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Bach BWV 682- Vater unser im Himmelreich

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I know organ music is not everybody's cup of tea here, but I'm proud to have at last completed Bach's Clavier Übung III, also known as the German organ Mass (completed, but not done.... a couple of items badly need to be rerecorded).

    This ingenious chorale
    Bach - BWV 682 - Clavier Übung III - Vater unser im Himmelreich(8:37)
    took me an awful long time to get the hang of. Generally considered Bach's most difficult chorale, it may sound quite laid back but it's a mighty complex and demanding thing, boasting two different rhythms (triplets against a Lombardic step), a walking pedal bass, and two voices in the middle singing the cantus firmus in canon. The occasional dissonances that are necessarily created by the voices grinding against each other are just amazing. Nobody but Bach could have created something like this.
     
  2. sarah

    sarah New Member

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    This piece doesn't sound easy at all! On the contrary, it sounded very complex and detailed. I understand about the polyrhythms - love to hear them, hate to play them. :wink: It seemed like you whopped them and then some. :D I loved how the voices were almost "competing" against each other during the course of the work and kept a certain tension going. Sorry I can't offer any suggestions, but I very much enjoyed listening!
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, Sarah, glad you liked it. Just curious, did you notice any of the cuts ? I needed quite some... but I think it still sounds a whole.
    Bach is very fond, especially in the organ works, of making the voices overlap, cross, and sometimes compete. My teacher's learned me to recognize and cherish these moments of dissonance. You hardly ever find them with any other baroque composers. Even when looking back, using age-old hymns, he was way ahead of his time. It seems to me that in the organ works he is at his greatest, as far as keyboard writing concerns.
     
  4. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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    I've not actually heard this piece before (Bach's musical output is so vast that I've probably only listened to less than half of his works), but enjoyed this performance and didn't notice any gaps either.

    I actually do quite a lot of cuts for my own performances as well and is one of the reasons why I use Pianoteq instead of properly micing up a piano, as it's probably very tricky to seamlesly link together multiple takes on a real acoustic piano. The organ perhaps is a bit simpler to combine cuts as the volume level of notes remain constant, but you did a good job anyway :)
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, that's good to hear. Actually I think the final reverb mostly shmooths out the edits in sofar as they were audible at all.

    If only that were the case. In fact the wave format and volume often differ considerably between multiple takes of the same passage, even if they're played identically. I don't know why that is, but it makes cutting organ takes far tougher than with piano where you see a sharp attack and decay.
     
  6. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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    Ah yes, good point :) (reveals how little experience I have playing the organ)
     
  7. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Chris, I think, you did a very good job here. I have thoroughly enjoyed this performance with that pregnant Lombardic rhyhthm and I like it very much! I haven´t heard any cut, but I didn´t listen with headphones, but with my loudspeakers, with which one normally doesn´t hear cuts so well.
    Yes, the triplets against the Lombardic rhythm, I guess one has to practise quite a lot on this, practising both hands separately. I also have learned to appreciate that great moments of dissonances in Bachs music. That´s what his music makes so modern! I really love that and I´m sure, if he had been allowed to (by his time and his listeners) he would have written a still progressiver music concerning the employment of dissonances. But in his time there were many people who disliked his music and said, it is much too modern.
    Guess, what I have seen on the screen on my media-player (I´m using Vlc-player for playing back recordings): there was a picture of us both playing four hands! Did you add it to your recording? If so, that was a very nice surprise, thank you! We really had a great time together in summer and I´m looking forward very much to our next meeting. :D
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for that ! I did not specifically have to practice that rhythm, it seems to come natural to me. I don't think if you would listen in slow motion it would be entirely consistent though.

    No idea where your player gets that picture from !? I certainly did not put that in. The file is created by Cooledit and all I do is add the tags in iTunes. I know you can add 'artwork' to an mp3 but I never even tried it.
    It seems I am getting better at making cuts in my organ stuff. It helps to choose the places where all hands and feet are off the keys.
     
  9. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Techneut wrote:
    When I have listened to Davids Medtner, I had a nice woman with flowers in the player, when I listened to MOnicas Bartok-dances I had a picture of Monica in it, while listening to John Andersons Brahms I had a picture of John Anderson in it and while I have listened to your Bach I had a picture of us both playing four hands in it. So, it seems you must have put the picture to your recording without knowing it, isn´t it?
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    That must be it. Maybe I got sleepwalking last night and did it then. Either that or you have a highly intelligent player that goes to the internet (or searches the local PC) for an image with a text that matches the tags in the mp3. That seems more likely.... because there is no artwork in John's Brahms pieces. I know because I put them up. I would have noticed it because very few artists do that. I think Setrak Setrakian was the only one actually.
     
  11. sarah

    sarah New Member

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    Like most everyone else, I did not hear any cuts - the whole piece sounded very cohesive. Congrats on pulling off what I suspect to be a very difficult editing job!

