Friday, February 14, 2014

Visualizing Schumann's Waldszenen

I am working on Vol II of the Tone Perception Visualized series documenting early development of my technique for visualizing my perception of several musical elements.  The subject of Vol II is Schumann's Waldszenen, a late cycle for solo piano.  As the efficacy of the method relies a process, its sense is revealed in the doing.

I set out to make a third (perhaps fourth) visualization of Eintritt (Entry), the cycle's opening.  Since first working on this music in 1993 I have played it repeatedly and am now preparing to perform it when the book comes out.

It is unbelievable how lazy the ear becomes when faced with detail that borders on the incomprehensible.  Why such deviations in articulation?  Why such inconsistency of phrase length?
How much I miss in the pursuit of a musical common sense that this music seems to exist to transcend.

A few weeks my son found 3 other natural hornists and we gathered some men's voices to read another late work of Schumann: Jagdbevier.  Since experiencing that highly graphic setting of the forest as scene of a primordial meeting of man with nature, of dark with dawn, of danger with conquest, I find throughout this piano piece references to hidden horn calls, to wanderings as if in a musical half light in which connections are unclear and the imagination must take over.

A work of great genius.