Saturday, October 01, 2005

C'est moi

A few days ago I posted on my preference for playing Bach over listening to Bach. Later that day I remembered, albeit somewhat vaguely and largely because I enjoy Schumann's piano music, something from Roland Barthes' essay on Schumann in his book The Responsibility of Forms. He writes:

"Schumann lets his music be fully heard only by someone who plays it, even badly. I have always been struck by this paradox: that a certain piece of Schumann's delighted me when I played it (approximately), and rather disappointed me when I heard it on records: then it seemed mysteriously impoverished, incomplete. This was not, I believe, an infatuation on my part. It is because Schumann's music goes much farther than the ear; it goes into the body, into the muscles by the beats of its rhythm, and somehow into the viscera by the voluptuous pleasure of its melos: as if on each occasion the piece was written only for one person, the one who plays it; the true Schumannian pianist -- c'est moi."[emphasis mine]

If one were to insert the name Bach in place of Schumann in this passage, it would nicely capture my own sense and experience of Bach's music.

1 comment:

nobleviola said...

I couldn't agree more, especially about Schumann - as a chamber musician, I think to the performances/rehearsals of the Piano Quintet that I've taken part in - where we've tuned the opening chords of the quintet (which go by quite fast) and discovering the wonderful harmonies which just fly by the ear, yet when you take the time to tune and balance them, you discover this wonderful chorale!