b Riding East: November 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Evening in Transylvania I

Bela Bartok wrote 10 Easy Pieces for piano. "Evening in Transylvania" comes from this set, #6 I believe. We listened to a Bartok recording of this piece in Dr. Barth's master class.

My previous piano teacher, Mr. Adolph "Ushu" Baller, knew Bartok. I think he and Yehudi hung out with Bartok in New York in the early 40's, after Mr. Baller escaped Austria (via Budapest and Turkey), and prior to Mr. Baller and his wife Edith moving to the bay area. I wish I could talk more with Mr. Baller about Bela. And I regret not studying more of Bartok's music with Mr. Baller. I remember Mr. Baller once told me that he knew two words in Hungarian: "I do".

I want to set this to a song cycle. Here is the first attempt, but in chamber form following the previous prelude #14 with flute, clarinet in b-flat, trumpet in C, two violins, viola, and one cello. I have several ideas for expansion here, but need to button up this iteration for classes tomorrow. The piece is yet another experiment in polytonality.

Evening in Transylvania, first movement

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Prelude #14 v2

Giancarlo and I have spent some time reviewing this piece. He offered a number of suggestions. I've taken another cut and believe the changes are positive.

Prelude #14
Prelude #14 Score

I'm starting to work on a new song cycle, influenced by Bartok. Hopefully I'll find some time to develop the piece over the next few days...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Prelude #14

Still working on this one, an assignment for G.C. Aqui. which is due tomorrow. I remain focused on church modes and counterpoint. This prelude is phrygian. G.C. dictated a subject for the exercise.

I listen to the piece now and it sounds like the E minor (tonic) is in fact the dominant. Perhaps this is simply my tonal ear training. Or perhaps the sustained pedal tone on E creates the tension around E, and you want to resolve to A. One of the reasons I like the church modes is the ambiguity they create around a tonal center.

I'm completely swamped this week as I'm teaching CS202 @ Stanford tomorrow evening, and then leading a presentation in Jonathan Berger's seminar on the Schumann Fantasy. Of course I have voice and piano lessons tomorrow as well, in addition to choir practice in the evening. Hmn...

Prelude #14
Prelude #14 Score