Monday, August 31, 2009
Your rubato is too predictable
The 24-hour classical music public radio station didn't get enough funding and had to move to a weaker signal. I can no longer just turn on the radio anytime and expect Bach or Shostakovich. Which is why the other night when I heard a Beethoven sonata on another public radio station, I was elated.
But only for a few seconds. My musician brain started to take command.
"No, no, no, you're being too stodgy with this passage. It is forte and has sforzandos but you still need to move the phrases forward, not weigh them down with this tempo plus the extra heavy touch."
"Again? Are you sure? You've already played this phrase in this exact manner of rubato in the Exposition, and you think you should do it in the exact same way? Has nothing happened in the Development section? Does the modulation cause no change? How can you treat it as if the music has stayed static?"
"That ending. Exquisite." Sigh in contentment
Critical: yes. Annoying: yes. Able to enjoy the music I love: only at the very end.
That's what devoting years of you life to studying something does; it sharpens your eyes and ears, it favors your critical-thinking, it spoils the easy enjoyment you've had when you first fell in love. But it also provides the delight of those rare and subtle moments when excellence is achieved that you wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't put in all those years in study.