I’m not sure Southam was referring to a specific piece in her Remembering Schubert. But one of the things about which intrigues me is that it was one of Schubert’s unassuming accompanimental figures stuck in her head, rather than one of those famous tunes. It’s from this Alberti-ish pattern of arpeggios that the piece gently evolves. I can picture Southam enjoying a Schubert lied—say Die Taubenpost—alone at her piano, at first imagining the singer’s melody before realizing that the humble arpeggios have their own narrative.
The behind-the-scenes work for this video included re-engraving the Southam score from scratch; the score I got from the Canadian Music Centre was so poorly laid out that I found myself completely unable to figure out which notes were supposed to go where (I have no doubt Southam’s handwritten manuscript was clearer). The challenge here is making the rhythmic spacing consistent while retaining the detailed voicings Southam indicated—the moments where accompaniment becomes melody.
Before, L; after, R
I find myself doing this kind of re-engraving of other composers’ music more and more, whether it’s to save space on my screen, make an abbreviated short score or cue sheet, or simply rearrange things in a way that makes more sense to me visually. The process is also helpful for learning the music; one tends to notice different things about a score in the process of transcribing it, particularly the various ways composers use slurs, articulations, and repeating patterns.