by Daniel Hathaway
Skip Sempé was in rare form in Thursday morning’s harpsichord class. In Lully’s Chaconne de Phaëton, he noted that there are three possibilities of playing in triple meter: beat two can be on time, late, or early, and beat three can be long or short, depending on the second beat. He confessed that he didn’t really read music until his 20s or 30s because things didn’t make sense to him on the page. And in discussing a Rameau Sarabande, he entered a long monologue about orchestral vs. opera conductors, the latter being more effective at accompanying voices and dancers.
He also noted — in a discussion of playing difficult trills — that he had stopped admiring effort over results (he related that to grant writing), and had less than complimentary things to say about the traverso, though he suggested trilling like a flute would. [Read more…]