Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What Price Professionalism ?

Yesterday I had the good fortune to spend a couple of hours on a repertoire I haven't played for about thirty years.  It was our first meeting, the soprano and myself.  I had requested that we do Schumann lieder.  She came with the book but a look of puzzlement on her face, as if to inquire, "Why him?"

I would have had the same response of disbelief before my current fascination with Schumann and the incomprehensible.

She chose to work on Liederkreis, a cycle which she had studied as an undergraduate in music school.  Turns out she was trained, as I had also been, to deliver these songs confidently, in a well-organized manner.  But the songs are about alienation, about danger, about uncertainty.

Much of the real content of the song is clarified in the piano writing, which would have been Schumann's own involvement in the actual singing.

So artistry began to seep in more and more profoundly as she heard the accompaniments suggesting the imbalance that evokes alienation, danger, uncertainty.  How much more interesting! How much more demanding!