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 Post subject: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Concluding two busy recordings days are re-recordings of the G major and G minor pairs of both books. These have been germinating ever since I last posted the G major pairs, already just over one year ago. I don't think I will ever get the BWV 860 prelude right, it seems to get harder the more I practice it. But these are surely a lot better (and slower :D ) than my previous versions. It will be nice to move on the the A-flat pairs now.

Bach - BWV 860 - Das Wolhtemperierte Clavier I - Prelude and Fugue No.15 in G major (4:06)
Bach - BWV 861 - Das Wolhtemperierte Clavier I - Prelude and Fugue No.16 in G minor (4:58)
Bach - BWV 884 - Das Wolhtemperierte Clavier II - Prelude and Fugue No.15 in G major (4:51)
Bach - BWV 885 - Das Wolhtemperierte Clavier II - Prelude and Fugue No.16 in G minor (5:24)

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:38 am 
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Good job Chris! I personally like the G minor Prelude of Bk 1 slower than you do, but who cares. You did seem to have a bit of control trouble with the 1st G maj prelude (as you admitted), but I think that overall it is successful. 2/3rds of the way through the Old Testament of Pianism (finished with the poetical books and ready to tackle the prophets!).

Best,
Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:41 am 
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Chris - Very nice playing. What an ambitious project - you certainly have a passion for Bach! I'm not intimately familiar with the WTC, but out of these I especially liked the G Major Fugue. The prelude sounded fine to me at the tempo you played it.

I look forward to hearing more! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:10 am 
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Very good playing and you dared to choose a pretty high tempo for all of them, making some parts quick and not easy to pull of right. But you manage really well and I enjoyed listening to everyone of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:26 am 
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Thanks all ! I am not wholly satisfied with the two G major preludes, which I find some of the hardest pieces ever, especially the one from Book I.
These performances may sound fast, but all my re-recordings, with only one or two exceptions, are considerably slower than my previous versions. And none the worse for it. Perfection eludes me as usual :cry: But ok, I can always re-record them again after some years.... It's not as if one is ever finished with the WTC.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:18 pm 
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To BWV 860:
Prelude:
Indeed, that´s may be one of the most difficult prelude of WTC, I agree to your opinion you told above.
Overall a nice and even performance. You have choosen a good tempo, not too fast, not too slow IMO. And I think, it´s nearly the same tempo I have choosen in my recording. As always I have some little things to nitpick:
In the first part there are some missing respective inaudible single notes. I think you know yourself where they are. (You are the one with the elephant ears, not me. :lol: :wink: ) The end is better, especially the (quite tricky) bars 13-15 come out really good.
At the beginning you don´t play the breaks of eights (Orgelpunkt g), but that´s a decision of interpretation, I personally like it.
Fugue:
nice version. My only nitpick is, that you loose a little bit tempo in bar 10, but that´s minor, or was it an interpretative decision? Could I hear some voicing of the subject in the middle voices here? I´m not sure, because as usual you don´t too much voicing here, but that´s your manner to interprete Bachs fugues. As I said, I´m not the one with the elephant ears here, but to me this version seems to be note-perfect. Congratulations to that.
The tempo is a possible choice. (My version is slower, but I know, I´m a bit beyond the "mainstream" with that, of course, with fully intention.)

To BWV 861:
Prelude:
I really enjoyed that version. Nice calmness and capture of the mood. I like your use of the pedal here.
Fugue:
Also a very nice version, contemplative, very even and with tender approaches to voicings of the subject.

To BWV 884:
Prelude:
Wow, that´s a good version! The tempo and also some other things you do are very close to what I had in mind for my re-recording of that prelude. Very nice and artistic differenciation between first time and repeat of each part. Could be there is a little slip in bar 32 in the repeat, but that´s only a small nag as usual.

Fugue:
Again wow, that´s a version I will listen more than twice. I´m enthused. Nice agogic and interpretation. I like that slower version a lot, though my own recording is faster. (Seems that we did it just reverse in comparation with the fugue in g-major of WTC I, here I have choosen the slower and you the faster version.) Interesting execution of the trill in bar 52, I think, I will adapt that for me. In bar 62, 63 I´m not sure, what is wrong here: is it just the rhythm of the upbeat-run in bar 62 or is there really missing a note? I couldn´t fiddle that out, though I have listened to that passage three times. (Seems that the devil really always is in detail... :roll: )But in every case this is a minor matter.

