Weekly Report, #1. MIT vs chorales
Have you heard of MIT Challenge? Scott H. Young originally set out to learn full MIT computer science 4-year BA degree curriculum in a year, completely without institutional support (and he made it, by the way). While my goals are placed in other domain, I have been working sans typical institutional support as well (I am a student of this noble institution, however it’s a collective of dedicated teachers rather than a standard music school), and have decided to use Mr. Young experiences and provide myself with a means of regular work monitoring.
So, “Weekly Report” will be a series of weekly (shocking, right?) posts where I will track my self-study endeavours in four categories which I deem pretty important to building a proper conducting-and-stuff body of knowledge. It is of course nothing short of impossible to write down every minutiae, work, article, or activity throughout a week, but I’ll do my best to disclose the most substantial ones.
Score Study: a short chorale from 1630s based on the “Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod” hymn (written by Paul Stockmann and also used by Bach on several occasions) – I’m doing it as a primer on choral conducting, to gain deeper understanding of this type of texture, challenges and technique required. I’ve also dabbled in the sea of notes which is Scherzo from Mahler’s 5th. It’s way out of scope, as far as things to learn nowadays go, but curiosity has led me to embark on a journey to see how Mahler works out things in this tremendous score. Contrasting Ländler and Viennese waltz, sections with highly irregular proportions, interweaving quasi sonata form with double trio scherzo (may it be Schumann’s influence?) and, of course, those lovely horn solos dominating many themes. Hell of a schooling.
Piano: I’ve just sold my old piano and I’m in the middle of getting a new compact one for my rather compact flat, so, temporarily relegated to the Land of No Instruments, I’ve been polishing fingerings to Haydn’s (attrib.) piano sonata in E-flat major, Hob. XVI:16.
Music Theory/Harmony: this week consisted mostly of various runs through the basics.
Reading: Eric Frederick Jensen, Schumann. Great, detailed biography of one of the finest German composers of 19th century and probably the most underestimated orchestrator ever . Jensen does the grand job of judiciously following complete approach to writing a composer biography: giving an account of Schumann’s life (drawing on the most primary sources – diaries, letters, household books, etc.) as well as strict musical analysis of his works (in separate chapters, which is also a nice touch). Most recommended.