In my previous blog, I talked about my piano teacher during my high school years, Mr. Mlynarski. His name reminds me a little bit of Superman’s troublemaking acquaintance, Mr. Mxyzptlk, the prankster I remember reading about in the comic strips when I was a kid.
The Pathetique Sonata was the first really difficult piece that he taught me. Actually, I never got to this movement – not sure why! But I did spend an inordinate amount of time practicing the first movement. It was not until later in life that I learned to appreciate the beauty of the Adagio and decided to learn it. Actually, I didn’t so much “learn it” as I would return to it from time to time because I thought it was such a nice piece, and play through it once or twice, and so almost memorized it by default.
The motif that you will hear in the first few bars of the Adagio is memorable and emotive; it seems as though the great composers never ran out of great melodic material. I read once that there are no new ideas left for musicians to write – with all the songs that have been written, we’ve exhausted all available melodies, and everyting is just a repeat of something that has been written already. My reponse? Poppycock! There are millions of songs waiting to be written that will be unique and compelling. And as usually happens, the cream will rise to the top – really great songs and melodies will find a way to be heard again and again.