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 Post subject: 2-part invention in E major
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:56 pm 
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Below is the link to the E major 2-part invention. At least to me, the rhythmics and melody line is a bit awkward and I find it tricky to execute it well. I tried a little experiment with the repeats as I cannot believe that it was Bach's intention to play the repeats exactly the same.

Unfortunately, I make a rhythmic mistake at one spot (did it twice because of the repeat) so I guess I will have to re-record it (pretty sure that at least Chris will spot it ;)). By some reason, I did not hear the mistake until after I listened to my own recording :oops:. Anyway, perhaps someone cares to give me their view of the overall interpretation.

http://server3.pianosociety.com/protect ... lbrand.mp3

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 8:24 pm 
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The only rhythmic anomaly I could spot was the hestitation between bars 57 and 58. I guess that is what you referred to.

Many of the bars with the 32-th notes sound a bit choppy and insecure. And these are precisely the bars that make this piece so charming - I like to imagine Bach is taking a stroll and every now and then can't resist taking some cute hopping dance steps. Sounds like the sort of thing he would do. There were a couple of dodgy notes in the last 15 bars or so, but nothing disturbing. You need to look at bar 32 though, you play a F# which should be a F## (at least in my Henle Urtext it is).

Apart from that, very well done. Good clear interpretation and a nice idea to vary the repeats a little. I've always played this legato but will now experiment with detached as it sounds more lively.
I see no reason why you would need to re-record it unless nitpickers rule the world :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:52 am 
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techneut wrote:
The only rhythmic anomaly I could spot was the hestitation between bars 57 and 58. I guess that is what you referred to.

It is. I play the last not in bar 57 as an 8:th while it should be a 16:th, delaying bar 58.
techneut wrote:
Many of the bars with the 32-th notes sound a bit choppy and insecure. And these are precisely the bars that make this piece so charming - I like to imagine Bach is taking a stroll and every now and then can't resist taking some cute hopping dance steps. Sounds like the sort of thing he would do. There were a couple of dodgy notes in the last 15 bars or so, but nothing disturbing. You need to look at bar 32 though, you play a F# which should be a F## (at least in my Henle Urtext it is).

Yes I do play that and that what my score tells me. But I found that pianostreet had the urtext version for free which says F## as well. Not that I doubted you Chris but we want to see for ourself don't we? ;).
I am a bit insecure in some bars of the 32:th notes and I realize that it is audible. I have probably just practised too little
techneut wrote:
Apart from that, very well done. Good clear interpretation and a nice idea to vary the repeats a little. I've always played this legato but will now experiment with detached as it sounds more lively.
I see no reason why you would need to re-record it unless nitpickers rule the world :wink:

Well, I have had a tradition to put up many not so well played pieces so I thought that I should try to complete this set and at least be satisfied myself.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:00 pm 
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Sounds good to me, rhythmically and soundwise!

The only thing I have a bit to niggle a bit (something to niggle is always), are those 32-th notes (only left hand), they come here and there a bit tenacious. But who has such hands like Bach - it is said, he could equally trill fast and even with every hand every finger, even with feets on organ pedal...

Keep on with your project to go for all inventions!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:34 pm 
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MindenBlues wrote:
But who has such hands like Bach - it is said, he could equally trill fast and even with every hand every finger, even with feets on organ pedal...


where did you read/hear this? Quiet frankly, I think that is impossible, even with millions or billions of practicing trills. Just look at the anatomy of the fingers...there is more strength in the second and third finger than that little tiny finger, just because the connected muscles are bigger..... :roll:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:05 pm 
I've played that invention myself. It certainly is among the more challenging of the inventions, rhythmically speaking. The last section in particular took some pretty careful practice to get right.

My only realy criticism of your performance is that it seems to lack any real expression, particularly with dynamics. This piece is full of great places to be expressive. You seem to have just played all the right notes in the right order and at the right times and that's about it. You should really try and use dynamics more. Just because Bach didn't write any dynamics or that the instrument he was writing for was inable to create dynamics (or at least a great variety of dynamics or gradually changing dynamics) doesn't mean that we shouldn't take advantage of our modern day pianos to enhance Bach's music. Try doing a kind of terraced-effect where you do one section at a low volume and then begin the very next section forte. Also don't forget that you should give shape to your phrases. This piece is very beautiful when performed expressively.

But it is sounding good. Keep it up.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 6:01 am 
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MindenBlues wrote:
Sounds good to me, rhythmically and soundwise!

The only thing I have a bit to niggle a bit (something to niggle is always), are those 32-th notes (only left hand), they come here and there a bit tenacious. But who has such hands like Bach - it is said, he could equally trill fast and even with every hand every finger, even with feets on organ pedal...

Keep on with your project to go for all inventions!

Thanks you and I have a bit problems with the left hands 32:ths as they but from coming out a but fast also sometimes requires a more difficult fingering that for right hand.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 6:07 am 
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DarthDidious wrote:
I've played that invention myself. It certainly is among the more challenging of the inventions, rhythmically speaking. The last section in particular took some pretty careful practice to get right.

Yes it is a lot harder than it sounds. For example, it is much easier to play the 8:th in F -major in tempos much higher than my recording of it.

DarthDidious wrote:
My only realy criticism of your performance is that it seems to lack any real expression, particularly with dynamics. This piece is full of great places to be expressive. You seem to have just played all the right notes in the right order and at the right times and that's about it. You should really try and use dynamics more. Just because Bach didn't write any dynamics or that the instrument he was writing for was inable to create dynamics (or at least a great variety of dynamics or gradually changing dynamics) doesn't mean that we shouldn't take advantage of our modern day pianos to enhance Bach's music. Try doing a kind of terraced-effect where you do one section at a low volume and then begin the very next section forte. Also don't forget that you should give shape to your phrases. This piece is very beautiful when performed expressively.

But it is sounding good. Keep it up.

I play it pretty consistant and do not really like Bach interpretations that moves around too much dynamically. From p-mp-mf is good while I do not like to use forte or higher (and not pianissimo).
But my recording hardly go anything but mp. I have been experimenting with playing gradually piano with left hand and opposite with right hand as for example in the very beginning. I will likely re-record it and perhaps experiment a bit more.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:38 pm 
No I'm afriad I disagree with you when it comes to dynamics in Bach. To outright forbid yourself from ever playing forte in Bach just doesn't seem right to me. I'm not talking liszt-ian fortissimo chord-crashing, but just a full, strong forte. I mean that's what the word means anyway, "strong". Not "loud". Especially when coming to the emotional high-points in his pieces, and even more especially at the cadences during those moments. I attended a master class recently where a student played a Bach Prelude in which he would be crescendoing as he approached the cadences, but then immediately as he arrived on the new chord he would diminuendo almost instantly. The effect was very anti-climactic, and the instructor made a point of telling him to extend the crescendo out right to the arrival on the new chord. In fact he quite humourously described it as like saying: "I'm gonna give you a cadence...I'm gonna give you a cadence...I'm gonna give you a cadence...no I'm not.

That's my feeling when it comes to dynamics in Bach. The Piano's namesake comes from the fact that it is able to create such incredible dynamic contrasts, and not using that ability just because you're playing Bach is too me not using the medium to its fullest potential.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:08 pm 
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That is what is great about playing Bach. Nobody can tell you what to do and what not do to. One can just guess how Bach would have played on a piano. There are many "Baroque polices" who believes themselves to know how to play Bach and other baroque composers and I am definitely not one of those. I just do not feel in my heart that his pieces ever need much use of dynamics as they are musically so perfect.

According to my view, too much use of dynamics moves the focus too much to the sound of the piano rather than adding anything musically.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 6:53 pm 
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That is what is great about playing Bach. Nobody can tell you what to do and what not do to. One can just guess how Bach would have played on a piano. There are many "Baroque polices" who believes themselves to know how to play Bach and other baroque composers and I am definitely not one of those. I just do not feel in my heart that his pieces ever need much use of dynamics as they are musically so perfect.

According to my view, too much use of dynamics moves the focus too much to the sound of the piano rather than adding anything musically.


I disagree, quite adamantly too, but to each his own I suppose.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 6:11 pm 
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Only a remark regarding the discussion how to interpret the inventions. There is a hint from Master Bach himself about the manner he liked the Inventions to be played. He wrote it as preface to the Inventions, it is written in very old and long winded German language:

„Aufrichtige Anleitung,
Womit denen Liebhabern des Clavires, besonders aber denen Lehrbegierigen, eine deütlich Art gezeiget wird, nicht alleine mit 2 Stimmen reine spielen zu lernen, sondern auch bey weiteren progreßen auch mit dreyen obligaten Partien richtig und wohl zu verfahren, anbey auch zugleich guten inventiones nicht alleine zu bekommen, sondern auch selbige wohl durchzuführen, um allermeisten aber eine cantable Art im Spielen zu erlangen, und darneben einen starcken Vorschmack von der Composition zu überkommen.
Verfertiget von Joh: Seb: Bach. Hochfürstlich Anhalt-Cöthenischen Capellmeister“


I try a short translation from this old german language (but my english is not the best, unfortunately):

With this it is shown a distinct art to the lovers of the piano (clavier), mostover the students eager to learn, not only to play with 2, but with further progress to play with 3 different voices properly. Foremost the purpose is to get a cantabile art of playing in order to get a stronge taste of the composition.


Sounds pretty proud to me, JSB knew about the little jewels...
Since Bach used the word cantabile together with "foremost" I am pretty sure that he wished to put lots of expression into the playing. However, regardless what the composer liked, the other thing is what the interpret likes - both should be respected.

Quote:
Quote:
But who has such hands like Bach - it is said, he could equally trill fast and even with every hand every finger, even with feets on organ pedal...


where did you read/hear this? Quiet frankly, I think that is impossible, even with millions or billions of practicing trills. Just look at the anatomy of the fingers...there is more strength in the second and third finger than that little tiny finger, just because the connected muscles are bigger.....


It is written in the German book "Die kleine Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach" from Esther Meynell. This book however is not a biography, and this statement is without a hint to the primary source. So, I don't know of any other source. Maybe you are right that the statement is a bit exxagerated, but maybe there is a primary source for that statement, I dunno.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:25 pm 
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With this it is shown a distinct art to the lovers of the piano (clavier), mostover the students eager to learn, not only to play with 2, but with further progress to play with 3 different voices properly. Foremost the purpose is to get a cantabile art of playing in order to get a stronge taste of the composition.


Sounds pretty proud to me, JSB knew about the little jewels...
Since Bach used the word cantabile together with "foremost" I am pretty sure that he wished to put lots of expression into the playing. However, regardless what the composer liked, the other thing is what the interpret likes - both should be respected.



My feelings exactly. Bach himself wrote the 2 and 3 part inventions with the intent to develop a cantabile style. In my view this makes a dynamically restricted interpretation of Bach completely out of the question.

Of course everyone is free to interpret any given work however they wish, but how you choose to interpret it may not necassarily be interesting for the audience to hear, and when you're performing you can't just ignore the audience's feelings. You've got to make them enjoy the music too. Bach is boring when played with flat dynamics and with little or no expression.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:46 pm 
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The question is, what exactly did cantabile mean back then. The art song had not yet been invented, and opera (to which we know Bach was not attracted) was only beginning to make an impact. So I am not sure Bach would necessarily mean the same as did Chopin when he used the word. Will we ever know for sure ? I guess not. Perhaps he just meant 'fluency' or something like that - I can imagine a lot of keyboard players were not exactly fluent these days and Bach felt it as his task to improve that level.

There is a certain point in applying dynamics and experssion in Bach even if that was not possible on the instruments of his time. We have that freedom, and Bach's music can take it all. But whether the music needs it, or even sounds "boring" without it, I find highly debatable. Though I must admit to preferring Bach on a piano over a harpsichord any time.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:51 am 
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Quote:
The question is, what exactly did cantabile mean back then. The art song had not yet been invented, and opera (to which we know Bach was not attracted) was only beginning to make an impact. So I am not sure Bach would necessarily mean the same as did Chopin when he used the word. Will we ever know for sure ? I guess not. Perhaps he just meant 'fluency' or something like that - I can imagine a lot of keyboard players were not exactly fluent these days and Bach felt it as his task to improve that level.


Good question, to ask what cantabile meant to Bach. If Bach meant fluency instead cantabile he would wrote it, I think. I guess he knew what he wrote. It is true that he did not like operas but does than mean that he disliked singing in general? No, I don't believe, and he has written lots for voice.
Has the meaning of cantabile changed through the age? It describes the manner to try to play as if a singer would sing, right?. Maybe the manner singer perform has changed over ages. Certain criteria about the singing style are the same, so I think. For instance I cannot imagine that singer did sing to Bach's time without a melody bow, for instance. That would be unnatural singing to me.
Maybe as first approach one could take the word "cantabile" simply with the meaning of today instead trying to look for pretty different meaning of the word like "fluency".

Quote:
There is a certain point in applying dynamics and experssion in Bach even if that was not possible on the instruments of his time.


Bach liked to play on his clavichord at night, as far as I know. I don't know the exact term of that instrument, but it must be an instrument with very low volume, but the possibility to change dynamics. If Bach puts the focus on "foremost cantabile" playing for the inventions, it could well be that he had such an instrument in mind, what he liked to play himself, and what was able to produce dynamic changes.

The inventions allow for giving the both voices an own phrasing, for me it sounds the best this way, but difficult to achieve (however worthful to long for). If Bach liked to have it played "foremost cantabile", I don't see any reason to not try to play the Inventions cantabile on the piano.

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Last edited by MindenBlues on Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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