Stephanie Lewis - Music & Education Talks expert

Musical Transformations

What are "musical transformations"? Watch this video to find out

In this video, Stephanie talks about "musical transformations"... what are they, and how often can we find them in the music world around us?

Released on May 2, 2018

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi all, Stephanie here, and this month's VSM get-together has been inspired by the rapid transformations that the last month of living here in northern Italy has undergone. Now, literally 20 days ago, we were up in the mountains skiing. Correction, I watched others ski on account of my bad knees. And it's now 25, 27 degrees outside. I've put away my duvet, got out my sandals. Yep! That planetary tilt of ours confirms the inevitable, transformation of our environment and therefore of ourselves.

On the other hand, transformation is essentially about renewal. The leaves on a tree, for example, turn different colors, fall, and then grow again. A child in the course of maturing alters often beyond recognition, the same person and yet transfigured. With this is mind then, I wanted to take a fun look at pieces which in some way have been transformed, renewed, or possibly ruined by their re-treatment. Now, I've only given two suggestions, shall we say, as starters because, of course, the idea is for you to get back to me with more, please. So let's get going.

Now, the first of these starters comes in the form of Beethoven's "Für Elise" of 1810. Now, I personally can't stand this extraordinarily famous piano work, probably on account of it being butchered by inexperienced hands, inclusive of my own, all around the globe, but also on account of the irritatingly frequent return to the main theme, and of course, this is the inevitable rondo form, I know, but it's not personally to my taste. Now, for some bizarre reason, the Fraternity Brothers, in 1958, took it up under the title "Passion Flower," made it even more irritating, and unfortunately influenced others such as Caterina Valente and Mina. Now, what Beethoven would have made of the "bop, do-wah-di, wah-di" interjections is anyone's guess. But as far as transformations go, I'd compare this with the genetic mutations that come about as a result of radioactivity. Put me on hold and have a look at the two Transformation links below.

Für Elise by Beethoven (original):

Passion Flower (Fraternity Brothers):

Okay. So now we're on to our second piece, which comes in the form of Telemann's "Trumpet Concerto in D major." This is the Adagio movement. And this was written sometime between 1710 and 1720. Now, this absolutely gorgeous movement with its lyric simplicity shows Telemann, for all his brokenness, paving the way for the classical period that was to follow. And Italy's Fabrizio De André, in 1966, was no dummy in spotting its beauty, essentially cribbing, as in totally cribbing, the bittersweet melody and turning it into the song, "La Canzone dell'Amore Perduto," "The Song of Lost Love." Oh, yes, love and its depressing consequences, the lyrics and translation explaining all below. For both musical versions, though, I think you'll find enough wistfulness to warrant a box of tissues. And although Telemann ultimately triumphs, at least in my opinion, you have to admit De André's done a pretty good job on this occasion. Put me on hold and compare those two pieces.

Telemann's Trumpet Concerto in D Major (original):

Canzone dell'amore perduto by De Andre):

So there you have it, my two suggestions to get you thinking of your own musical transformations. And of course, please then share them with me and the rest of us here at VSM. Ciao, ciao.

De Andre's Lyrics:

Ricordi sbocciavan le viole
Remember the violets blooming
Con le nostre parole
To our words
"Non ci lasceremo mai, mai e poi mai"
“We will never part, never and never again”

Vorrei dirti ora le stesse cose
I’d like to say those same things
Ma come fan presto, amore, ad appassire le rose
But as with quickly fading roses, so too love
Così per noi
And also for us

L'amore che strappa I capelli è perduto ormai
Love that once tore out hair is now gone
Non resta che qualche svogliata carezza
All that remains are a few listless caresses
E un po' di tenerezza
And a little tenderness

E quando ti troverai in mano
And when you find in your hand
Quei fiori appassiti al sole
Those sun-faded flowers
Di un aprile ormai lontano
From a, by now, distant April
Li rimpiangerai
You'll regret them

Ma sarà la prima che incontri per strada
But the first one you meet on the street
Che tu coprirai d'oro per un bacio mai dato
You’ll cover with gold for an ungiven kiss,
Per un amore nuovo
For a new love
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Fulvia * VSM MEMBER * on June 11, 2018 @6:26 pm PST
Hi Stephanie,
somehow I missed this video of yours last month. Just like you, I have always been annoyed by the Für Elise and never bothered to really learn it! Yesterday I returned home from a great trip to Cleveland, OH, where I went to listen to the International Piano Competition for young pianist, ages 12 to 18. Overall they are incredibly capable, most were Asian, as usual. Two of the judges were from Italy, and I got to talk to them. They also were giving master classes in the morning, and I ended up helping them with some minor translations. At the master classes, one oriental boy was only 9 years old and played Chopin! Well, let's say that his fingers played the notes of Chopin, however to me the overall sound was "robotic" and Marco Sollini had a hard time to make that very young boy play with feelings, etc. It scares me to think how much children are pushed and forced into spending endless hours at the keyboard. I would like to hear your opinion! Thank you and enjoy your time in Italy. In a "previous" life, I spent several winters skiing in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Smiley Face Now I have both hips replaced :(
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