Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tonal Refraction: A Process

As I complete the written text of the second book in the Tonal Refraction series I am struck by the dynamic nature of the method: It is more a process than a method.  It arouses awareness that will not sit still but must continue to grow and develop.  The irony is that I have committed to putting the work into book form.

The work in question now is Schumann's Waldszenen, Op. 82: A late work mystifying in the extreme even in the titles of some of the nine pieces of the cycle.  What could they possibly mean: Cursed Spot, Isolated Flowers, Prophet Bird--I have no way of relating to such imagery, especially not as Schumann presents it in pianistic terms.  All I know for sure is that I play the notes recognizing that they do not behave as I expect them to.

Early on in the development of Tonal Refraction I used color to decode this work, finding its central unifying tone and tracing its structural influence through eight of the nine pieces.  In one it is conspicuously missing, but that is the one piece whose imagery is clear: Hunting Song.

How, almost twenty years later I recognize that I have not taken seriously enough Schumann's implicit invitation to treat a structural tone as an essential mystery.  How does he achieve this?  Ah!  You will have to read the book to find out.  It will be out in the early fall.  I won't keep it a secret.

Meanwhile visit the website; learn about the process.  Get in touch.