Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Unmentionable Restlessness

Like many of Rachy's other pieces, this one has grown on me (as opposed to being an immediate hit). At the first listening I never thought I would be coming back to it again and again. But alas!

Reading comments on Rachmaninoff's music on youtube, you learn a lot of music terminology and things! Never thought I would learn stuff from youtube comments. But alas!

Some people seem to think that chromaticism is from the devil, which I guess would make Rachmaninoff like the antichrist or something? I dunno.

Funny thing is, before I knew the term, what I identified in his music as wonderful "drop offs" and "sudden veerings" struck me not as discontinuous and broken, but rather wholeness, interior logic, of something deep underneath being carried along, being attended to with continuous attention; and this gives way to what others have termed the hallmark of Rachmaninoff: "the unmentionable restlessness".

Chromaticism strikes me as akin to the painter who, having established an order, penetrates further into it by setting paint over primary precisions somewhat off-kilter. For precision is imprecise. And at every turn you must turn. Ha.

But some people should maybe give a try at composing music themselves, like those who say that his music gives evidence of mental illness, and then see what they come up with, and then come back to say their retarded criticisms about Rachmaninoff, and then realize that they have nothing to say.

Anyhow, his cello sonata is more restful than restless. If you want a fine example of "the unmentionable restlessness" then listen to Piano Concerto #4 and Piano Concerto #2 and Piano Sonata #1 just for a few examples, of course. There are others.

Chow chow for now.

1 comment:

Belfry Bat said...

There's naught musically wrong with chromaticism! Serialism might be evil (an order that is deliberately opaque) and it might be craven (they wanted to program sound that wouldn't evoke anything you might ever have heard, because tradition might be dull!) and it might be confusing (they said: how could you hear the notes if you were only ever hearing melody?), but simply using all the notes available, as they suit... whyever not?