Tuesday, November 26, 2013

More on Words: Their Affinity With Notes

I have been thinking a lot about Leonard Michaels' Nachman Stories.  Doing so has improved my Mozart playing by encouraging me to notice every single word, not taking any one of them for granted; and to consider always the story behind the story.  Who is this man?  What is he not revealing?  What aspect of myself is critical to the meaning of these words?

Last night I played Mozart's late sonata in F, K. 533 and K. 494.  Huge piece in every respect, it is monumental and intimate, dramatic and confiding, looking forward and contemplating the past; most dramatically, its magic hinges on the difference between rising and falling.  Does it go up or does it go down?  This is often the most difficult musical question to answer.  Nowhere more dramatically ambiguous than here.

The same applies to beats:  Is this an upbeat?  If so, to what?   What is this rest doing here?  Where does the phrase start?  Where is the resolution?

Very often what looks at first glance to be a repetition of material previously played turns out to be variation in the light of all those legitimate, usually unasked, questions.