Jonathan Biss’s quiet, pretty encore ultimately Wednesday’s Boston Phil occasion, a real Second musical, was no. 1 of Beethoven’s Six Bagatelles, op. 126. “Chips of marble from the workshop,” Hutcheson calls the three units of bagatelles, and generally they’re even substantial chunks. However many of those make ideally suited encore items. I even questioned, casually, if an encore may very well be long-established out of no. 10 of Beethoven’s 11 New Bagatelles, op. 119? This have to be one of many shortest precise compositions by anyone that really ends in a double bar: eight bars repeated, with a four-bar coda. It’s marked Allegramente and lasts roughly 16 seconds — I timed it. Nothing even by Anton Webern is that succinct. I’m not saying that anybody ought to attempt to play this as an precise encore, however little question sooner or later somebody will. (Maybe including Cage’s 4’33” within the course of.) No. 11 of the Opus 119 set is a number of bars longer, nonetheless lower than a web page, but it surely have to be memorable; Max Reger made an infinite orchestral piece out of it, his Variations and Fugue, op. 86.
I’ve heard quite a lot of totally different encores, particularly at piano recitals. Usually these shall be brief items more likely to be very acquainted, and I’ve heard Schumann’s “Träumerei” from Kinderszenen a number of occasions; generally they are going to be lesser-known. I heard Maurizio Pollini, within the Nice Corridor of the Musikverein in Vienna, enjoying a program that was half Schumann and half 20th century, together with Schoenberg’s Opus 25 Suite. For an encore he performed Schoenberg’s Six Little Items, op. 19, as a set, however they’re all very brief, the overall lasting about three minutes. (Somebody within the seat behind me exclaimed, “Haben Sie eine Ahnung, was battle das?!”) In 1969 one in every of my college students took up my suggestion that she embody, for an encore after her piano recital, Ravel’s Waltz à la manière de Borodine. It lasts slightly greater than a minute, and a fellow professor, sitting subsequent to me within the corridor, was completely delighted: “What a good encore!”
Generally the encore is meant to be lighthearted, and even humorous, to offset the intense heaviness of a big concluding work previous. I bear in mind at an AMS nationwide assembly when a chamber group specializing in Med-Ren music provided an encore referred to as “The Golden Goose,” written for his or her group by a professor who claimed to not like Med-Ren. It was for viol, lute, and voice, in a pointillistic atonal fashion à la Webern, but it surely sounded effectively and was warmly applauded by the musicologist viewers that had simply been listening to Machaut and Dufay.
My recollection could also be incomplete, however when the Lamoureux Orchestra, below Igor Markevitch, got here to Symphony Corridor in 1960, I believe I bear in mind three orchestral encores (after a live performance that included a Gounod symphony, Berlioz’s Fantastique, and Ravel’s Daphnis II): “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “La Marseillaise,” and the primary motion (March) from Bizet’s L’Arlésienne, plus a brief English-language greeting of thanks from the conductor.
The encore thought principally suggests brief moments. However not at all times. After a superb recital in Sanders Theater by Marc-André Hamelin, I heard him play the primary motion of Schubert’s final Sonata in B-flat main, D 960, for an encore — quarter-hour and even longer. There’s additionally a narrative which may be apocryphal: that Artur Schnabel, after enjoying a recital in Philadelphia’s Wanamaker’s Division Retailer, and aggravated by the viewers’s rustling packages and sweet wrappers, selected an epic encore, Beethoven’s full Diabelli Variations, op. 120, with repeats — about 56 minutes. That even outdoes a heroic recital (I’d guess about 120 years in the past) that Hutcheson tells of attending, by Eugen d’A Majorlbert, consisting of the final 5 sonatas of Beethoven (opp. 101, 106, Hammerklavier, 109, 110, 111; complete 146 minutes); d’Albert added the Appassionata (28 minutes) for an encore.
Russell Sherman had the thought in 2001 of enjoying a whole recital of encores, some 17 items, from Mozart’s weirdly chromatic Minuet Okay. 355a and Beethoven’s op. 33 no. 1 (see my memory HERE ) to a lot greater objects, together with Chopin’s A-flat Main Ballade and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody no. 17 — however then he additionally favored Liszt (I’d have quite heard Nuages gris for an encore). One wag, who didn’t get what he wished for, demanded Beethoven op. 111 as an encore to the encores. The whole program (together with inventive director David Deveau’s essay) from the Rockport Chamber Music Competition is HERE.
His eclectic program set me to recalling one in every of my very own publications: “Largely Quick Items: An Anthology for Harmonic Evaluation,” revealed by W. W. Norton in 1992, 416 pages, comb-bound, containing 117 objects by 50+ composers, however now out of print. The pedagogical intent was to make obtainable items for concord and orchestration programs that may very well be studied full in a single class assembly, or for one each day project. The gathering by no means bought effectively, however plenty of academics wrote to me that that they had discovered it very helpful. And this in flip factors to the important worth of the temporary encore: to pay attention the concertgoer’s total consideration for a minute or two, encompassing a whole second of musical thought — and there may be absolutely a studying worth in that.