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 Post subject: Bach - WTC I B flat major and minor
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:24 pm 
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Despite having been very busy lately I have diligently practiced on my pieces to record. Today the Gaveau was tuned and I made some time to record some of the stuff I'd been working on. I hope the noise of the machines outside (they're repaving our street, have been since last november :roll: ) is not audible. Looking forward to the usual list of picked nits :)

Bach - BWV 866 - Das Wolhtemperierte Clavier I - Prelude and Fugue No.21 in B flat major (3:15)
Bach - BWV 867 - Das Wolhtemperierte Clavier I - Prelude and Fugue No.22 in B flat minor (6:32)

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC I B flat major and minor
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:34 pm 
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Hi Chris,

I had a listen to your latest installments in your project to record the complete WTC! I like these, the Bb major prelude is an amazing show of speed (and your piano must have good action to rebound after a note is pressed and not soon after you play it again!) The fugue is cheery and brings to mind the explorative spirit of Bach. I noticed you played slightly louder when playing a passage that ascends in the register. I think this is a good practice, given that no dynamic markings exist in these scores.

The Bb minor I think you render with a nice understated style, I think the slower tempo you use here matches the melancholy mood. Interestingly the prelude reminds me in a way of another pair the 863, but not of the prelude, the fugue! And the start of this fugue, how interesting (and quite modern, to hear an F natural and then an F# an octave up. That's something my former teacher who is very contemporary composer would do !)

look forward to your next pairs (and also from Andreas :P )

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC I B flat major and minor
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:17 pm 
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I am familiar with the B flat major, and they sounded fine. (I'm not familiar with the minor, but they sounded fine, too.)
I'm no Bach expert, but I did want to tell you that through my speakers, I heard no environmental noise.
Congratulations on another step in this difficult ladder.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC I B flat major and minor
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:02 pm 
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Riley and Stu, thanks for the thumbs-up :) Good that the street noise can't be heard - thanks goodness my room is not at the front of the house.

I think these are presentable but the B flat major Prelude has some tiny flaws in the fast runs. So it needs to be redone before someone pecks on it. This afternoon I started re-recording and was just getting into it when suddenly the central D went limp. The hammer no longer reaches the strings for some reason best known to itself. Damn, it's just been tuned and now I have to wait for it to be fixed. Life can be such a bitch :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC I B flat major and minor
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:42 am 
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Hi Chris,

My sympathies about the broken key. It is nearly as bad as a broken finger, isn't it?

B flat minor: beautiful to listen to and I'm sure a fine addition to the site. You played them with a lot of restraint and I felt that worked better in the prelude than the fugue -- the fugue could have had a lot more dynamic variation to help distinguish the phrases -- but is still quite enjoyable as is. In the prelude I'm glad you didn't get any more fancy than necessary; your approach brought out the beauty of the piece without over-doing it.

B flat major: really great. Especially good was the well-planned and well-executed voicing, particularly in the prelude, and also in the fugue.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC I B flat major and minor
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:08 am 
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hreichgott wrote:
My sympathies about the broken key. It is nearly as bad as a broken finger, isn't it?

I don't know about that, praise be :) But it sure is a pain.

hreichgott wrote:
B flat minor: beautiful to listen to and I'm sure a fine addition to the site. You played them with a lot of restraint and I felt that worked better in the prelude than the fugue -- the fugue could have had a lot more dynamic variation to help distinguish the phrases -- but is still quite enjoyable as is. In the prelude I'm glad you didn't get any more fancy than necessary; your approach brought out the beauty of the piece without over-doing it.

B flat major: really great. Especially good was the well-planned and well-executed voicing, particularly in the prelude, and also in the fugue.

Thanks for the praise ! And for not bitching about the uneven notes in the B flat major prelude.
The B flat minor pair is one of the most wondrous of all. The fugue has so many overlapping voices that it is hard to bring them all out but I did my best for it. I believe expression and atmosphere here do prevail over contrapuntal prowess. If that makes sense at all :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC I B flat major and minor
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 4:20 pm 
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Hi Chris,
here are my small 5 cents to your new Bach renditions. :wink:
BWV866
Prelude: bar 4: the last run is a bit unexact, I miss the a flat in the left hand.
bar 13/14: too much pedal in the run at the beginning.
Apart from these things this is a convincing interpretation, which even has some artistic moments and a good flow for my feeling, like it should be in this kind of prelude.

Fugue: this seems a flawless performance to me with not too much expression and without voicing, but o.k., and with a moderate tempo, which is possible for this theme for my taste. The prelude is played more artisticly and I like it more.

BWV 867
Prelude: quite nicely played with some lyrical approaches to an artistic agogic. It´s a good (and usual) idea to pronounce a bit the upbeat (fourth eigth), but only if there is a dominant-chord or so, which has more tension than the following (f.ex. tonica), so I personally wouldn´t do it in all the cases. For my taste the tempo is a little bit too fast. I feel it to be a bit slower, but that´s a matter of personal taste, of course.

Fugue: bravo, here I hear (the first time in your playing of Bach-fugues?) some attempts of a consequent voicing and most of them are really not bad, some could be clearer (mainly in the middle voices). I like your tempo here. Nice interpretation. A wonderful and deep fugue, isn´t it?!

