Sunday, August 24, 2014

A musical offering or surprise in a central Virginia "mall"

During my field trip into central Virginia Saturday to see the Monroe Institute, I found a news story in the Nelson County Times about a special program of string or violin lessons for fourth and fifth graders, which I’ll pass along here.

I found some old sheet music in the Blue Moon Antique Mall and Book Store in Lovimgston, and picked up a used copy of the Piano Concerto in A Minor by Robert Schumann.

This work is often paired with the Grieg Concerto.  When I was a teen, the Schumann at first did not impress me as much, as the finale did not offer the gradually journey into light (with grandiose "chills and fever"), with major keys only at the end.  Instead, the finale here is entirely in the Picardy A Major, very fast, ¾ time, the score looking simpler than it is. The Finale comes across as an extended Schumann "miniature".  The fugato development is nic.  
The first movement, though, is more subtle than Grieg’s, even if the first theme sounds “gentle”.  I recall a rainy night in my junior year of high school when my mother was driving me over to the music teacher’s house for an evening class where I would play a movement from my own sonata (kids didn’t drive as early in those days as they do now) when the first movement was playing on the car radio, a Ford Galaxie, that sweet passage, where the key signature drops to A-flat major, came though.  Yhe cadenza starts on p. 41 of the score, and it’s interesting that for the coda, Schumann drops from 4/4 time to 2/4, to make a point. 

You report what you see, and hear.

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