Tuesday, July 16, 2013

If Not Analysis, Then What?

A couple of days ago I noted that the expressive shifts in vocal quality are not subject to analysis.  I'm sure that if you were an experienced vocal coach you would find yourself analyzing such shifts in the human voice.  But for the listener, the invaluable audience member, the gut response is all. 

I wonder how vivid the gut response is to piano playing these days.  I recall a couple of instances of having a gut reaction so powerful that it haunted me until I "figured it out,"  which I did, not by analysis, but by shameless imitation.  

Thinking about one such experience, that of hearing Horszowski for the first time, I was amazed to note that I recall the program he played that evening--over 50 years ago.  Bach C minor Partita, CPE Bach Sonata, Clementi Sonata in F# minor and a work by a contemporary Finn whose name I do not recall.  It might be, of course, that my memory is playing tricks on me and that I am recalling an amalgam of several programs I heard him play; but the outline is true to his programming style, as is the fact that he played works that no one else played.