Reflective account on my learning through Part Four

There have been some important output for me during Part Four. Let us see some details.

I had thought period instruments would be better for playing the music of their time. They certainly can provide with a different, and thus enriching, experience of music and/or of a specific piece/composer. That does not mean it is necessarily more enjoyable or better in absolute terms: I presume that, if it were, then all old music would be played as much as possible with period instruments (especially when a conductor or an orchestra has the financial means to be able to afford it!)

There are many more Classical composers than we can easily name, even if they are not as appealing at first as Mozart or Haydn. Listening to some isolated pieces by Cimarosa or Mysliveček, one wonders why they are not that famous—but when one listens to a wider selection of works, they seem to be missing something when compared to Mozart. But then, there are not so many in the whole of History who could compare to him—this being said by one of those for whom Mozart is an acquired taste: I still enjoy more the way his music was written than the sound of it.

Watching Amadeus after a lapse of maybe 20 years confirmed me in my idea that, like in Physics or Literature, in order to enjoy something, one sometimes needs to put some distance for a while, learn more, mature more.

Reading a score is still very difficult for me. Each score becomes easier each time I go again over it, but new scores seem always a big challenge. It is possible that I am still not practising enough. However, it is always worth the investment of energy and time.

On the side of self-reflection, Amadeus first put me down (I made the mistake of comparing myself to Mozart), but it also made me think that, as an amateur composer, I am not at such a bad point: I can hear music in my head, I can write some of it, that capacity is improving over time—and, as a matter of fact, it got boosted during my work over this part, not only when listening to pieces from the Classical period, but also after my first listening of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. All this may sound far from humble, but funnily enough, I have become more aware of other people able to listen to music in their heads around me.

It is always possible to take a traditional form in Music and refresh it, combining elements like modulations, timbres, rhythms, to produce works that are as enjoyable as the old ones, but more relevant to listeners that may be looking for some unknown Classic. Prokofiev’s modulations (three tonalities in 2 bars, or sudden ones to a distant tonality, according to L. Bernstein) made me feel confident when I modulated one piece from F minor to A major—although it also brought me to wonder about the possible implications for performers.