Music this week

This week I have been studying Schubert’s 5th Symphony. Composed when he was only 19 years of age in 1816, the first movement, marked Allegro, is absolutely joyous and flows like water from phrase to phrase. I have learnt that Schubert did not mark Allegro ‘con brio’ because he did not understand there to be any other meaning to the term at the time–the con brio was inevitable! Excellent salve to these pandemic times, and interestingly was written at a time of personal turmoil for the composer as he was growing into his enormous gifts but also confronting his new adulthood and all that came with it.

I have also been practicing my arrangement of Bach’s Violin Partita BWV 1004 for 7-string guitar, which I am very pleased is as rewarding as it is difficult to play! I have found a path through the Allemanda and the Corrente, though the latter of these two is still not fully ready for public performance and the former rather fresh.

Music this week

This week I am practicing my new arrangement of the suite BWV 1004 for 7-String Guitar, and studying Beethoven’s 8th Symphony. They are both extraordinary works.

The Beethoven has no slow movement! It goes from stately to playful to regal to joyous, all in brisk tempi.

Having recently looked again at Haydn’s Sieben letzten Worte (Seven Last Words), which is almost entirely slow, the Beethoven is an amazing contrast.

I had the privilege of conducting the Haydn some four years ago back in 2016 in London, and it is incredible to see how my ears and interpretation have changed as the result of the Bach arranging that I have done in the mean time. My ability to imagine Haydn’s musical time is vastly improved now that it is colored more by the music that he knew than the music that has been composed since.