Music can be intensely evocative and palpable, eliciting tears when I hear certain songs–taking me back in time, leaving me happy, sad, uneasy, or resolved, and awakening images I hadn’t thought of in years. I was astounded while listening to a CD set of BEETHOVEN The Complete Sonatas RICHARD GOODE when I found an uncanny likeness between what I heard in the three movements of Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Opus 13 (Pathetique), and my own anxious and fitful struggles with burgeoning issues of time, purposefulness, life, and death.
A composer creates a transcription by taking an original score, for instance, a piece created for a violin, and adapts the score for a different musical instrument, say, a cello. Maestro Goode’s masterful playing of Pathetique drew me into the substance of the music, inspiring me to transcribe Beethoven’s work, not for a different musical instrument but rather, for the instrument of my voice. In the Appendix (of my book), I summarized the organizing structural elements of this story and its alignment with the sonata.
The Voice of Music in Experimental Writing
Light streamed into my loft through north-facing windows, and classical music whispered in the background as I sat at my desk, staring at my laptop, waiting for illuminating prose to spill onto the screen. I was disappointed with previous attempts to write my account of events that occurred a year earlier, and with the flick of a finger, deleted one draft after another while saving only a few of the vignettes I’d written. Attempting again, albeit, with some ambivalence, I sought inspiration, yet not a single cohesive thought came forth. My mind was in a muddle. Click the image to read more…
Transcribing Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No 8, C minor to COOKING FOR HER EYES
I structured this memoir as Beethoven structured his Piano Sonata No. 8, C minor, to ground my story in a way that inspired me most—through music…
Click on the image of the score to read more
The last piece I played on the piano was Bach’s English Suite #2 in A minor. In addition to practicing it over, and over, and over again I’d write the score, by memory, in my music sketchbook.
A sketch by Beethoven that I memorialized in a crumpled, poured porcelain sheet I created. I’ve spoken to a number of professional musicians, and like me, they see no visible likeness to which the Symphony #5 C minor sketch is attributed.