Thursday, February 08, 2007

On The Arpeggione Again

I just received a note by Dr. Osamu Okumura, the president of the Arpeggione Society in Japan. What a pleasant coincidence that I'm actually working now on Schubert's most beautiful Arpeggione Sonata.

It's amazing how the only currently existing piece of music written for this instrument has piqued the curiosity of so many people around the world, to the extent of re-constructing this obsolete instrument. If I have a chance, I would certainly love to try out this instrument and learn to play this masterpiece this historical instrument. I had written an entry on this instrument when I was first seduced by the immense beauty of this work. Thankfully, the range of the arpeggione that is used in this work falls just barely within the range of the guitar that I am able to try my hands on such a gem and incorporate it into my repertoire.

No groundbreaking compositional techniques or strange harmonies used, but just simply charming. It isn't like Bach whereby I'm continually discovering new things about the works, but somehow, I can never get bored listening or playing this work, probably due to its seamless blend of a wide spectrum of emotions in such most poetic manner...

I'm still in the midst of studying this work. Analysing the entire harmonic structure and texture of this work. A not-so-easy task with the arpeggione being an obsolete instrument. But by studying his works which he had composed in the same period of his life, it does help me understand his style in this Arpeggione Sonata a lot more thoroughly.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I do believe that for most people, at some point of time or another, a random piece of music would start playing in their minds, probably as a subconscious reflection of what they're currently feeling.

I never could quite truly understand the value of the first movement of Bach's Sonata No. 1 in G minor for solo violin, BWV 1001, until tonight as I was walking home. Incidentally, this movement started playing on my mind just as I was on the way back earlier. Of all the music which would most possibly start playing randomly on my mind, this piece would probably rank as one of the least probable ones.

If you had asked me what I thought about this Adagio movement before today, I could never be able to comment more than the fact that it was deeper than what I was able to appreciate of it. A powerful and expressive improvisational touch with an unpredictable yet deeply emotional melodic line. I had naively believed that this movement would have been better composed with a more formal structure in order to retain its emotional value while preparing for the magical Fugue that comes. (Big talk from someone who doesn't have any gift of composition) Just twenty minutes ago, I was made to realise that this movement could never have been better.

In this movement, the unpredictability of the melody really is the eventual creation of one who laments the vulnerability of life to uncontrolled external circumstances. Such rich harmonies, conceived ahead of his time, further intensify the feeling of helplessness. Those numerous trills that scatter themselves all over the movement gives one the feeling of an unnatural suspension in mid-air. Not the sort of certain trills which resemble the sounds of nature, of birds singing. And not to mention that some of their resolutions aren't completely smooth and doesn't make one feel at home. And seemingly, after a most spiritual journey, one finds himself back on the same spot as he has started. Spending our lifetime walking in circles?

Somehow, I have a sudden craving to hear some Erik Satie. An atmosphere of a certain sadness and indifference... ending up in a completely foreign place at the end...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Oldest Existing Music?

Check this out.

For most of them who stubbornly believe the harmony was non-existent until nearly 2000 years ago... Wouldn't the most spiritual harmony of nature itself inspire humans to make music with harmony right from the first day of creation? And a 7-note scale existing even then...