Archive for October 19, 2010

The Prelude

Posted in Music with tags , on October 19, 2010 by telescoper

Too tired and too depressed today to write any more about tomorrow’s impending announcement of budget cuts, and probably too busy tomorrow with tutorials and meetings to write anything as it unfolds, I thought I’d take it easy tonight as far as ye olde blogge is concerned and post a bit of music by way of a prelude to the carnage.

Straight away I thought of the perfect musical introduction. This from Frederic Chopin‘s famous Preludes, Op. 28. The one I’ve picked is No. 20, in C minor, sometimes called the Funeral March. I suits the mood, but I also think it’s a wonderful composition anyway because it’s so brief, and apparently so simple, yet somehow manages to ask so many questions in the listener’s mind. Is it a comforting blanket of enfolding darkness, or a bleak expression of foreboding and despair? Does the sudden, unresolved ending speak of optimism or oblivion? What is it in these few simple chords that endows this work with its unbearable sense of tragedy? And what on Earth possessed Barry Manilow to use it as the introduction to Could it be Magic?

Anyway, here’s a version I hadn’t heard until today, by Ivo Pogorelich. It’s slower than many versions I’ve heard, but then it is marked Largo and the subdued final chord makes it clear what this musician’s answer is to at least one of the questions I listed above.

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