Thursday, October 20, 2011

Music: From My Perspective

Music has colors. Music has shape and texture.

I can't believe the difference it makes when I can get that concept across to another musician.

Recently, I talked about how the piece, "Syrinx," (by Debussy) can end. It is a very abstract and Impressionist piece, and starts out rather coldly -- kind of silver gray. Thin and metallic. It widens out to a greenish silver, more fluid than flat. Then it dips into a rather hot sensuous orange (where the low triplets are). It swirls in on itself, almost repeating, but not quite -- but it's so swirly, it's difficult to tell if it's same or different. Then it gets fiery and red and very jagged (at the high point). It's narrow and has a thick, plastic skin. You can't puncture it.
Then, the narrow silver gray focus of the beginning is reborn but in a new form. It's now smoky and diffuse and gray. Undefined. Misty. The sun sets on the piece, and the empty gray becomes night.

Another piece, the 3rd Mvt. of Sonata by Taktakishvili, is great for interpretation.

It begins brightly, busily. It's in 6/8, and leaps around from high to low and back. It's a child who is well behaved by the grace of God only. You KNOW it's gonna be up to something soon. It leaves tacks on the teacher's chair.
This child has a diabolical side, but charmingly so. It's brainy and quick, but temperamental. Abruptly, in the middle, it is in a deep, imaginary Grimm's-Fairy-Tale forest, where it's worried about the Big Bad Wolf. It hides, it runs, it plots. The Wolf creeps and smirks and idly leans against a tree trunk, waiting to be noticed.
Then, just as rapidly, the kid is back in the kindergarten classroom, high on sugar from the birthday cake. Up, down, back up, all around. The child gets hyper-focused and repeats the same word Over. And. Over (this is the pianissimo high Cs repeated over the piano's melody). At long last, the horrible child wears out and falls into an exhausted sleep.

This is what happens in my mind as I play and as I teach.

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