Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Clementi Sonata in C: Andante movement

Today I did an experiment: I had my young adult with the remarkably exact ear play this slow movement listening for how many things he could hear happening at any given moment.

It was like a miracle of artistic insight taking place before me--entirely spontaneous, entirely beautiful. Then it fell apart.  Of course, because he has no practice sustaining this kind of attention and it is hard to sustain, as is any specifically directed concentration.

He pinpointed the spot where the trouble began and we worked from there.  In the process my respect for Clementi rose yet again a few notches.  The detail!  The clarity!  Why on earth do people use this music as paradigm for law and order when it is such a rich study in how the magic of the piano works?

For one thing, every time there was a conflict between the bass note and the right hand it registered loud and clear in some misjudgment (or mistake) on his part.  This, in turn, revealed, how differently I hear when I ditch all those theoretical explanations for such things as the I 6/4 chord which is somehow supposed to merge seamlessly into the V 7 in root position.  Listened to this way, i.e., noting all the clashes between natural resonances, it quite logically prepares the dissonant cadence that ensues.

There is no substitute or shortcut for listening.