Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Quote of the Day (E.M. Forster, on Why His Poor Piano Performances Were Useful)

“These grow worse yearly, but never will I give them up. For one thing, they compel me to attend no wool-gathering or thinking myself clever here – and they drain off all non-musical matter. For another thing, they teach me a little about construction. I see what becomes of a phrase, how it is transformed or returned, sometimes bottom upward, and get some notion of the relation of keys. Playing Beethoven, as I generally do, I grow familiar with his tricks, his impatience, his sudden softnesses, his dropping of a tragic theme one semitone, his love, when tragic, for the key of C minor, and his aversion to the key of B major. This gives me a physical approach of Beethoven which cannot be gained through the slough of ‘appreciation.’ Even when people play as badly as I do, they should continue: it will help them to listen.”—E. M. Forster (1879-1970), “Not Listening to Music,” in Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)

The portrait of British novelist-essayist E.M. Forster (1879-1970) was painted by Dora Carrington around 1924 or 1925.

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