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC I B flat major and minor
PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 7:15 pm 
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Yowza... not just the usual two, but 5 cents. I feel special :D

musicusblau wrote:
Prelude: bar 4: the last run is a bit unexact, I miss the a flat in the left hand.
bar 13/14: too much pedal in the run at the beginning.
Apart from these things this is a convincing interpretation, which even has some artistic moments and a good flow for my feeling, like it should be in this kind of prelude.

Yes it's a pity about the smudged runs, I only noticed that after recording. It would have been fine if not for that. I'll need to redo this.

musicusblau wrote:
Fugue: this seems a flawless performance to me with not too much expression and without voicing, but o.k.,

"Not too much expression" in the sense of too little expression, I guess ? I have to disagree here. It's there, just maybe more subtle than some would like it. And if you hear no voicing at all you'll need to have your ears checked, or listen again. The fact that it could be better in places (which I am
fully aware of) does not mean it's not there. I think my voicing is often thwarted by too loud phrase endings in the RH. A fault that requires constant attention.

musicusblau wrote:
Fugue: bravo, here I hear (the first time in your playing of Bach-fugues?) some attempts of a consequent voicing and most of them are really not bad, some could be clearer (mainly in the middle voices).

This certainly isn't my first "attempt" at bringing out voices. I'm not as good as you in that respect, and probably will never be, but I'm working on it and getting better. I have to admit I sometimes struggle not getting irritated by your constant mentioning of my insufficient (or even missing) voicing. But I also have to admit that it works :) So thanks for the feedback even if I don't always agree fully.

musicusblau wrote:
I like your tempo here. Nice interpretation. A wonderful and deep fugue, isn´t it?!

Yes, it is a marvel. So deep and dense. I feel very strongly for this one. But I believe it takes a real master rather than an enthusiastic amateur to bring out all 5 voices properly.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC I B flat major and minor
PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 9:49 pm 
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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
Yowza... not just the usual two, but 5 cents. I feel special :D


Wow, "yowza", that must be something like in german "juchhu", isn´t it? Yes, you should, so you see what you are worth to me. :) :wink:

Quote:
I'll need to redo this.


If you think so, but for my taste these small niggles of mine are not such a big deal.

Quote:
"Not too much expression" in the sense of too little expression, I guess ?


No, it´s just your manner to play (most) of the Bach-pieces with not too much emotion and you want to let speak the music more for itself (as you have mentioned at several places) and that´s o.k., I think. It´s a philosophy, which many Bach-interpreters have. (I personally try to work out some structures in the Bach-pieces and to fill them with soul, which may be can be considered as a more subjective and in some way more spontaneous way of Bach-playing. None of these two manners is the better one IMHO.)

Quote:
And if you hear no voicing at all you'll need to have your ears checked, or listen again.


Even relistening does not let me get your elephant ears, Chris! Seems there is only the way to the ear-doctor for me. :cry: :wink:

Quote:
The fact that it could be better in places (which I am fully aware of) does not mean it's not there. I think my voicing is often thwarted by too loud phrase endings in the RH. A fault that requires constant attention.


IMhO the "trick" is to focus (concentrate) most on the voice you want to bring out and to "relax" the other fingers, which play the other voices. Of course, I´m also not able to do this perfectly in all the cases. :!:

Quote:
I have to admit I sometimes struggle not getting irritated by your constant mentioning of my insufficient (or even missing) voicing. But I also have to admit that it works :) So thanks for the feedback even if I don't always agree fully.


I just mention it (always), because for me personally it´s such an important matter in fugues generally, may be the main aspect for artistic piano playing related to fugues. But I can stop to mention it, if it irritates you, of course. I don´t want to irritate anyone or to make him struggle for something (angellike as I am). :twisted: :wink: But what do you mean exactly, if you say "it works"? Do you mean, that the fact, I critizise your voicing, helps you? So should I continue to mention it or not? I´m a bit unsure now. Of course, it´s not necessary you agree to my critique (fully).

Quote:
to bring out all 5 voices properly.

As good as I have brought out my 5 cents properly? Yes, you are right! :lol: :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - WTC I B flat major and minor
PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 10:06 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
If you think so, but for my taste these small niggles of mine are not such a big deal.

Oh don't you go all soft on me now ! Now that I can (mostly) avoid blatantly wrong notes, I've come to consider missed or unclear notes to be a big deal.

musicusblau wrote:
I just mention it (always), because for me personally it´s such an important matter in fugues generally, may be the main aspect for artistic piano playing related to fugues. But I can stop to mention it, if it irritates you, of course. I don´t want to irritate anyone or to make him struggle for something. :twisted: :wink: But what do you mean exactly, if you say "it works"? Do you mean, that the fact, I critizise your voicing, helps you? So should I continue to mention it or not? I´m a bit unsure now.

It has helped me a lot, as has feedback by other PS people, however harsh (HA ! thought I'd use the H-word for a change :lol: )
By all means continue it, but go easy and be a bit more specific. Saying a particular piece is played without voicing does not really help, even if it were true :P

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