Schubert and Brendel

If you’re having a crappy day, listen to this:

It’s agonizingly beautiful.

Particularly poignant are the sequential passages (the first occurence of which is at 00:37) which first tonicize the “ii”, and then the “IV”, the latter via a good example of an organic and fully justified use of the flat “VII”.  This procedure is also often found in Robert Schumann’s music.  In fact, many years ago when I first heard this piece, I thought it was Schumann!

Later on, Schubert ingeniously manipulates the flat “VI” and the “N6”.  At one point the “N6” is approached in the usual cadential way, but veers off toward the flat “VI”, serving at the same time as a “IV6” belonging to the flat “VI” scale-step.  And perhaps the most unusual harmony is the minor “N6” which appears in the coda.  But it’s not simply imposed.  It’s achieved with logical voice-leading.  I hate to keep banging this drum, but it’s the easiest thing in the world just to throw strange, unrelated and unelaborated harmonies at the page and make it look like you’re being innovative.  The true test of compositional skill is whether or not one can achieve, contrapuntally, a succession of harmonies that logically derive from relationships implicit in natural (non-artificial) sources, like the overtone series.


0 Responses to “Schubert and Brendel”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: