Thursday, October 31, 2013

That Minuet, Again!

Once again my young adult student and I enjoyed an extraordinary level of insight into the Menuetto of Beethoven Op. 10 # 3, this time involving the articulation of two specific bars.  Different in the two hands, the right hand seems, as the student, unaware of the depth of his insight, put it, "not to move," while the left extends across the full two bars preparing a clear phrase ending.

Rendering those subtleties audible would constitute a terrific reason to practice at the same time as it would epitomize the entire minuet: Paying such careful attention to detail, to the tension underlying interweaving inner voices, reveals the essence of the movement.

Our anti-minuet bias may be rooted in our having had to learn minuets while children.  Bo-ring.

I will never forget sitting beside a quite known avant-garde pianist at a children's recital at Mannes.  Some poor boy was banging the bejeezus out of a Haydn minuet.  "Can you imagine," remarked I, "that teachers are still giving children assignments like that?"  (I, who do not enjoy a reputation as an avant-garde pianist, begin all my students with 20th century music --I wouldn't dream either of visiting minuets upon them or them upon minuets.)

Her reply: "That's my student."