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Graham Johnson's puns

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 Hugh
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This is somewhat off-topic for a website focusing on streaming music because what follows a list of quotes from Graham Johnson's marvellous booklets accompanying the Hyperion Schubert Edition. I'd often chuckled while reading his notes but it was only half-way through volume 36 that I started writing down his bons mots.

Vol 36
 
p 63
The music suggests the modes without being modal. The soldier's old helmet is certainly not a la mode.
 
p65
the Graz seems infinitely greener in the Leitner settings
 
Vol 37
p2
... the composer's life like that of the hero of Die Schone Mullerin ended in midstream
 
p3
Louis Bieder Meyer
 
pp15/16
it's amazing that Schindler did not attach himself to the up and coming piano virtuoso who might thereby have become Schindler's Liszt
 
p41
Only a clot blocking the veins of inspiration prevented the composer from finishing this song at a stroke.
 
p46
thousands of composers have given the piano an aquatic role, but here Schubert achieves a high-water mark.
 
p69
(in writing about Abschied, with its cantering pony tempo)
"... the important point-to-point is ..."
"It is pointless to lock songs into a stable tempo after the hoarse have bolted."
 
p87
(re the apotheosis of the barcarolle)
other beautiful love songs "somehow miss the boat"
 
p88
"he would sooner skirt the challenge than challenge the skirt"
 
p89
"The music is indeterminate and grey ... based on repetitions of cells. ... [its creation] must have exercised the grey cells of the composer"
 
p99 
"..  the apparently unmotifated tierce de picardie .. "
 
p106
re Die Taubenpost
"... If he remains relaxed the gambol pays off"
p107
as curious as a peeling tomtit
p108
in the home straits of his entire songwriting career
 
(Incidentally, Hyperion (and Johnson) are very generous in making their booklet notes freely available online. I often refer to them while listening. It's a wonderful place to go for background and detailed analysis of any Schubert song. As well as Johnson's vastly expansive notes I also particularly enjoy Richard Wigmore's perceptive comments on string quartets from the classical period.)
 

   
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 Jen
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😂 Brilliant!

I’m intrigued now to listen to that unmotifated tierce de picardie (and the inspiration for other puns).

And agreed that Hyperion is generous for releasing their booklets online.  If only they’d release their recordings for streaming too.


   
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 Hugh
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Posted by: @jen

unmotifated tierce de picardie

This was in the comments on Der Doppelgänger, in which the minor key cantus firmus (passacaglia) "motif" repeats more or less consistently throughout the song until the last few bars which culminate in a major chord. At the end of this tormented song (the last of the Heine sequence) this can seem enigmatic. Hence the reference to the "apparently unmotifated tierce de Picardie". Johnson notes that the passacaglia motif is essentially a self-quotation by Schubert being almost identical to the theme of the fugal passage in the Agnus Dei of his E flat Mass where the final "pacem" is set to a variant of the same theme. Hence, the postlude "could well signify a wordless ‘Dona nobis pacem’ which would explain why the matchlessly moving major-key ending of Der Doppelgänger seems to be is the only true moment of resolution and release in the entire group of six songs. ... the switch into C major for the fourth bar is one of those Schubertian harmonies which we might imagine has the power to stop planets in their courses."

Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 37 - John Mark Ainsley, Anthony Rolfe Johnson & Michael Schade - CDJ33037 - Franz Schubert (1797-1828) - Hyperion Records - MP3 and Lossless downloads (hyperion-records.co.uk) 


   
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