Beethoven’s “Tarnhelm” variation

We have seen how Grieg formed an entire harmonic vernacular for a short piece of music, Klokkeklang (Bells), and how a performance of this piece might be informed by these peculiar characteristics. Here I examine how Beethoven does something not dissimilar in his 20th Diabelli variation. The many differences between Klokkeklang and the Diabelli Variations need not be elaborated […]

Ravel’s Ondine in disguise

The last two entries dealt with how Schumann built his phenomenal F-sharp minor sonata “struggling” throughout with the genre of the sonata. The very precepts of the genre—sonata form and the balance between movements—were called into question by Schumann. This week, however, I will look at perhaps the very opposite of that: how another great […]