To BWV 885:
Prelude:
That´s a proper version. I remember that piece very well, because I have played it during a piano competetion in the late 80th. So I´m sure, there must exist an old recording of that time (unfortunately the quality of the cassette-tapes has decreased so much). I also remember, that I have played this prelude in the manner of a French Ouverture, that means consequently with a double dotted rhythm. You don´t do this here. And I have done more with the tension of chords and voicings. But apart from that it´s a good and decent version IMHO.

Fugue:
Also a very decent version in a quite high tempo. As usual I do more with voicing than you, but that doesn´t decrease the worth of your interpretation, that´s your personal style, and we all have the right to have this. With the usual advice to my non-elephant-ears I can say, that this must be a note-perfect version.

You have given me much homework today, but it was a pleasure and very interesting and inspiring comparation. I feel motivated now to re-record the g-major-prelude and step to g-minor. Fortunately there are Easter-holidays now (of course, with the usual amount of work, but also with more time for music).
Have my sincere congratulations to this great achievement, dear friend!

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:59 pm 
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Wow, thanks for the detailed reply and the praise ! I have prepared these for an awful long time, and it is probably the best Bach I have submitted. Yet I find it increasingly difficult to be happy with my Bach recordings. Especially the G major pairs here seem to full of little issues, most of which you have picked up. But maybe I'll have to admit I cannot do any better, perfection seems further away the closer I think I get. It is getting very frustrating although the practicing and polishing gives me as much joy as ever.

Now I have some nitpicks with your critique. I don't agree to slowing down in bar 10 of the BWV 860 fugue. At worst there is one note kept just a fraction longer than the others, but is so infinitesimal I had not noticed it myself. And I don't agree that I "as usual don´t too much voicing". I believe most or all of the voices come out clearly and adequately, except maybe some tricky inner also or tenor voices (and that occasionally happens to you too). Yes one could always do more, I'm just not sure that this would really benefit the music. Of course this is one of these topics, like rubato, that people can get real religious about...

So now I don't know whether or not I should redo the G major pairs yet again. It will be so much work for only a little improvement...

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:08 pm 
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Quote:
At worst there is one note kept just a fraction longer than the others, but is so infinitesimal I had not noticed it myself.


Agreed, absolutely infinitesimal, it´s a bit the same type of critique you did with one bar in my version of prelude g-major, BWV 884.

Quote:
And I don't agree that I "as usual don´t too much voicing". I believe most or all of the voices come out clearly and adequately, except maybe some tricky inner also or tenor voices (and that occasionally happens to you too).


Here I can´t agree, but may be we are missunderstanding. I agree absolutely, that the voices in your fugue-playing come out clearly, but what I mean with "voicing" is to underline the subject ( or a certain counterpoint) by playing it clearly louder than the other voices around. And that I and also other Bach-interpreters do much more than you. But I consider it as feature of your personal style to play Bach and that´s a point of view, of course, to say, that all voices more or less have the same state and worth, independent, if it´s the subject or a counterpoint. But could there be missunderstanding between us? (For me it´s a problem of language to express the underlining of certain voices by the parameter of dynamic in English. In german I would use the word "Stimmführung" bzw. "Hervorhebung einzelner Stimmen, speziell des Themas", not "Klarheit der Stimmen".)
Of course, it happens to me here and there, that I don´t underline well enough a subject in the middle voices, if it´s difficult to play. I´m also not a perfect Bach-player, and like you, I´m also often not really satisfied with my recordings, btw! But sometimes I also don´t underline a middle-voice-subject with intention, if there is an important counterpoint, that depends.

Quote:
So now I don't know whether or not I should redo the G major pairs yet again. It will be so much work for only a little improvement...


If these would be my recordings, I only would re-record the prelude in g-major of WTC I, because there really are some missing respective inaudible notes in the first half or so, with all the other recordings you can be satisfied and especially with your g-major-pair of WTC II, which is really excellent. I also will re-record my g-major-prelude of WTC II, because of the same reason. So we can shake hands here! :lol: :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:55 pm 
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It seems then, that what we have achieved most of all is to reach Olympic heights of mutual nitpicking :lol:
I wonder what old Bach would have made of it all...

