I’m now making it a goal to share some music every day on the blog, as a break and mental boost during these unsettling times. Hope this will brighten your day and help you stay well. 🙂 If you’d like to check out earlier posts, you can start here.
Today’s post features more music by Romantic-era composer Felix Mendelssohn. I’m getting into his collection of “Songs without Words”: they’ll probably take a few turns on the blog. The short videos below are both part of that collection. Each piece is around two minutes long.
I first started playing the Songs without Words when I was about eleven. My piano teacher only had me do a few of them before we moved on to focus on other things. These aren’t too difficult to play, but as I’ve gotten into them, I’ve started to see interesting challenges. Mendelssohn creates the feeling of a song – a singer with an accompanist – but instead of actually including a vocal part, he has the piano do both parts together. It can sometimes be tricky to create a clear melody over a busy but subtle accompaniment. You have to listen carefully, and sometimes “divide your brain” between the two parts.
Both of today’s pieces are gentle and meditative. The first one, in B minor, has a bittersweet, gently sad character. The second, in A Major, uses chords instead of moving notes in the accompaniment, and reminds me very much of a hymn tune. It’s not bombastic, but it’s warm and positive.
If you’d like, as you listen, imagine the “stories” behind these two Songs without Words. If they had vocal parts, what would the singer be singing about? What moods do the two pieces capture for you? As always, you’re welcome to leave a note about what you imagine in the comments. I love to read about what the music evokes for different people.
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