Sunday, May 12, 2013

Support the Blog

Every once in a while I invite you to support this blog at where there is a subscription option.  PayPal accepts payment in any currency.  Why not do it?  We would prove that the public attaches value to meaning.  What is wrong with that?

You might well ask why not accept advertising on the blog?

My very first published article appeared in 1972 in The Piano Quarterly, a high-class music magazine, no longer with us.  The magazine was supported, of course, by ads, mostly from music publishers.  My article, called "The Teacher / Performer" was missing a critical sentence which went something like this:"There is no reason why we should be teaching junk."

That turned me off commercially backed publication for quite some time; most of my subsequent articles were in Music For The Love of It, a newsletter for amateurs published by a dedicated soul in Berkeley, California.

I invite you to demonstrate that an alternative system can work.

The Natural Horn and Mozart's Tonality

Again about Mozart in C minor: Ever since my son has taken up natural horn I have been deeply aware of the impact of that instrument on the sound of specific tonalities.  In last night's concerto performance he was playing one of the two horn parts and I paid almost as much attention to those parts as to the piano--perhaps even more, I confess.

The concerto is in C minor, the horns in E-flat--the natural horns, that is, the instruments he heard in making the orchestration. E-flat, the powerful fundamental of the horn in that key, is not the tonic tone.   A pianist hearing that power coming not from the tonic would have a different "take" on the piece, inevitably, it seems to me.

In the rush to get all tones and all tonalities to be uniform modern instrument design has made certain things completely incomprehensible, except to the curious artist willing to confess to problems that usually go unidentified because they manifest as malaise and we are trained to pay no attention to any form of discomfort.

I cannot help but wonder how different the pianist's interpretation would have been if she had heard this imbalance, which is all too smoothly disguised with modern instruments.