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:06 pm 
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Quote:
It seems then, that what we have achieved most of all is to reach Olympic heights of mutual nitpicking :lol:
I wonder what old Bach would have made of it all...


Probably he would have thought: "Oh, these stupid guys haven´t recognized the true sense of my music". :lol: But doesn´t matter in my opinion, as long as our mutual nitpicking is productive and makes us improving our recordings. And I think, this is an ever lasting aim of us both! That is the main thing.

Btw, you didn´t answer my question above: was there a missunderstanding or not?

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:12 am 
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musicusblau wrote:
Probably he would have thought: "Oh, these stupid guys haven´t recognized the true sense of my music". :lol:

I'm sure he would have had a good chuckle over it, before dismissing the issue and continuing on his next cantata.

musicusblau wrote:
Btw, you didn´t answer my question above: was there a missunderstanding or not?
I don't know. Probably I just do not understand the finer points of voicing and should steer clear of Bach. But I see Dr. Eddy has created a thread on the subject so I better go read that :idea:

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:58 am 
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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
and should steer clear of Bach.


Ha, ha, joke, come out, you are surrounded! :wink:

Quote:
But I see Dr. Eddy has created a thread on the subject so I better go read that.


Yeah, I will do this, too, as soon as possible. (I´m very busy right now with Matthew-Passion and some other things...)

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:16 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
(I´m very busy right now with Matthew-Passion and some other things...)
The St. Matthew Passion? Wow! That is one of the great pillars of all choral literature -- a magnificient work, like the Sistine Chapel ceiling of Michaelangelo! Do you know the Penderecki St. Luke Passion? I hold it as the other great pillar of choral literature (have an open mind). (Handel's oratorio Messiah is enormous yes, a miracle of composition in that it was written in only 24 days {it would take me longer than that just to copy the score}, but is IMO very uneven in quality). So wonderful that you are involved in such a wonderful project!

Jelous,
Eddy

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Last edited by musical-md on Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:39 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
(I´m very busy right now with Matthew-Passion and some other things...)

Huh.... WHAT other things ???? :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:23 am 
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Chris,

I listened to the Book I pairs, which I'm much more familiar with. I remember listening to your previous versions of these and IMHO this is a significant improvement. The overall rhythmic pulse is much clearer and more consistent and your voicing, while it could be more legato and differentiated in places, was refreshingly direct and generally well-conceived. My quibbles would really only be with the polish of some of the details, which distract the ear momentarily.

Overall, I'm personally more musically convinced by your performance of the G major pair. Kudos to evening out some of those tricky lefthand spots in the prelude, such as bar 5. I know it's been pointed out to you already, but there are of course some rather obvious missing notes in places. I only mention it to say that it seems a relatively easy thing to fix and it is a bit distracting for the ear to hear. I also noted some right hand flubs in measure 6. I do think you play the dialogic aspect between the left and right hands in measures 11-12 very well, and the difficulties of the convoluted double passages toward the end now seem much more within your control. Nice "pull in and park" ending.

According to my memory, the fugue too is a vast improvement, much clearer and sparser use of pedal in particular, and the lines emerge quite crystalline to my ears. My only general criticism here is that you gush forward a bit in places (e.g., 21-23, 35-37). That 35-37 double passage IMO can be difficult to get under control because it's easier than the polyphony in the surrounding texture so the fingers tend to run away a bit. I would therefore suggest that your tempo is maybe just a hair on the fast side. Overall, I like your spirit, but I think a slight downward adjustment could result in greater overall retention and bite.

In the G minor, your trills, particularly those in the left hand could use a bit of work, perhaps making sure that they are even (I guess in 64ths) to synchronize with the lefthand 16ths and are played without tension. The righthand ones in particular could also be quieter and more ethereal to balance against the left hand, which carries the line here. A couple of other details I noted were that the syncopated rhythm in 3 could be more secure (some notes seem louder than others) and that some of the 32nds seemed rushed, notably in 8-9.

The fugue is generally ok, though I'm not sure I'm convinced by your conception of it. Personally, this one seems grander and more stately to me, but that is of course a matter of personal preference. Some of the voices could be slightly better punctuated here as well IMHO.

But anyway, I would reiterate that generally your playing here seems quite an improvement over the Bach of yours that I have heard previously. It would be nice to hear just a few of the details a bit more polished and secure (especially on the G major, which is one of my personal favorites), but that's cutting it pretty fine. I would also add that the G major is IMO one of the harder pairs technically in Book I, so my compliments too for your basically having it under your belt as you do.

