Thursday, December 01, 2005


Ben and I got to rehearse today for the first time in weeks, and I hadn't opened the score since our last meeting. (I know, I know). I came away a tad discouraged.
One of the purposes of this blog is to work out for myself , in writing, what I hope to accomplish by studying Dichterliebe. I told Ben that we had been working long and well, except for this hiatus, but we had been doing parallel play.
Now, I said, we have to sit down over coffee, away from the piano and really decide how we are going to perform. In rehearsal the piano is loud and the choir room very live. I can't keep up vocally and there's a lot of banging going on. We have workshopped the music and the text. Both of know what is going on here. But now we have to bring it together. I said I have to match with what limited voice I have the tone you are using on the piano. (I'll say it again. For lieder you have to listen more than you have to sing) If our attacks are going to be forceful, or tentative, or shaded let's decide that so I can color the words to match what you are doing. We'll go over the words carefully, but yikes! that's difficult here. The songs are each quite short. What moods Schumann casts don't last very long and the shifts between the bitter, the elegiac and the emphatic are quick, sudden . Very little time to prepare. And just the physical action of throwing out the text correctly is a challenge.

Ein jungling liebt ein Maedchen

The tune here recalls an Ultrabrite toothpaste commercial from the 60s.
Or vice versa, of course.
You scamper along, telling of the maiden who marries the first guy to come along-the boy is upset but it still flows until a complete shift in the last lines

Und wenn sie just passieret
Dem bricht das Herz entzwei

(It's an old story
but remains new
And he to whom it happens
It breaks his heart in two)

and you finish off with this heavy, Beethoven-esque declaration on 'Herz entzwei'
changing key in two phrases. Just the technique needed to go from Schumann to , God!, Spontini! in two phrases is formidable.

All you can do is keep workin'!
Stay tuned!