Evgeny Kissin – a bouquet of composers‏

by richibi

midway in my considerations about music I
came to myself in a dark wood for the straight
way was lost, if I may paraphrase Dante for my
own purposes, I’d digressed to Elizabeth Barrett
Browning, Audrey Hepburnand others, and
forgot what I had been talking about with
respect to the development of music, but have
been wonderfully, and perhaps even karmically, 
put back on track by this correspondingly 
 
Evgeny Kissin had provided a resplendent
haven’t yet finished enjoying often, but
found among his other Internet offerings
 
 
at first I wondered about the Schubert/Liszt
connection in the written introduction to the
program, they’d been united by a forward
slash, implying that there’d been some kind
of cooperation, but I hadn’t ever heard of
those two ever meeting  
 
upon very little investigation however I found
out that Liszt had merely transcribed of course
some of the Schubert lieder, something which 
Liszt was wont to do, Liszt transcribed
everybody and everything, most famously all
of Beethoven’s symphonies, writing them
up for piano only, so that more remote areas
could also enjoy them, in often even there 
aristocratic salon settings
 
lieder are songs in German, a lied, a song,
works Schubert produced in astonishingly
great number
 
 
Liszt was paraphrasing Schubert for his own 
Lisztian purposes of course, artists do that, 
which is to say he was giving them much
more Lisztian fanfare and, not unwelcome,
I might add, extravagance, Schubert could
be pretty dry, I think, in his lieder,
uncharacteristically, even his fun ones, 
despite their being ever so eminently
 
 
und der Bach  from Die schöne Müllerin“, one
of his song cycles,Ständchen” from
Schwanengesang“, another cycle, Gretchen
 am Spinnrade“, and Erlkönigare all poems
of celebrated German poets Schubert set for
accompanied voice, and that Lizst, and Kissin,  
transform into something pretty special   
 
 
next on the program Schubert takes independent
flight with his wondrous “Wanderer” Fantasy,
opus 15, D760
 
 
a fantasy is not a sonata for having only one
movement, but note this fantasy goes through
all the motions of a sonata, fast, slow, fast, each
with its own structural contrasts, but without
any of the intervening pauses
 
so is a fantasy just a sonata without breaks, or is
a sonata just a fantasy with hiatuses, had the
sonata become a fantasy, had the fantasy
become a sonata, definitions were being
upended, then again that’s what revolutions
are about
 
before Beethoven this had been unheard of
when music hadn’t yet learned to actually talk,
mean something, Schubert, like Beethoven,
not only talks, not only narrates, as in for
 “Pastoral“,  nor either describes, as in
but actually speculates, ponders, moves 
metaphysically forward, in thrall to his
vagabond spirit much more than to his
wayward heart 
 
hence, incidentally, the more abstract, less
geographical, “Wanderer”, to compare with
for instance Liszt’s more panoramic
see also Caspar David Friedrich here for 
a close contemporary counterpart of his
in art
 
 
music has become no longer merely narration 
then but philosophy, it is finding its way like
the rest of us, and for the rest of us, to the
stars 
 
 
Bach then intervenes here with a Siciliana, a
Baroque composer in Kissin’s Romantic
clothing, but the shoe entirely fits, and
hauntingly, you’ll remember Bach was
composing for the harpsichord, which
had none of the piano’s resonance 
 
 
Brahms then returns us to a more abstruse
Romanticism, “7 Fantasies”, his opus 17,
pushes the limits of melodic continuity, you
can’t sing Brahms, you’re not even drawn to     
 
seven fantasies in one opus, incidentally,
suggests a sonata with seven movements,
with all of the permutations that have been  
suggested already for the fantasy I talked
about, it’s open season on sonatas, in
other words, and by extension their less
segmented fantasies  
 
it is the history of art 
 
 
the final piece is totally transcendent, some
incidental music from Glück, from his sublime
Orfeo ed Euridice“, one of my very favourite
operas, Orpheus approaches the Underworld
in order to retrieve his beloved bride, we are
about to enter the Elysian Fields, the actual,
original Champs Élysées, or Elysium, with
him, the moment is unforgettable
 
others have led us into the Underworld, most
notably Homer in the “Odyssey“, Virgil in the
Aeneid“, and of couse, somewhat more
recently but just, Dante in his Divine Comedy“,
even Bosch in his Garden of Earthly Delights”  
 
Glück is the one whose hereafter you won’t
not  remember  
 
 
Richard
 
 
 
 
 
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