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 Post subject: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:34 pm 
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Hi, everybody!

I've studied baroque practice lately, and since I got a new piano, I thought it would be a good idea to remake some of my Bach.
So here it is a little Sinfonia to be evaluated.
And just for fun... I've attached a Chopin etude I'm still working on =D

Regards,

Luís Sarro

Bach - BWV 797 - Sinfonia No. 11 in G Major (2:06)


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:43 am 
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This is the original recording.
The other one above was "normalized" because I thought the volume was too low. But now I think the original volume is much better. This should replace the previous one above.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:01 am 
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I'm afraid I don't get your accordion-like expansion and contraction of the meter/tempo, but I do like what you do with the ornaments. But since the flow is more important to me than the dressing, this doesn't satisfy. This sinfonia provides some opportunity for expert voicing of suspensions. Personally I would like to hear another version.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:35 am 
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Hi, musical-md!

I'm glad you pointed that.
In fact, I have studied historically oriented performance of baroque music lately. What you call "expansion and contraction" of tempo, in fact are tenutos for "good" notes and inegalité. These are described in several old music treatises, such as those of Couperin and Quantz (I don't know if CPE Bach talks about them in his essay, because I haven't read it completely).

I have read the Badura-Skoda book on Bach keyboard performance, and I have studied it with two teachers in college. In this second semester, I'll have classes with Judy Tarling (she's coming to Brazil in September!).

Unfortunately, pianists don't care about playing baroque music in an authentic way. After studying Badura-Skoda's book, I discovered that not even Tureck, Gould, Schiff of Perahia are true to how this music was conceived. Though harpsichordists ALWAYS play with much rubato! Baroque music has much more rubato than the romantic one, though these two are very different: in baroque, you only hold the "good" notes. In romantic music, you can hold the "bad" (weak) ones.

The only two pianists who play in a historically oriented way on the piano are Badura Skoda and Wolfgang Rubsam (he's famous for being an organist).

This is the Badura-Skoda book I have read:
http://www.amazon.com/Interpreting-Bach ... skoda+bach

It's not only about good notes and inégalité, but also about ornaments and articulation. Articulation is the most difficult of all, in my opinion, since Bach didn't write any on his keyboard music.. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:41 am 
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I couldn't find any sinfonia played by Gustav Leonhardt on YouTube, but this transcription of the chacona can serve as an example (I'm studying Brahms transcription for future recordings):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXRIr78A5xg

On a chacona, the 2nd beat must be held (just like on a sarabanda).


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:24 am 
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That sounded very nice to me, Luis! I'm not a huge Bach fan, but it's because many of the recordings I listen to all sound the same - banging along with no variation in dynamics, pedal, tempo, rubato, etc and all I hear are thousands of notes that blur together and it just gets boring after about a minute. But this 'historically correct' way of playing is so much better. I know you've studied this subject intensely and we here at PS need to respect that. Thank you for teaching me by sending me those recordings :wink: ; I almost like Bach now! :lol:

One question - have you had your new piano tuned yet? I'm not sure if it's settled in yet, some notes sounded a little off.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:30 am 
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pianolady wrote:
One question - have you had your new piano tuned yet? I'm not sure if it's settled in yet, some notes sounded a little off.

Who sold me this piano was my piano tuner. I have a free tuning scheduled after 6 months of usage. That's because any tuning right now wouldn't last, since the piano takes time to get accostumed to the new environment. :roll:

Is it too bad? If it's too bad, I'll have to re-record it after 5 months. :D

But if you let me say something... Bach's music was not written for our equally tempered tuning. Not even Beethoven's music was. :D
Okay... but I know beans about non-equal temperaments... I don't know if my out-of-tune piano is good or bad for this music. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:44 am 
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No, it's not bad. Just a little off here and there. But my own piano sounds weird to me and I just had it tuned a month ago (a new tuner).

I don't think you added any reverb though, right? I think a little would be nice - it sounds pretty dry as it is now, but maybe that's how you like it...?

I'll let Riley process the recording and then I'll put it on the main site afterwards.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:55 am 
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I didn't add any reverb (but wait... you're getting my second submission, not my first one, right?)
I'd like some tips on this. What kind of reprocessing does Riley do? I'd like to know it, then I myself could do this in my future recordings. =D

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:54 pm 
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Yes, I listened to the second file. Regarding reverb...you have to try out a lot of different settings in order to learn what you prefer. It's a little tricky...you want some but not so much that the piano sounds weird.

Riley doesn't do anything that changes the sound. He just checks the tags and file name, uploads the file onto the server, and then replaces your attachment with a link.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:03 pm 
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Oh, I see.

The problem is that my ear is not good for checking audio quality... for example, I wasn't finding the sound dry. And if I start adding reverb, I'll do much more than the necessary, for sure. :oops:

But I'd like to use a plug-in such as a "soudn booster", somthing that makes the piano sound less thin.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:40 pm 
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Hi Luis,

I had a listen to your Bach, it sounded good, if slightly more dry than the Szames recording that is already on the site. The "accordion type" phrasing is appealing to me personally. All the better if it is historically informed :)

I have replaced your upload with a link. Check to see that it plays ok.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:52 pm 
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pianoman342 wrote:
The "accordion type" phrasing is appealing to me personally. All the better if it is historically informed :)

Me too! I decided to study historically informed baroque practices because I this rubato is very appealing to me too!

Thanks, Riley!
I can't check the link now because I'm travelling and now I'm here:
Image
8)
But I'll check when I get home, next week.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:14 pm 
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Hello Luis,

Interesting effect this one, though I must say I was wondering why all the suspensions, if that is how they are called.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:29 pm 
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hi, Richard!

thanks for listening.
I didnt clearly understand what you mean... the suspensions are there. Inegalite (unevennes) and ornaments dont alter them.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:57 pm 
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Hi Luis, nice version of the g minor sinfonia.

I actually didn't think you necessarily used too much rubato (or whatever people call it.) I guess I use too much :)

I was a bit surprised by the regular heavier emphasis on the third beat. I guess you were maybe trying to give it a more dance like feel or a historically accurate sound? I thought the regular accents gave it that accordion like sound, at least for me.

Anyway it was nice to hear another sinfonia submission.

felipesarro wrote:
Hi, everybody!

I've studied baroque practice lately, and since I got a new piano, I thought it would be a good idea to remake some of my Bach.
So here it is a little Sinfonia to be evaluated.
And just for fun... I've attached a Chopin etude I'm still working on =D

Regards,

Luís Sarro

Bach - BWV 797 - Sinfonia No. 11 in G Major (2:06)


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:22 pm 
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hi, winitsky!

I didnt have in mind any dance. baroque is a very complex period. Inegalite can be used at freedom by the performer. you can even dont use it. there are some orientations in old treatise (such as to linger the 2nd beat of sarabande and chacone), but it also depends on the harmony. in fact, I usually hold the 3rd beat here for Bach's fault! hehe
through all this piece, almost always the 3rd beat has a longer note.

but the baroque practice leaves much freedom to the performer. this is not obligatory.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:35 pm 
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Luis, I just sent you a pm.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:00 pm 
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I have not studied the Baroque practice of inegalite but feel there's something amiss here. I think the idea that the inequality extends to the meter is erroneous, but would welcome some references for this. Unfortunately I have all my earthly belongings in storage while I am between houses. However, I was able to find an article on the subject on the French language Wiki that seems well documented. From my read of it, this principle extends to RHYTHM and articulation, dynamics but NOT meter. Have a look at it:

[url]http://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inégalités_dans_la_musique_baroque[/url]

I believe, as is the case frequently, that there is a direct analogy of Baroque music with that of jazz music in which in this case it may be written "straight" but is performed with a swing (inegalite), but the tempo is steady with equal beats. I can't wait to have access to my references once moved in and really do appreciate this topic coming up so that it may be discussed. Thank you Felipe.

Edit: I just found an English language article at:
[url]http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notes_inégales#section_1[/url]

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Last edited by musical-md on Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:55 pm 
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Quote:
Thanks, Riley!
I can't check the link now because I'm travelling and now I'm here:
[picture of paradise]


:shock: next time you plan on going there buy me an extra ticket would ya?! :)

Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:43 pm 
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Phrasing is nice and connected, I guess the same goes for voicing.
I have my reservations though on the pianissimo near the end and closing measures. I would say it's quite exaggerated.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:09 am 
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musical-md wrote:
I have not studied the Baroque practice of inegalite but feel there's something amiss here. I think the idea that the inequality extends to the meter is erroneous, but would welcome some references for this. Unfortunately I have all my earthly belongings in storage while I am between houses. However, I was able to find an article on the subject on the French language Wiki that seems well documented. From my read of it, this principle extends to RHYTHM and articulation, dynamics but NOT meter. Have a look at it:

[url]http://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inégalités_dans_la_musique_baroque[/url]

I believe, as is the case frequently, that there is a direct analogy of Baroque music with that of jazz music in which in this case it may be written "straight" but is performed with a swing (inegalite), but the tempo is steady with equal beats. I can't wait to have access to my references once moved in and really do appreciate this topic coming up so that it may be discussed. Thank you Felipe.

Edit: I just found an English language article at:
[url]http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notes_inégales#section_1[/url]


I don't get your point here. Inégalite is for rhythm. It is supposed to "sound" as an articulation, but it affects rhythm. It's a kind of rubato (rubato means "robbed time": you linger some notes, then you hurry the other ones, so that the PULSE REMAINS THE SAME).

Anyone can write an article on wikipedia. So if the mainstream pianists don't have a slight interest in what recent musicology researches say about baroque performance, don't expect wikipedia to have trusted content about it. As I said before, there are plenty of harpsichordists recordings, and the majority of them plays with plenty of rubato. I also recommend listening to the two only pianists who play in a historically informed way, as far as I know: Rubsam Wolfgang and Badura Skoda. Both of them can be listened to freely in www.naxosmusiclibrary.com

Badura Skoda's book has over 600 pages. I have also started reading Robert Donington book, I'll take personal classes with a harpsichordist who plays Bach's complete keyboard output and I'll have an entire semester classes with Judith Tarling, so I don't think it is possible to "discuss deeply" such hard stuff here in Piano Society. I have already cited my references, so I hope someone can be curious enough to study what I have also studied, and then a discussion would be possible. I have focused on Bach repertoire. I don't want to become a specialist in early music. And I'm really far from knowing everything. I know beans about affect doctrine, for example. So what I play does not intend to be "perfect", even so because there is really no ONE write way of playing any piece, and perfect interpretations do not exist. One can dislike inégalité but it's a matter of personal taste, which is not our discussion here. And besides all, considering Couperin, CPE Bach and Quantz's treatises, mechanical playing is really an anachronistic way for baroque repertoire.

That's the wrong idea widely spread in the 20th century: they believe the score is precise!
No! The score is NOT PRECISE. Music is a natural flow that happened spontaneously. Only after this spontaneity people invented the score notation, which is an aproximation of the music realization. Even in romantic repertoire, there is no precision about rhythm! Consider, for example, rubato, or even simpler: the end of a phrasing and the beginning of a new one! I could say that the only precise thing in the score is the pitch, but EVEN THE PITCH varied a lot during the past centuries. So baroque music is not different from other periods because of the "swing". The only thing is that the jazzists have more consciousness about impreciseness of our notational system than the classical musicians do. This is what I really like about this kind of study: it allows to experience a much richer musical experience than the boring 20th century practice allows to. A good book for all this discussion is the one by Clive Brown, which I'm also reading (in my free time... =\)

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:09 am 
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pianoman342 wrote:
Quote:
Thanks, Riley!
I can't check the link now because I'm travelling and now I'm here:
[picture of paradise]


:shock: next time you plan on going there buy me an extra ticket would ya?! :)

Riley

Sure! But pay me first. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:11 am 
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wiser_guy wrote:
Phrasing is nice and connected, I guess the same goes for voicing.
I have my reservations though on the pianissimo near the end and closing measures. I would say it's quite exaggerated.

Hi, Wiser! Thanks for listening.
The pianíssimo was the way I found out to express exordium (rhetorically speaking) of the piece. But I respect your personal taste.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:07 pm 
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Hello Felipe,
Thank you for submitting some baroque piano pieces (well, quite an oxymoron...). Regarding the acordion effect, I'm afraid I have the same feeling as Eddy. You're right: some baroque music must be played with a slightly elastic tempo. However:
- this applies more to French baroque than German I think. When you listen to Gustav Leonhart, his Bach is generally very regular and straitghtforward;
- which applies to harpsichord does not necessarily apply to piano, which lets more means to provide expressions (with dynamics + use of pedals);
- for instance, in harpsichord, if you want to put the emphasis on a particular voice, since you cannot play it louder than another one, you are led to put a very (almost unoticeable) decay between the bass and this voice. Similarly, you will arpegiate chords for making intermediate notes more audible. On a piano, you're better using different weight on the various fingers, depending on your musical intention;
- whatever the liberty you take with the metronome, you must keep the general motion of the piece (it must go ahead). In this sense, you are allowed to make small respirations or rallentando at the end of a section, but not at any place. And the bass should be quite strict with the tempo, I think, although the lead voice may be a little late. Otherwise, you give the feeling of being constantly hesitating and looking for your notes...
Sorry for this criticism. I find many positive aspects in your rendition, this is why I tried to argue about this accordion issue...
Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:40 pm 
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Hi, François!

Sure there is space for plenty of discussion about historically informed performances. What I really don't understand is how pianists (I'm talking about the famous names, not we as learners. =D ) consider, with NO EVIDENCE, that there is no rubato in Baroque music. Evidences point that there are much more rubato than that music from Romantism period. I could cite a whole page about rhythmic irregularities described in lots of Baroque treatises, including that of CPE Bach (there are two pages of it in Roberto Donington's book).
It's just a matter of getting used to it. I myself didn't like this "ligering" of some notes when I first heard it.

We don't know when to use inégalité and when not to use it... You're right that inégalité is more exaggerated in French music. But all of this is very subjective. What seems to us to be exaggerated, possibly is extremely subtle to a Baroque exuberant mentality.

I think we must translate the Baroque intentions to the piano, and not play it like it was a harpsichord. The articulation on a harpsichord is very subtle. There is a main concern for playing very legato, otherwise the harpsichord doesn't resonate. But sometimes I think with the piano we should do exactly the opposite: the articulation should be clearer, because the piano has a huge resonance.

There is space for plenty of discussion, and this is all very healthy. And there is no correct performance also! Mainly in Baroque period, where much liberty was left to the performer, there are several ways to "solve" a piece.

You're right that the articulation is a way for marking the strong beat. Harpsichord doesn't have dynamics. But this piece was also written for clavichord, which does have. I think that not doing this baroque articulation just because it is "not necessary" on piano is not a good solution, because it subtracts style characteristics, instead of adding. Since the piano has dynamics, I think the best solution would be to do both: articulation + dynamic. Afterwall... this articulation affected the rhythm!

There are some rhythmic ways to describe changes in structure which we usually do on piano through dynamic contrast. I think it's more "baroquian" to do both on piano than simply doing the dynamic contrast, which sounds more romantic.

Regarding rubato, Leonhardt plays a chaconne with lots of inégalité. And so does his pupil, Robert Hill.

It has been very difficult to me to study and understand this baroquian agogic. The first time I played inégalité I was so tense that I couldn't breath! I had never played that way before.

That's why I like these studies: it helps me see music in a broader way. XXth performance practices are too restrained and boring... there are so many other ways to play music. I always disliked mechanical Bach approaches, but I didn't have any *excuse* for playing differently. Now I do. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:13 am 
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Hi Felipe,
Now you have me confused because my objection from the beginning has been your regular expansion (beat 3) and contraction (beats one and two) -- remember "accordion-like" -- of your METER. Then you explained much about inegalite and I countered that it doesn't extend to meter, then in your reply you state in capital letters that "THE PULSE STAYS THE SAME" ... but yours didn't. Rubato is what it is but if you play every third beat longer than you do every first and second beat, then you create an occilation that makes this listener feel that he's riding a sine wave, accelerating toward the troughs and decelerating towards every crest. All that I have said has NOTHING to do with articulation or rhythm, whether as written, inegale, or even correct or erroneous. It is more fundamental.

Also, yes anyone can contribute to Wikipedia, but the moment you do, many others even hundreds of others with interest in your subject will begin editing and disqualifying and challenging your data and sources, such that it only matters when and if it stands. You should try it and see what I mean. In some articles error wouldn't last an hour let alone a day or more.

Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:19 am 
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Hi, Eddy!

you're right about wikipedia. But the thing is: if things such as rubato in Baroque music is neglected by the majority of people, this kind of stuff will never appear on wikipedia. In fact, Wikipedia often frustrates me, not only musically speaking, but in other subjects also. Tell me about politics! =\
I don't think errors don't last on Wikipedia... I think that what don't last there are non-common sense things. Exactly what we are discussing now. =D

about pulse, it depends on what you consider pulse. I'm considering the whole measure ONE PULSE. it remains the same. but even if it didn't remain the same, flexibility is admissible in baroque's tempo, according to Roberto Donington. usually, a rubato is a "stolen time": you linger some notes, then play the others faster than they are written. so the pulse remains the same. but sometimes it is even acceptable in baroque practice that some stolen time will never be "returned". lingering some notes and playing faster others are rhythmic things, what can be considered a kind of inégalité. or better: inégalité can be considered a kind of rubato. I'm lingering the first beat, the first note of the 16ths here. I'm lingering also the 3rd beat.

this is a page of Robert Donington's book, about inégalité. this is just for showing the several treatises that talk about it. there are three pages citing treatises. there is even a whole chapter about flexibility in tempo, where Donington says that not every stolen time should be "given back". CPE Bach says that some rhythmic irregularities "are beautiful".

so there is no reason to consider Baroque music, not even Bach's music, to be metronomically played. it is a safe way to play, but quite uncommitted to how this music was conceived.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:34 am 
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just an example of bach playing with tempo flexibility. this is Robert Hill, Gustav Leonhardt's pupil, playing this same symphony.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdA7glH_wiQ

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Felipe Sarro


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:47 am 
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and I insist on listening to Rubsam's recordings on the piano. just to make sure this is not an allucination of myself: there are other people who play this way, according to historical evidence. =D

one can listen to an excerpt of it here (but the whole track can be listened to freely on www.naxosmusiclibrary.com):
http://www.amazon.com/3-Part-Inventions ... +invention


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:21 am 
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Felipe,
I just listened to the Robert Hill performance on forte-piano and it was beautiful, but the meter was clearly regular, with use of "tempo ritardando" and "a tempo" in artistic manner at the phase (better: form/section) boundaries (as Rainer mentioned elsewhere). You admit already that you extend the 3rd beat repetitively, as in:
One, two, threeee, one, two, threeee, one, two, threeee ...
My issue is not about using rubato, it's about having REGULAR extra time, such that EVERY 3 beat bar has 3.x beats in it. It is this specific trait that I would like to see identified as inegalite, if it is authentic.

Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:52 am 
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I had made a comment before, but based on listening with too low a volume! Having heard your version again this morning I could hear all very clearly and I realise that what I said was meaningless, maybe because it sounded so new. Listening first to Robert Hill's version it stuck me as if I were hearing a harpsichord with a different sound, because harpsichordits tend to play even Bach in this way. Then I heard your version and, while yours seemed less florid, I was still reminded of the harpsichord.

I will let you into a little secret: Whereas I find Bach in the harpsichord entirely enjoyable, on the piano he is a bore. :shock: But wait, is he really, or it it the way pianists interpret him that make him boring? The description that always comes in the back of my mind is "square" and listening to Bach becomes more a duty than a pleasure.

I have never played that particular Sinfonia, but I have No 5, in the days when I still had a teacher (the exercise in ornamentation and cantabile) I remember playing even more ornaments than suggested (in the Henle edition, based on a copy by Bach) and I do not believe that could have been possible when playing it in strict time. I must try it again some time.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:29 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
Felipe,
I just listened to the Robert Hill performance on forte-piano and it was beautiful, but the meter was clearly regular, with use of "tempo ritardando" and "a tempo" in artistic manner at the phase (better: form/section) boundaries (as Rainer mentioned elsewhere). You admit already that you extend the 3rd beat repetitively, as in:
One, two, threeee, one, two, threeee, one, two, threeee ...
My issue is not about using rubato, it's about having REGULAR extra time, such that EVERY 3 beat bar has 3.x beats in it. It is this specific trait that I would like to see identified as inegalite, if it is authentic.

Eddy


Hi, Eddy!
This discussion is getting into a useless preciosity. These things are ofter interrelated. You're so concerned about my 3rd beat (which Rubsam also does! did you listen to his recording?) that you didn't notice I'm also lingering the first beat. You're considering that the way I play those 16ths are the "straight rhtyhm", but it depends on what you have as a reference. if you have the first beat as reference, my 16ths are slightly faster.

Lingering the third beat cannot be identified as inégalité according to most of the treatises I have read, since inégalité asks for lingering the first note of two, or a series of them. But Baroque practices asks for lingering new harmony content where it appears. In this piece, most of the time the 3rd beat changes the harmony. just like the Chacone which I'll soon record: it is a dance whose 2nd beat should be lingered. In the first measures, this is okay, because Bach changes the harmony chords in the second beat. But after some variations, the harmonic changes occur in the 3rd, not the 2nd beat, so it's better to linger the 3rd instead of the 2nd one. There is also another point in Baroque performance, which does add a lot of "extra time" in those bars, as you said: people at that time were consedring musical language in comparison with a verbal one. Each phrase (sometimes they say it's a "paragrapha!") must be played as if it was SAID, in a speech. In slow and expressive pieces, there is plenty of "space" between the end of a phrase and the beginning of the new one. When I first tried to play this way, I left a slight little space. Then I played the Allemande of Bach's 4th French Suite to a Brazilian harpsichordist, he said I should "speak" more. He adds a "space" of a 16th note between each phrase. Considering the very slow tempo of an allemande (yes, Bach's allemandes should be played slow, not brisk as pianists usually do), it's a lot of "extra time".

So don't pay too close attention to the words and the definitions. I recommend not to isolate these things. And Robert Hill does play differently than I do, but as I said baroque practice allows lots of liberty to the performer. I myself struggles a lot in trying to incorporate these things in a natural and "baroque" way. Thanks to Tureck, Gould, Schiff, Perahia, Hewitt, and every other pianist who played Bach, I have NO REFERENCE, because none of them were concerned with an authentic performance. And now we have lots of prejudice against rubato in Bach keyboard music due to this tradition of pianists playing metronomically, with no evidences at all. And even when I talk to early music specialists, it still remains difficult to me, since they play in old instruments, and are usually skeptical of transcribing these baroque intentions into a modern piano. =\

Here it is what Rubsam says about playing Bach on a modern piano.
This is what encouraged me to study this kind of thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:45 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
I had made a comment before, but based on listening with too low a volume! Having heard your version again this morning I could hear all very clearly and I realise that what I said was meaningless, maybe because it sounded so new. Listening first to Robert Hill's version it stuck me as if I were hearing a harpsichord with a different sound, because harpsichordits tend to play even Bach in this way. Then I heard your version and, while yours seemed less florid, I was still reminded of the harpsichord.

I will let you into a little secret: Whereas I find Bach in the harpsichord entirely enjoyable, on the piano he is a bore. :shock: But wait, is he really, or it it the way pianists interpret him that make him boring? The description that always comes in the back of my mind is "square" and listening to Bach becomes more a duty than a pleasure.

I have never played that particular Sinfonia, but I have No 5, in the days when I still had a teacher (the exercise in ornamentation and cantabile) I remember playing even more ornaments than suggested (in the Henle edition, based on a copy by Bach) and I do not believe that could have been possible when playing it in strict time. I must try it again some time.


Hi, Richard!

yes, I do play differently than Hill. and differently than Rubsam (Rubsam's version has lots of ornamentation). It's a whole new thing to me. Adding ornamentation is not easy. There are people who like more, there are those who like less of them... I had played Bach in a suqared way for so long, that sometimes I think I'm overexaggerating these things, when I'm in fact playing in a subtle way. In fact I SHOULD exaggerate more! hehe
But I'm afraid of playing badly, so restraint is a protection shield. =D

I always enjoyed Bach, even played metronomically. But now that I started getting into these new things, I can't tolerate it any more! You just feel that these squared performances miss something.
You said a good point: that lots of ornamentation suggested by Bach suggests a flexible tempo. I just posted below the opinion of Rubsam on how to play Bach on the piano. He says something that has to do with it: that if you add the baroque practices, the tempo necessarily becomes flexible (or otherwise impossible to play!)

By the way... I had a class with a Brazilian harpsichordist who plays the entire Bach keyboard output. I played a French Suite with the ornamentation suggested by Bach, but then he said I was overdoing the ornaments (!)
But those were Bach's own suggestions! As I said, there is plenty of space for the performance liberty in Baroque practice. Some prefer more ornamentation, others prefer less. In some treatises, they say one should avoid lots of ornamentation. But then there is a printed example of an ornamentation in a "good taste" which for us, from XXIth century, sounds quite overexaggerated!

The mentatlity of that time was quite different.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:04 am 
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Felipe
Agreed regarding the preciosity. I want to be clear on one thing: I believe that rubato is part of every artistic performance, so please don't think I'm arguing against rubato (you will not find that from me on this thread). I'm working only from my iPhone so can't do everything I would like at this time. I'm curious what you think of Landowska?

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - remake o Sinfonia no. 11
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:33 pm 
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but I really can't understand any rhythmic irregularity and pulse flexibility apart from rubato.

I'm just listening to Landowska right now.
I'll not say if I find it beautiful or not, since it's subjective and I don't have enough experience to try to judge any harpsichord performance. But as far I could notice from the beginning of her 2nd Partita, I think she was not aware of the double dotting expected effect, described by CPE Bach in his essay. She plays this beginning in a very literal way. The thing is that it was not possible to write double dotting or dots on rests at that time. So the first 16th in this score, in my conception, should be played as a 32th.

Considering that Landowsky was born in the XIXth century, I don't think she was concerned with an authentic historical approach. These studies began to appear widely in the 1980s. In the beginning of XIXth century, the positivist evolutionary belief was in vogue, so people didn't see any need to study old performances: according to the positivist belief, we have evolved until here, so our performance practice is superior to that of XVIIth century.

And these studies on musicology are always evolving. Sometime ago people would think that it was not admissible to begin a trilo on the main note (praltriller) in Bach's music, for example. Rubato is also a relative "new" thing in Baroque practice according to contemporary knowledge.

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