January 22, 2003

Schubert's Allegretto in C Minor. Opus D 915.

3 minute recording

The Allegretto is easy to play, the tempo markings slow, and is short. How Schubert manages to achieve such haunting profundity with so little escapes me, but I think he does. In any case, I love this piece.

I'd like to relate a story that goes with this piece to give encouragement to other artists in times of self-doubt.

I recorded my first version on the 9th of January, uneventfully producing the following results.

Although I found the performance pleasant enough, I was unsatisfied: the phrasing was too inarticulate, the pedaling too crude, and the pacing impeded the flow and obfuscated the structure. I wanted to do better. Unfortunately, 30 frustrating hours of practice later, I still could not achieve the control I wanted. Exhausted, burned out, and doubting my talent, I was ready to give up.

Fortunately, a lesson with Peter revived my flagging will. He gave me some fresh ideas to try. The thing that helped the most, though, was his simple affirmation that playing any piece well, even one like this, is hard. Sometimes, an affirmation like that is all we need to keep going. A day later, on the 22 of January 2003, I recorded the piece again. I was delighted and relieved to find that I liked my final recording.

Form of the piece.

Schubert specifies a number of repeats in this piece. For your convenience, the form is the piece, including the repeats I take, is:

Aa beautiful melody in minor.
B1is a Bach-like canon.
B2Pause for breath (a measure of rest).
B2resumes the melody but breaks off into the climax.
Cis a new dance-like tune.
Dis an elaboration of C but with resolution.

Recorded on 22 January 2003 in my home.

Filed under Piano