Music for ending the pursuit of happiness calls to mind the
popular metaphor of the butterfly, which eludes capture only to settle on the
shoulders on those who would respect its freedom. The music of Franz Schubert
seems to invert the usual major=happy/minor=sad dichotomy of tonality. In his
works---heard in this morning’s Gathering Music and Interlude—episodes in major
keys seem to belong to the terrain of unbidden dreams and mirages, while
sections in minor keys represent the anguish of wakeful consciousness.
In his first Canción y danza (Song and Dance), Federico Mompou calls to mind the ambiguities of chasing after love as a vehicle for happiness. The composer quotes a popular Catalan folk tune (“La filla del Carmesi”), the refrain of which cautions, “Those who lack love crave it, while those who have it spurn it.”
The works of Debussy performed in the Musical Meditation and Parting Music are both based on the pentatonic (5-note) scale, often associated with Asiatic and other indigenous musics. The scale—which can be recreated by playing the black keys of a piano---contains both major and minor triads, and seems to vacillate between both modes, resisting easy classification and requiring “acceptance” of the ambiguity.
What does striving in music sound like? Listen to young CUUC
member and my piano student Wesley Miller in Liszt’s “Sonnetto del Petrarca 123”
in this morning’s Opening Music, and consider the words of Petrarch’s poetry,
read by Rev. Meredith, which inspired the work.
Read on for programming details, and stay tuned for spoken introductions.
Gathering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Sonata in Bb Major, Op. Posth.
I. Molto moderato
Canción y danza No. 1
Opening Music: Wesley Miller, piano
Sonetto del Petrarca 123
Bruyères (Heather) from Préludes, Book II
Moment Musical in F Minor, Op. 94, No. 3
La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair) from Préludes, Book I