I have recently gotten into a discussion with a friend on Rachmaninov’s  third piano concerto…in an attempt to save face, a necessity with my Korean background, I delayed the discussion with somewhat unsuccessful banter, and so in the subsequent attempt to make a valid comeback I youtubed the concerto with a performance by Rachmaninov himself, recorded in 1939. My appreciation of music is extremely subjective. My limited piano and singing training does not permit for the rich vocabulary found in academic music appreciation, and on guitar, I still compose with G C Em and D. Oy Vey!

However, my own human frailty aside, I started thumbing through my old favourite pieces. My teenage favourite, Chopin’s Polognaise Heroic. The one I fell in love to in 1997 with my brother’s headphones followed by Dvoraks deeply emotive, from the very gut, cello pieces. Then my university awakening, Martinu’s flute trios which are rhobust and bold, like eating all your favourite things at once, and finally Mr Infidelity, Debussy’s elegant Claire de Lune…which I rediscovered in Korea… in a way, such an obvious piece of music, yet so alluring. Now, listening again and again to the first part of Rachmaninov’s (my obvious favourite)… I am aware of how layered it is. How he fools us into believing we have a hold of it, and then runs off again with the listener barely keeping up. An illusive dream…with the listener stumbling over the rich landscape trying to grasp a hold of it.

Even Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina can only paint one picture at a time. If only I could write like that in words… in such layers… I mean yes, there is subtext, but to write in the same kind of complexity. How does that narrative translate into language? I suppose that kind of layering is possible in theatrical representation, but will the reader/ audience follow as much as a composer can pack into a single piece of music? Must explore this exiting theme…

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