*Emerson String Quartet with Mstislov Rostropovich
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I was listening to the Adagio from Schubert's String Quintet in C Major* today, telling Eldest Child that this was one of my favorite works. She shares a love of classical music, unlike the rest of the Bieber-loving bunch. It made me think about my experiences with this movement. One time I found myself singing the second cello part with four friends in the upper hall of Eastman as we worked on a Schenkerian analysis for class. The first time I really listened to it I was driving from Wisconsin to Ohio. When the minor dominant appeared in the b section of the first part, I nearly drove off of the road, thinking it was a mistake. Now I know to expect it, and to recognize that it is part of a transition to a new key. And today I realized that when the same minor dominant occurs in the third part, it feels very different. Rather than sounding disruptive, the chord is welcomed even as it transitions in a different way than the first part. Because of the repetitions - the journey I had been on - the modulation was a perfect balance of familiar and novel that led me comfortingly to the new key. If I had listened to the third part without hearing the first and second parts, the minor dominant chord wouldn't have had nearly the same effect. And if I hadn't had the experiences studying and hearing the quintet, I wouldn't have realized this effect at all. The journey may not always be the point, but it is always necessary.