I hope my comments are of some use to you if you decide to return to this piece in the future and good luck with your WTC project!

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:58 am 
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Thanks for that Joe. I concur with most you say. I'm definitely still not happy with both the G major preludes. But I'm beginning to doubt that I can play them any better for now, especially that devilish one from Book I. And yes the trills in the G minor prelude are not as absolutely even as they should be. Again, I'm not sure they will ever be. As I mentioned before I find this music harder the deeper I get into it, and the nearer I get to perfection, the further away it seems (what a frustrating paradox.....).

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:06 pm 
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Quote:
and the nearer I get to perfection, the further away it seems (what a frustrating paradox.....).
Yep. Its asymptotic. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:19 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
Quote:
and the nearer I get to perfection, the further away it seems (what a frustrating paradox.....).
Yep. Its asymptotic. :wink:

That is such a typical hyperbole :P

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 5:13 pm 
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I've re-recorded both the G major preludes and the G major fugue of book II. Not to say they are now anywhere near perfect (I can't say which one of the G majpr preludes frustrates me most) but I believe they are better than before.

Bach - BWV 860 - Das Wolhtemperierte Clavier I - Prelude and Fugue No.15 in G major (4:04)
Bach - BWV 884 - Das Wolhtemperierte Clavier II - Prelude and Fugue No.15 in G major (4:42)

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 8:40 pm 
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Hi Chris,
sorry, that I´m so quite late with my reply, but I have so much things to do at this moment we have visit from Switzerland, birthdays a. s. o.
To BWV 860: that´s a splendid performance. What do you want more concerning the prelude? For my taste it sounds excellent and has some subtle musical moments! Concerning the fugue it´s always the same difference between us (for me the artistical interpretation is mainly in voicing), but I have enjoyed your version very much.
To BWV 861:
Prelude: the trills at the beginning are a bit loud, so that they cover the main-voices a bit, later it becomes better. Very lyrical and nice playing.
Fugue: very nice performance with a slip at 3:30. The contemplative tempo is adequate IMHO.
To BWV 884: I like this interpretation of the prelude a lot. Very good ornamentations in the repeats. Absolute clear articulation, bravo!
I´m also working on the re-recording of this prelude and I think, my version will be quite close to the manner of yours. I also had the idea of first time playing legato and second time with some non legato here and there.
The tempo of the fugue is quite slow (and it´s quite rare, that me, I´m the one, who has to tell that). But I enjoyed this interpretation, which seems like a profound study of the piece to me. Splendid! The lyrical end is unusual and that makes it absolute interesting! Continue so.
BWV 885: I´m glad, that I have another idea of that piece finally again than you. But your version is convincing, though it´s not in the rhythm of a French Ouverture, which should be, I´m quite sure. (I take a slower tempo and do a lot with dynamics and inner voicing differenciation here.)
Fugue: the third entry of the subject at the beginning should be voiced out all the time. At 3:38 and 3:41 I have realized slips respective mistakes, I think. At 4:03 the bass run isn´t proper. At 4:50, 51 there are some mistakes overcovered with pedal. Sorry, that I´m working with time-markings and not with bars. But I know that piece by heart again and so I know, where are the imperfections. Though this performance has some nice musical moments, it could partly be overworked from my view. For me the voicing here is immensely important.
(I think, my version also is ready for recording, I´m just waiting for a day, I will find enough time for a recording-session. I´m also working on Brahms, first sonata for clarinet and piano with my colleague again.)

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 12:44 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback Andreas. You're right about the trills in the G minor prelude, they are too loud. And yes there are 2 or 3 tiny imperfections in two of the fugues. I guess they slipped past me while recording, as principally I don't allow any wrong notes anymore and would have corrected had I heard them. I'm glad the two G major preludes can pass muster now, took me a great log of determination to get the better of them. As for voicing, yes, you do that better than I can.

I'll be very interested to hear your Brahms clarinet sonata. I've worked on this piece so hard, it has some fearfully difficult moments.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 8:52 pm 
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Quote:
I'm glad the two G major preludes can pass muster now, took me a great log of determination to get the better of them.


They do sound absolutely great now!

