The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168339   Message #4067171
Posted By: keberoxu
03-Aug-20 - 05:28 PM
Thread Name: my first performance in thirty years
Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
I wonder if any animated cartoon film artist has given
the Disney Fantasia treatment
to Schubert's theme and variations on "Die Forelle" [The Trout].
Maybe it has happened already and I am unaware?
I suppose I ought to look up Schubert at the IMDB website.

The very young colleague who plays violin in our ensemble
took one look at Variation I, and got downright indignant!
In this one, the piano takes the song melody/theme,
and the strings either support or ornament the music.
The violinist, in this one, is required by the composer
to scoot their fingers up the neck practically to the bridge
in order to make the shrill squeaky little trilling ornaments.
What this has to do with sound effects for a bucolic fishing scene
I could not say, so I wondered myself:
are these bird calls? are they mosquitoes?
The indignant violinist, who has a dry sense of humor
and a deadpan delivery, quickly volunteered an opinion:
the little fishy has been caught and is already on the hook,
and that god-awful violin noise is the fish, shrieking for help!

And that's only the first of five variations.

It is in Variation III that I meet my personal battlefield,
in which the piano takes off like a jet plane,
and streams of thirty-second notes fill the piece from start to finish. This is all in the highest registers of the keyboard,
where one's playing is fully exposed and every mistake can be heard.
The theme, in this Variation, is taken up by the cello and string bass; and, especially with that double-bass hamming up the melody,
it sounds less like a little trout than a sporting leviathan,
a whale splashing around, say, off the island of Dominica in the Caribbean, where sperm whales like to raise their young.
While that commotion in the piano sounds less like a babbling brook with a little trout in it, than it does
like a school of dolphins performing acrobatics at sea. It's hilarious. I think that Variation alone should have an animated cartoon.

Then comes Variation IV, and WHAM! We dive into the minor key
and play this loud fast melodramatic theatrical-sounding thing.
And Schubert, at this point, cannot leave well enough alone,
and he starts going through all these switches from minor to major and back to minor, and changing keys every four bars or so ...
until we come back to the babbling brook and the trout.