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Op. 44 bis No. 4

 

 

 

 

 

Valse Op. 44 bis, No. 4 in E minor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dance of Shadows

 

In a collection of six short waltzes, differences—whether large or small—are significant. Valse No. 4 has the only minor key episode in the entire opus. And its the only piece in which the middle section doesnt go to the subdominant key. Indeed, its no accident that Sor placed it near the middle of the opus—contrasting with the smug waltz that preceded it and the rollicking waltz that follows, this is the dark cloud that crosses an otherwise sunny sky.

Consider also that the E minor melody has the narrowest range of any of the six waltzes. Other than one leaping high note, it spans less than an octave, and has a repeated falling third that gives it a somber and obstinate air. To heighten this moody obsessiveness, I take all the repeats.

With all this in mind, it seems wrong to give this piece a clipped, rhythmically taut performance. Instead, restraint and rounded edges are in order. Even the childlike innocence of the middle E major section seems better without having too much made of it.

Goya4

Goya: Self Portrait (1817)

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Tom Poore © 2005. All rights reserved. Contact me at augustineregal@yahoo.com