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 Post subject: Bach
PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:48 pm 
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To be honest, some preludes from the WTC1 always attracted me but not so the fugues. Only after give a fugue a try, a glimpse for the mastery started after numerous playing again and again. It is when one starts to track several voices simultaneous what needs in my case several hearings and playings, that comes not immediately, instead it grows.

I'm singing in a choir where we just practise on the St.Matthew passion from Bach. That's a piece for 2 separate choirs, each with 4 voices, and 2 separate orchestras and solo voices. In the beginning piece you hear both choirs, both orchestras and on top of that a solo voice. It is that huge that I get goose bumps every time we practise it.


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"With me you'll play Bach." I was willing but was first interested to know why. "Because I said so," she said. And with that, I stood up and gathered my books. "Why are you leaving?" she wanted to know. I had just enough wits about me to reply "Because I said so." And that wound up being the last lesson I had for many years.

Well, I have a much smarter teacher now, who explains reasons instead of asserting his authority. And this week he assigned me the first prelude of WTC1.


Olaf, I love to hear when music gives a person the goose bumps. I get them too, especially after the Chopin nocturne I'm currently working on.

Schmonz - Your last sentence makes me laugh.

I am not changing my mind about Bach, but I try to keep an open mind and listen to the arguments favoring him. Still, those fugues...they are so long. Doesn't it get boring for the player too? They all sound alike after a while.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach
PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 9:15 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
pianolady wrote:
Still, those fugues...they are so long. Doesn't it get boring for the player too? They all sound alike after a while.


But they're not! In order to hear the nuances and differences between the fugues shows that you have a knack and a musical ear!


I know that they're all different in someway (voices, subject/ countersubject etc.) but I can barely hear the difference as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach
PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:54 am 
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pianolady wrote:
I am not changing my mind about Bach, but I try to keep an open mind and listen to the arguments favoring him. Still, those fugues...they are so long. Doesn't it get boring for the player too? They all sound alike after a while.

This makes me laugh. It's a bit like stating that all Americans look alike after a while. But yeah, if you find them too long and your senses get dulled, I can imagine that happening.

Fugues are never boring to play - not even if there's 10 of them in a row on the same theme, like in the KDF. But of course it depends on the mindset of the player. If you don't feel a fugue as an exhilarating combination of musical, technical and intellectual challenge, then it's no good even trying. And for the purely romantically minded, it may not be the right thing to do anyway. If you equate the beauty of music with constant heart-on-sleeve emotion, then Bach is just not for you.

Having said that, I did not care much about Bach until, say, 15 years ago, and hardly ever played it or listened to it. But he's come back with a vengeance. It is possible to 'not like' Bach, but it is not possible to 'like' him. Once you really get into his music you can not help but love it with a kind of religious fervour. A-men :wink:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:22 am 
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I never liked asparagus when I was a kid but now I love it. Maybe when I grow up I will like Bach too. :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:30 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
I never liked asparagus when I was a kid but now I love it. Maybe when I grow up I will like Bach too. :D


But we just learned from Chris that it is not possible to like Bach, only to not like him or to love him :wink:
Ok, if I would be forced to choose scores from a single composer for the rest of my life, I would take Chopin, not Bach. Very easy decision for me. If it would be allowed to take scores from two composers, I would add Bach (especially for organ playing).

I would be interested in knowing how for other Bach players the fun comes in playing fugues. Because in my case I must literally bite through the notes first, and then, slowly, I try to follow the different voices (not possible for more complex fugues, and also not e.g. for the 5-voice b minor fugue WTC1 which I perceive as a whole mass beside the fugue theme). But if that happens, that tracking of the different voices simultaneously while playing, it is a very good feeling, or exhilarating what Chris said. Similar experiences for you Bach players here too?

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