    I agree wholeheartedly that Bach's organ works are probably his best keyboard inventions. I must admit that I find myself much more attracted to them than to the harpsichord/piano works (a terrible thing to say, I know, but I'll go ahead and say it :roll: :wink: ). I have several recordings of Bach's organ works, and they get played often.
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    It was more work than usual, due to the larger than usual number, and I had to try multiple possibilities for each one. I was pleasantly surprised that there are no tempo differences to speak of.

    I'm with you there ! Obviously I revere the WTC, KDF, and Goldbergs as much as anyone. But the organ works seem to have something special. Partly because you can't well play a 'trio' piece on piano/harpsichord, partly because of the extra possibilities in creating sound, partly because of the devotional background of much of Bach's organ works. Somehow that last aspect strikes a chord with me even though I am not religious. I always prefer the chorales about the other works (with the exception of the Trio Sonatas).
     
  13. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Nice to listen to the organ for some variety. About the only chance I get to hear this instrument is on the rare occasions (meaning only Christmas and Easter, if that :p ) I attend the church where my Dad plays.

    It does sound like a complicated piece! Extremely surprising dissonances, at least for me. Nice job overall dealing with those as well as the dense polyrhythmic textures. I guess I'm not totally sure what to look for in an organ performance, but overall I'd say I was convinced :) The only possible piece of advice I would have is that maybe, though your tempo seemed generally consistent, some of the internal rhythms could be tighter, clearer, and more precise. I can hear how difficult that is though!

    I agree that it's a quasi-otherworldy effect such as only Bach could bring to life. He may have some stiff competition on the keyboard, but IMO too he's the undisputed king of the organ.

    Joe
     
  14. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes I noticed some spots where the triplets vs. lombardic step got a bit mushy. I'll probably want to re-record this one in a later stage - I don't like that it has so many cuts (even if they can hardly be heard). But good to hear it was convincing, and thanx for the feedback.
     
  15. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    Wow, Chris—what unusual dissonances (as you and others have pointed out). I know so little about organ (and confess to it not being a personal favorite) but the piece sounds quite solidly played to me. And no—I couldn't begin to hear any cuts, though I was listening for one.

    Congratulations on this!
     
  16. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    Bravo!

    I found this chorale most unusual with its on-going chromaticisms, crossing polyphonies, wonderful dissonances, ever changing modalities between major and minor, and I absolutely loved the cadence that unfolds bit by bit ending the coda. It sounds as if there are some tricky rhythms and ornaments throughout. You did a superb job in my opinion integrating all the complexities to give this difficult work fine fluidity and coherence for the first-time listener, like me. This work is a masterpiece and sounds as though it were composed just yesterday. I would bet that this chorale is an earlier organ work of Bach. Excellent playing! For me, performance is everything, so I never listen for cuts, mentioned in some of the other responses here, as that is just editing.

    David
     
  17. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks David, that is high praise indeed. When I started with this piece every bar was a struggle, and to even get to the end was physically and mentally exhausting. Some passages brought me close to despair and I thought I'd never get the hang of it. But seems like the many months of patiently chipping away at it have paid off. It's a masterpiece of the highest order. Not an early work I think, the Clavier Ubung was published in 1739 and this kind of complexity is not IMO characteristic of early Bach.
     
  18. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you ! I'll continue to bend you good people's ears with organ stuff every now and then. It is my belief that every pianist should try and play the organ. It's character building :)
     
  19. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    Chris, I actually did a bit, in college, come to think of it. We piano majors had to take up a second instrument for a few semesters. And I was so obsessed with the piano, that I figured if chose the organ, I wouldn't lose any precious piano practice time by actually having to learn something new.

    It was a great plan til I tried using the pedal! So I do have some inkling of the added dimension of skill you organists have.

    Which reminds me. When I was just out of school and needed work, I met a guy who who worked for a very fine organ builder, here in Los Angeles. He used to pay me to go around with him from church to church, sit at the organ, and play one note at a time, so he could tune. So I guess you could say I ended up playing the organ—professionally.

    OK—the name of that organ builder miraculously just came to my mind. His name is Manuel Rosales. This was in the 70's. I just googled his name, and what do I see—he ended up building the organ at Disney Hall! Holy cow. I worked for the best.

    A few times, I not only helped him tune, but also went to Rosales's home, where he had hundreds of small organ parts laid out on tables where a crew of us had to clean and glue various little valves and things. Geez, if I had just stuck around, I could have had my name on the Disney organ. :D

    And there you have it—my complete repertoire of organ stories.

    Update: Rosales was the boss, but my friend (the apprentice) who tuned was Richard Bond. I just google his name and see that he's doing very well too. He talks about his days servicing organs in L.A. in this article. I can't believe he doesn't mention me. :wink:

    http://www.bondorgans.com/philosphy_interview.html
     
  20. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Haha yes, I had that idea too. A typical pianist's arrogance... "Oh, I can play the piano, so playing the organ will be a breeze." Well, not so - not even if you stick to manualiter pieces. It's pretty confrontational, especially when you take lessons and the first thing they say is "you play like a pianist". That's definitely not what you want. Having taken the (considerable) effort to learn it properly, it has proven to be hugely beneficial to my piano playing too. That is why I can recommend it to anyone.

    But, I'm impressed by your organ pedigree :D
     

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