On Russian music and throwing metronomes,
with classical music agony aunt ALICE McVEIGH
I'm not much of a pianist, but I enjoy trying! Anyway, I was working my way slowly
and carefully through Fur Elise when my husband came in and told me
pompously that I was playing it 'too rhythmically'. He said that Fur Elise is
not supposed to be played in strict time, but rather to express a lot of
emotion. Right now, the emotion I'm feeling is the desire to throw the
metronome at somebody, but Fur Elise doesn't express that at all ... Could you
suggest a more suitable piano piece for this emotion?
Well, there must be one, but I definitely agree that Fur Elise isn't it. What you want is the kind of piece PG Wodehouse famously wrote about in The Voice from the Past :
Muriel was playing the piano when Sacheverell came into the drawing room. She was interpreting a work by one of those Russian composers who seem to have been provided by Nature especially with a view to soothing the systems of young girls who are not feeling quite themselves. It was a piece from which the best results are obtained by hauling off and delivering a series of overhand swings which make the instrument wobble like the engine-room of a line; and Mureil, who was a fine, sturdy girl, was putting a lot of beef into it.
Perhaps someone more au fait with the pianistic repertoire could suggest an appropriate (possibly Russian?) work for the purpose.
Copyright © 12 September 2008
Alice McVeigh, Kent UK
(Hang on to your metronome in the meantime ...)