Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Many moods in a melody

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In the first three minutes of today's piece, you will get introduced to variety, massive variety.

Le festin d'Esope by Charles Valentin-Alkan is a singular theme surrounded by various styles. Moods of love and hate and anger around the same tune. You will identify this tune very early, and you will recognise it again as the music plays along. This process will sharpen your ear to sound.

You will see how the same child can be adorned in different clothes.
What this will do for you is help you identify in music, a main tune, and understand how 'things' play around it. You will even wait for the main tune to come back after the playing is done.
In time, you will understand the moods.
Say - 'This time the mood was angry, the keys were pressed harshly' and then - 'This time around the music leading to the theme was playful, the piano keys were spared the punches'.

The title translates to 'Aesop's feast'. Aesop's fables had animal stories and possibly, the variations have something to do with the various animals.

I find this work very witty. Starts directly, as if to suggest this is going to be a measured journey, and then pulls punches throughout, ending abruptly as if to say -- it's over, now go. It's like being lost in the maze and finding respite when you come back to the starting point, and then getting lost in the maze again.

Alkan was a French composer and pianist.
The genre of music is 'etude' -- a short composition designed to be difficult so that the player can show off his technique and better it. This one fits the bill, doesn't it?

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