Friday, May 20, 2011

M. Uchida plays Schubert Piano Sonata in B-flat, D.960


“It sometimes seems to me as if I did not belong to this world at all.”
- Schubert


"I find it hard to account for the intensity of the spiritual response that the slow movements of late Beethoven and late Schubert produce in me. Why is it so much greater than that aroused by overtly religious music? That’s just me, I suppose. (After all, while I’m quite often exposed to the sublime works of these masters in the concert hall, my chances of hearing great music in church, especially a Catholic church, are pretty slim.)

But here’s a interesting question. Do the religious convictions of musicians add an extra dimension to masterpieces? Ronan O’Hora is a committed Catholic. I’m sure no one listening to him play D960 would be able to work that out, yet knowing it somehow elevated my experience of the performance.

Then there’s the case of the Japanese baroque conductor Masaaki Suzuki, whose still incomplete cycle of the Bach cantatas is strongly influenced by his own conviction, as a Protestant Christian, that he shares in the divinely mandated mission of JS Bach to spread the Gospel through music. And here I’m certain that you can tell the difference: Koopman and Gardiner are equally fine musicians, but it is the audible reverence of Suzuki’s cycle that lends it true authenticity.

Anyway, these are just disorganised musings written late at night after a tremendous recital. Any thoughts?

From here.


So lovely it made me cry a little. This is Heathcliff music, Emily Bronte music. Music to listen to when sitting in a chapel out in the hillside, alone with God.

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