Picking Favorites

Of all the songs in my repertoire, the one I play best is the Suzuki Book Two Bouree by Handel.  I’m not sure why it comes out better than the rest. While it’s true that I now play it a lot because I like playing pieces that I play well, I’m not sure how it got to be my go-to can-do piece.

Depending on whom you ask, the bouree either comes from Handel’s Oboe Sonata in F (HWV 363a) or, as I previously wrote about and posted a link to, his Flute Sonata in G (HWV 363b).  This morning I’ve listened to recordings of both, and they are indeed the same piece of music, one in F and one in G.  I play it in G, so it makes sense to me that the Suzuki book sources it to the flute piece.  Perhaps the first website I linked above and go to for Suzuki information is drawn to “A” versions of pieces.  Presumably the As were written first, after all.  My bouree is the fifth of six segments in the piece, regardless of the key/instrument you want to listen in on.

Interestingly, Wikipedia reports that Handel was well known for using the music of others in his compositions – in his day I guess they called it “borrowing.”  I wonder if transpositions such as this “B” sonata count as borrowing, or if borrowing of one’s own music counts as borrowing at all!  It’s difficult to think of transposing pieces into different keys and labeling them for another instrument as creative composition, but if you’ve got a buddy who needs a piece for the flute and you’ve got a great one gathering dust for the oboe then why not?  Perhaps the transposition was not even done by Handel himself.

A or B or Q, I keep identifying pieces that I think I’ll work up to be my better pieces.  The first one to make that list was the Book One Gavotte by Gossec.  I also loved, from Book Two, the Brahms Waltz and the Beethoven Minuet.  So after over working for a minimum of a year now with each of these options, what do I play best?  The Handel Bouree. The “Bach” Minuets.  Also, possibly, The Two Grenadiers by Schumann.

So for whatever reason, I don’t yet get to pick which songs sound the best for me.  Just working on them more than other pieces will not make it happen.  I think at the heart of the matter it must be an issue of level of difficulty.  In ways I don’t know how to articulate, the pieces I want to play best are just harder than the ones I can and do play best.  I suppose I should just be glad I have plenty of pieces I can look forward to making sound lovely.

I’ll definitely keep working the Gossec and the Beethoven.

Thanks for reading.


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