Quote:
I'll be very interested to hear your Brahms clarinet sonata. I've worked on this piece so hard, it has some fearfully difficult moments


Yes, it´s quite virtuoso for piano and I have to admit, that I have much more to fight with it than my colleague. (I think he is on the clarinet better than me on the piano. :oops: But on the other side, on the piano one has to play more tones, isn´t it?! :lol: )
Especially in the middle there is a passage (I think, it´s in the execution) I don´t feel to well with, especially in a higher tempo.

(I will step to your a-flat-pairs the next days, today we had a children´s birthday and the only thing I can do now is falling into bed - after having drunk a glass of "43". :wink: )

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 9:21 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
They do sound absolutely great now!
Haha, flattery will get you nowhere ! But good to hear anyway.

musicusblau wrote:
Yes, it´s quite virtuoso for piano and I have to admit, that I have much more to fight with it than my colleague. (I think he is on the clarinet better than me on the piano. :oops: But on the other side, on the piano one has to play more tones, isn´t it?! :lol: )
Especially in the middle there is a passage (I think, it´s in the execution) I don´t feel to well with, especially in a higher tempo.
Those must be bars 183-186/ Pretty horrific even without the devilish cross-rhythm.

musicusblau wrote:
(I will step to your a-flat-pairs the next days, today we had a children´s birthday and the only thing I can do now is falling into bed - after having drunk a glass of "43". :wink: )
Goshdarn, is that bottle still not empty yet ? You're useless :D

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:41 pm 
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Quote:
Techneut wrote:
musicusblau wrote:
Yes, it´s quite virtuoso for piano and I have to admit, that I have much more to fight with it than my colleague. (I think he is on the clarinet better than me on the piano. :oops: But on the other side, on the piano one has to play more tones, isn´t it?! :lol: )
Especially in the middle there is a passage (I think, it´s in the execution) I don´t feel to well with, especially in a higher tempo.
Those must be bars 183-186/ Pretty horrific even without the devilish cross-rhythm.


I´m more thinking of bars 116-122, somehow I can´t get to well the little third runs between. But bars 183-186 are the second virtuoso place.

Quote:
Techneut wrote:
musicusblau wrote:
(I will step to your a-flat-pairs the next days, today we had a children´s birthday and the only thing I can do now is falling into bed - after having drunk a glass of "43". :wink: )
Goshdarn, is that bottle still not empty yet ? You're useless :D


I was talking of a second bottle I have bought myself after having enjoyed the one you brought me. Phew, seems I´m not too useless. :D (And now I´m telling you something very secret: I like to mix it up with some milk in the last time, that gives a nice cocktail. :) )

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:47 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
I´m more thinking of bars 116-122, somehow I can´t get to well the little third runs between.

Oh yes that is heavy too. Not to mention that the middle notes of the chords must be kept down.

musicusblau wrote:
I was talking of a second bottle I have bought myself after having enjoyed the one you brought me. Phew, seems I´m not too useless. :D
Oh that is better :)

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:16 am 
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Hello Chris,

I listened to all four Preludes and Fugues in your set.

You are very consistent in your specific articulations throughout all your playing and this is very effective. It creates an almost visual, architectural sense of the pieces. You follow through with your ideas.

There are one or two spots that could have been a bit more even but the playing on the whole is extremely professional. The music unfolds through your technique which unveils many nuances while always staying within the main idea.

The character you bring out of each prelude and fugue is unique and fitting. There is great care in your playing. The tone is beautiful and you convey a range of moods. 

Everything seems appropriate in the execution of the embellishments. They are so carefully laid out and planned while sounding natural. That is another paradox of your interpretation. You make something sound natural while at the same time playing in a manner that impresses with the perfectly timed trills, or staccatos articulated for long phrases with exact duration and tonal roundness.

I am really impressed by your hard work and success.

Kaila Rochelle

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:11 am 
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Wow thank you Kaila ! That is a rave review if ever I got one :D
It seems almost too much praise - I can't believe they are that good. The more I get into this music, the more elusive it seems despite all the hard work and dedication. But I believe these are not bad, and I like to think old JSB would have approved of them (grudgingly maybe, he would have had some nits to pick).

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC - G
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:08 am 
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Chris,

While not perfect, it was none-the-less a beautiful performance. Your thoughts were very well organized.

-Kaila

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