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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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Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 4:43 pm
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Location: Brazil
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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Location: Brazil
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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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
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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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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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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Location: Brazil
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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