4 Trombones

PARIS1778

Paris, 2014 Arnold Schoenberg gave Rudolf Serkin an assignment. (This story is hearsay; worthy of attention, in my opinion.) Consider the opening of Mozart's A-Minor piano sonata, Schoenberg asked Serkin. What is the right instrumentation for this music, if it were to be scored for orchestral instruments? Mozart: Sonata in A Minor, KV 310 (300d) Serkin's answer included an oboe playing the upper melody line, and strings taking the … [Read more...]

Labor Management

RubinsteinIrvingPenn

Sound recordings from the first decades of the 20th century form a performance-practice treatise, documenting practices that may offer insight into music-making of earlier times. In the case of piano music, very many of these recordings are recordings of Chopin’s music. There are a lot of recordings of short pieces. (The length of one cylinder and later one “side” of a disc was around 3 minutes.) Chopin: Waltz in A Minor, op. 34, no. 2, … [Read more...]

Word

MalibranAJ

The story told by Robert Levin involved snickering Italian waiters. Bob asked quite a few Italian speakers, "What does sfogato mean?" (An Italian-English dictionary will say something like “letting loose.”) The motivation for Levin's particular curiosity was the use of the term in the score of Chopin's Barcarolle (m. 78). It's a word that doesn't appear in (earlier) piano music. Frédéric Chopin: Barcarolle In this written music, "sfogato" … [Read more...]

Matter of opinion

GalileoAJa

After several master classes at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, given by several of us pianists, a student asked me: "Isn't it all just a matter of opinion?" And after so many diverging ideas and approaches, strongly expressed, who could blame anyone for asking that question? With so many differences, perhaps opinions just seem like ... random thoughts? I told him what I believe. "In music -- or politics, or anything -- the 'best' … [Read more...]