Archive for September, 2017

Simple gifts

Two simple piano pieces in A major. Short and illustrative of the key’s uncluttered character. Chopin’s Prelude in A, and McDowell’s To a Wild Rose. Coincidentally Ursula played them in succession the other day. I know she played them as intended by the craftsmen composers. I heard them entirely in B flat. Simple but exquisite gifts stolen.

Symphony concert – mixed review

The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra concert on 31st of August began with Wagner’s Tannhauser Overture. The CPO does not quite have enough strings to make for a fully satisfying sound in this wonderful music. It is in E major and I knew that it would be F major for me and it was. Wagner was diminished for two reasons, but he still managed to bring tears to my eyes as the strings scurried ever louder against the Pilgrims’ Chorus.

Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto was next on the bill. I had fun trying to learn this in my large-visioned teen years, so I know the notes, the modulations and the structure. The magnificent piano-encompassing initial chords were in Tchaikovsky’s D flat major but within four bars we were in the D major I had wondered about. Anticipated? When the striding chords re-appeared doubled, D flat was back. But again only for 4 bars. B flat minor, the key of the concerto had a hard time of it. B minor won the minor key victory. The music occasionally fluttered through flat keys in the arpeggiated sections. I rather liked the grand ending in B major.

Movement two started with the flute solo almost in D flat major. Rather a teeth-grating experience so I was pleased when my brain settled on D major, even if it was the wrong key. Thinking forward, I wondered how the D major section that followed would sound. D major, unequivocally. And what would happen to Tchaikovsky’s clever little modulation back into D flat. We went back as he had intended but not for long. The solo cello was soon sounding in D major. I ached to hear the oboe’s turn with the tune in D flat major. Pain not assuaged; he played in D in my temporal lobe.

The movement three dance was in a vigorous B minor. Fine. We had a wonderful climactic B major finish.

So Tchaikovsky is re-written on this side of the Rubicon.

But not the Dvorak 8 which followed the interval. G major, C major and G minor  (and everything in between) were all present and correct.

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