The Lovely Month of May: Schumann op. 48 no. 1 revisited

June 4, 2017

By way of saying farewell to the month of May, I decided to take advantage of a certain flexibility in the process of translation from German to revisit and reevaluate my post from a year ago on Schumann’s song “Im wunderschönen Monat Mai”. How much do I agree with myself? How has my theoretical outlook changed?

Interestingly, the answer to both questions seems to be “quite a lot”.

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My new edition of Reger’s solo violin sonata op. 91 no. 7 : now on IMSLP!

January 31, 2017

The violinists are the worst…I can’t tell you the number of students, violinists that I’ve had who said “Yes, I will learn the seventh sonata by Reger. I will have it on my next recital.” Never.

David Diamond

As of now (more specifically, earlier this month), it will perhaps be at least slightly easier for some of those violinists to follow through, because there is now a free edition available on IMSLP of the work I assume Diamond was referring to: the seventh of Max Reger’s Seven Sonatas for Solo Violin, op. 91.

(Of course, the phrase “seventh sonata by Reger” is hardly unambiguous, even when restricted to the realm of the violin: Reger had earlier published a collection of four solo sonatas as his op. 42, and in addition there is also his series of sonatas for violin and piano — a genre also commonly called “violin sonata”. Thus, in addition to op. 91 no. 7, “seventh [violin] sonata by Reger” could conceivably mean op. 91 no. 3, op. 103b no. 2, or even op. 42 no. 4. However, op. 91 no. 7 seems the most likely candidate.)

This rectifies a long-standing omission in the IMSLP catalog, which since 2011 has included the first six sonatas of op. 91, but, mysteriously, not the seventh, thereby tantalizing visitors who came in search of the famous Chaconne.

The Wonderful Month of May

May 31, 2016

This isn’t the post I promised, but I didn’t want to let the month of May pass without sharing my thoughts on a rather timely Schumann song, the first of his Dichterliebe cycle, “Im wunderschönen Monat Mai” (“In the wonderful month of May”). One or two readers may even find this song particularly timely.

The score can be found on IMSLP. Here is a recording sung by Christine Schäfer, otherwise known for intense twentieth-century repertory such as Berg and Boulez.

Now, I could almost get away with claiming that this was the post I meant to write, and that I had simply mixed up Schubert and Schumann. It’s arguably easy to do: their names share an initial syllable, they’re both German Romantic composers of…a bunch of things, including piano music, Lieder, chamber music, and symphonies; and Schumann was one of the first to “discover” Schubert (notably the “Great” C-major symphony), on one occasion writing one of his own works with a pen that Schubert had allegedly used.

But no one would actually believe me if I claimed that.

Not even if I pointed out that this post, like its would-have-been-predecessor, is also going to feature Schenker prominently. Even more specifically, is going to feature my disagreement with an analysis by Schenker.

All of that being, of course, a coincidence as timely as this song, and the other main coincidence of this soon-to-be-past month (about which more…next month).

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Mathemusicality is back

February 29, 2016

It’s February 29 again, which means it’s time to announce that this blog is being resurrected. Stay tuned for a post on Schubert (and Schenker).

Imminent resurrection possible

February 29, 2012

Continuing a tradition begun last February 29, I am posting to announce that…I may start posting again.

(The hiatus was a bit longer this time, of course. But perhaps the coming non-hiatus may be also.)

I would be picking up where I left off, more or less.


Every continuous function bounded implies compact

February 18, 2009

It occurs to me that it might be nice to post solutions to miscellaneous mathematical exercises at least once in a while.

I saw this one on a chalkboard earlier today; evidently the room was serving as the venue for an analysis class. It’s exactly the sort of elementary exercise that usually takes me a day to solve, if I’m lucky. But this time, I’m happy to report, I managed to figure it out in just a few minutes (while ostensibly listening to a lecture on something else).

Problem: Let U \subset \mathbf{R}^n be such that every real-valued continuous function on {}U is bounded. Prove that U is compact.

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Bach by popular demand…

December 31, 2008

Well, as requested, at any rate…

Here is an analysis of the first two measures of the B-flat major Prelude from WTC I.

Warning: this analysis breaks some of the rules (well, one in particular) of strict Westergaardian theory as expounded in ITT. In fact, it does so twice (at two distinct stages). Exercise: see if you can identify the rule that is broken, and give a convincing rationale for relaxing it.

1. The basic structure:

2. Segment the final two beats of the first span with: an incomplete neighbor in the bass, a complete neighbor in the soprano, a borrowing from the bass in the alto, and a rearticulated suspension in the tenor:

3. Anticipate the G in the soprano:

4. Borrow from these structural lines to create the texture of the passage:

5. Delay the fourth half-note:

6. Elaborate further (the operations being, I hope, clear):

7. Elaborate still further to obtain the passage as Bach gave it to us:

Happy New Year!