How I listen to music: Ep.1 Fanny Davies, Tempo Rubato & Chord Spreads

by Sharona on March 4, 2011

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I have recently come across this beautiful recording and wanted to share my thoughts about it.

Fanny Davies recorded Robert Schumann‘s Davidsbündler dances Op.6 in 1930, when she was in her late 60s. She was a student of Clara Schumann‘s. Her playing in my mind is of the utmost in refinement, sentiment and musicianship. I have no doubt that her interpretation is perhaps the closest we will ever get to hearing Clara Schumann’s own playing.

As this interpretation contains so much intricate detail and nuance I have decided to keep the focus on two recurring topics illustrated in the first dance (there are 18 dances altogether):

1. Tempo Rubato (see below)
2. Chord spreads

I just found this widget that allows me to include written annotations as music is played in real time. Such a wonderful tool!

I hope you enjoy the music, the playing and the commentary, and find it somewhat educational too. I would strongly recommend this recording to anyone.

Album: Fanny Davies Plays Schumann
Label: Pearl [9291]

Helpful tips on how to use the software

Click on the play button to start. You can pause the music at any point by clicking the button again. If you move your cursor away from the button, a time count appears. You can go backwards and forwards by clicking anywhere on the circle, or by clicking, holding and dragging the mouse to a specific point.

That’s all there is to it!

Davidsbündlertänze Op.6 – Lebhaft

Glossary of terms

Tempo Rubato: The art of borrowed/stolen time aimed at arousing emotion and affecting the soul
rit. / ritardando: Gradually slowing in tempo
Upbeat: An unaccented beat or beats that occur before the first beat of a measure. Also called anacrusis, pickup
Tenuto: to linger / to be held for the full time value; sustained
Harmonic interval: the distance between two notes of a chord
RH: shorthand for right hand
LH: shorthand for left hand

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ray April 30, 2012 at 16:20

thank you for this interesting page. The method of presentation is very useful for those of us trying to learn how to understand and write about composition


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