Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I Hear Therefore I Change My Technique

Having once heard the dialogue between different instrumental resonance as a structural fact in the works of Schumann, Brahms, et al, I knew I would have to change my technique so that others would hear it as well.

The first time I did so was in the Schumann G minor Piano Quartet, the one in which the cello has to tune the C string down to B-flat during one movement so as to resonate together with the piano's black keys. Cellists do not enjoy this as they are used to hearing all of their strings resonate sympathetically with that lowest fullness.  Changing it to a B-flat means that they cede that resonance to the other sound, the piano, and specifically to the piano's black keys--the closest the piano gets to the fullness of the open strings of stringed instruments.

Then there is the strange passge in all flats.  String players cannot find the sound of all those flats, so foreign are flats to the resonance of their instruments.  I found that if I play that passage with complete finger legato, no breaks, and NO PEDAL, the resulting clarity of piano resonance draws unto itself all of the string sound, unifying and rebounding it back into the string cases, thus creating an aura of oneness that is unique in the repertoire.

A guest violist with whom we played that piece when I was still playing chamber music on a regular basis, said that he had performed that piece hundreds of times in his career but never until then experienced that passage as meaningful.