Jeff Dunn asks of the mystery melody:
>1. Who wrote it, when?
No idea. I'd guess sometime in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
It's obviously indebted to Chopin and Brahms. Perhaps it's one of those
"anachronistic" composers of the 20th century, like Medtner.
>2. Which interpretation do you like the best?
In this case, it's a question of lesser of two evils. The first seems
to me a little crude, although it moves well in the large. The second
subjects the tune to a taffy-pull, but the dynamics and balance are
subtler. Somebody ought to tell the pianist that rubato loses its effect
when constantly resorted to, as hollandaise sauce loses its wonderfulness
when you try to drink it by the quart. Of course, this is just a snippet.
Perhaps in the context of the entire work the second makes more sense.
At this point, wary of disagreeing with Scott Morrison, I prefer the
first, rough as it is. Schmalz makes me a little queasy.
>3. Why or why not does the melody speak to you?
I agree with Scott here: too predictable a melody, although the
accompaniment is very accomplished.
>4. Is melody even that important or necessary nowadays?
I like a good tune myself. But it's hardly a sine qua non of musical
goodness. I think coherence is far more important than melody alone.
>5. What are your all time favorite melodies?
Vaughan Williams: Kyrie from Mass in g; Stravinsky: Dance of the
Adolescents from Le Sacre; Stravinsky: the trumpet tune from Petrushka;
Mozart: "Te decet hymnus" and Recordare from the Requiem; Dvorak: Carnival
Overture; Ravel: "Pavane" from Ma Mere l'Oye; Debussy: "Reverie"; Thomson:
"Tyger! Tyger!" from 5 Blake Songs; Rorem: "The Lordly Hudson"; Barber:
"The Coolin" from Reincarnations; Tchaikovsky: Serenade in C, first
movement; Schumann: "Alles gehen, Erd', zu Ruh" from Spanisches Liederspiel;
Beethoven: Elegaischer Gesang; Schubert: B theme, first movement, String
Quintet; Poulenc: Stabat mater (just about every movement); Mahler: Die
Revelge and "Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht; Weill: Kanonen-Song from
Dreigroschenoper; Schoenberg: Friede auf Erde ... And the hits just
keep on comin'.
But it's not the tune, normally, that makes the effect of a piece of
classical music. It's what the composer does with it that counts.