Recordings, Transcriptions, and Arrangements from Previous Years

Der Leiermann (Winterreise)

Last updated February 2, 2023

In general, I try to avoid posting without a recording or some other creative work, but I am making an exception here on account of Schubert’s birthday which was on January 31. While the title of “god of music” probably still goes to Bach owing to his prolific output as well as the more immediate connection through his religious pieces, I think we have to contextualize the lives of both to better “rank” them, if such a thing can be done. Bach lived to be more than twice the age of Schubert and had decades of time to hone his craft, while the latter passed away at just 31. Yet I have found a similar loneliness in a few of both composers’ works, which is almost always overpowered by warmth (some have called this “empathy for the human condition”). In recent years and possibly my entire life, only a handful of pieces could elicit a reaction similar to that from reading The Young King and The Star-Child. One of them is “Der Leiermann”, the finale to Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle, performed below by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (no warmth here, sadly, only despair).

Prelude 10 in E Minor (The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I)

Last updated January 26, 2023

This is one of the more well-known Preludes from the Well-Tempered Clavier, other than the ones in C Major and C Minor, and has made appearances in possibly more than one movie soundtrack. While technically rated at the ARCT level when played together with the Fugue, I would not call this a complete success yet. The presto section should really be much faster; my version does not yet have enough of the fury the piece demands—a necessary reminder to continue working on my technique and not overestimate my progress. (“Remind yourself that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer.”)

Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

Last updated January 6, 2023

Despite its simplicity, this organ piece evokes some deep emotions, at once wistful and full of hope—“almost as if you had a glimpse of the black abyss, but were steered away from it.” I was privileged to see Yo-Yo Ma live some years ago, and his arrangement for cello, mandolin, and double bass in particular left a lasting impression on me. Some pieces really do have that effect, I suppose.
Harpsichord version, in Baroque tuning and Werckmeister temperament: