Tondichtung

The German Tondichtung has several names in English. There’s the literal translation of ‘tone-poem’; there’s the slightly more musical ‘symphonic poem’ and finally there’s ‘programme music’. It’s music that tells a story; and, while composers have from time immemorial been attracted to ventures into the mundane by imitating the sounds of the natural world (birds, […]

Lazy bones?

There are people who, through some flaw or other in their personality, acquire a bad reputation, a reputation which then proceeds to dog them throughout history to the detriment of several other sterling qualities: one such is poor Anatoly Lyadov. He wasn’t poor, not in the pecuniary sense, anyway. A scion of a well-to-do St.Petersburg […]

The thief of time?

No, it’s not procrastination I’m thinking of, it’s Rachmaninoff. Tempo rubato translates as ‘robbed or stolen time’ and is the performance practice of slowing down or speeding up a phrase in music, mostly without any indication from the composer that such tempo alterations are required.  For the classically minded it’s known (pejoratively) as ‘pulling the […]