There is something that has been knocking around in my mind. I am not sure what to make of it.
We rarely use full composer names. I often hear statements like these, “What do you like better, Mozart or Haydn?” “I am playing the Dvorak.” “Mendelssohn is my favorite.” “Last year they played lots of Bach.”
There is nothing wrong with this. But it somehow gives me a funny feeling.
In your daily life you can often hear, “What do you like better Coke or Pepsi?” “I am a huge fan of Dell.” “U2 is the coolest.” A brand has all these ideas and emotions associated with it. Coke and Pepsi are more than just types of soft drink. When someone says that they like the band U2, they may be talking not just about the band’s music but also about their image and attitudes.
Ludwig van Beethoven was a person, not the word Beethoven. A person that lived about 200 years ago. He had ideas, feelings, habits, a family, a life story. How would we play his music if one day we could meet him and talk to him? If we could say, “Hi, Ludwig. How are you? I am playing your sonata right now.”
What does it mean when someone says, “I am playing Beethoven for my next concert”? Are all his pieces so closely related?
What does it mean when someone says, “I am playing the Brahms E Minor”? This refers to the Sonata in E Minor by Johannes Brahms. Should not one say, “I am playing this haunting piece with soulful harmonies and a beautiful theme at the beginning”?
Sometimes I worry that we may not play the music in the piece but rather express the brand in some way. There is something interesting in playing a piece for someone and not telling them its name.
What do you think? Is there anything to what I am saying?