schubert's music is often inebriated, not to be taken at face value because tottering on some brink of imbalance.

What does that leave us, then, by way of definition?  Our own experience of the musical moment--to recall that fine recorded performance by Maria Joao Pires I heard the other day.  Take nothing for granted.