Saturday, January 17, 2009
I've written before about the artificial stress our society often makes when it comes to music enjoyment. To summarize, we often think we should be able to understand everything about a piece of music on the first hearing. If we don't, then there is either something wrong with us, or with the music. I was thinking about this the other day while listening to Alfred Brendel playing the first movement of Schubert's Bb Sonata. This movement is almost fifteen minutes long, and I admit that when I first started listening to it I was somewhat loathe to spend that much time on one track. When listening to my iPod I liked shorter tracks, so the variety would keep me interested. But I've listened to this movement at least 11 times according to iTunes, much more if incomplete hearings and listening to the CD are added in. These repeated listenings have allowed me to memorize much of the work, so I could sing along while doing the dishes. I had a fabulous time, following the various shifts in motives, harmonies, keys, rhythms, and general characters. Fifteen minutes of doing the dishes had never passed so quickly. So it just took patience and effort in getting to know this piece that allowed me to enjoy it to such extent.