Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Quart into a pint pot

In Search of Beethoven, seen on hard seats in Ross-on-Wye parish church hall, lasts 2 hr 19 min, and covers LvB’s life and fifty of his major works. So, typically, four bars of the Spring Sonata fades to voiceover. But good stuff from the pianists.

Ronald Brautigan. (1) Plays two bars of dense complexity LvB showed to teacher Haydn. “I can’t play that, I just can’t play that.”
(2) “Why is Für Elise so popular?” Plays first line. “It’s not one of his best pieces. You play it two or three times and it gets irritating.”
Emmanuel Ax. (1) “Beethoven is very good at repeating single notes.” Plays same note six times and, lo! the first movement of the Fourth Concerto is triggered in your mind.
(2) Plays a complicated descending cadenza from a middle sonata. “But that wasn’t how Beethoven marked the fingering. It was supposed to be played by the right hand alone. No pianist can do that. Why did he write it that way? Because he could play it with one hand and to get up the noses of those who couldn’t.”
Paul Lewis. Detail in late sonata, possibly Hammerklavier. “Here’s a 27-note (ie, quite short) passage. You might be tempted to play it as a phrase.” Does so; sounds lovely. “But no. Look here on the score. A four-note phrase within those 27 notes.” Plays it; quite different. “It’s meant to hint at fatigue. Very hard to play.”

Barrett Bonden. The movie ends with the Grosse Fuge string quartet. This demanding but deeply satisfying work was the seventh or eighth LP I ever bought. As I played it my brother (a Charlie Parker fan) sat on the stairs and listened. “What was that?” he asked, astonished, afterwards

Novel progress 10/3/10. Ch. 16: 5525 words. Chs. 1 - 15: 67,628 words. Comments: Hatch emerges.