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Bach - English suite No. 5 in E minor - Prelude

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Francois de Larrard, Jan 30, 2016.

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Do you vote for putting this piece in the PianoSociety data base ?

Poll closed Feb 27, 2016.
  1. Yes

    3 vote(s)
    75.0%
  2. No

    1 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Dear All,
    Please find the first piece of this English suite. Quite a great and brisk prelude at 6/8 having a form A-B-A. I will propose the rest of the suite in the next months.
    Thanks for your feed back !
     

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  2. MarkieUK

    MarkieUK Member Piano Society Artist

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    A very nice, accurate rendition of this movement. You can here the counterpoint clearly. The only criticism I could make is that there could be a bit more dynamic shading (though this could be difficult if you're using a digital piano).
     
  3. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you Mark. I'm not sure to understand what you mean by 'dynamic shading'. Are you saying that there is too much dynamics, and that I should eg add compression in the sound treatment? BTW I play an acoustic piano here, not a digital one...
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  4. MarkieUK

    MarkieUK Member Piano Society Artist

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    I meant that (through my laptop speakers at least) it sounded as though the one thing that could be improved would be to increase the level of dynamic contrast in places. Obviously in Bach it's a matter of opinion :)
     
  5. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    ... more a matter of technique and piano ! I agree, I would like to do more contrast in dynamics. The difficulty is to keep a firm and controlled touch, avoiding 'blank' notes. Also, I normally keep my piano closed when I practice. When I record, I open it and the sound level is terrific, given the size of the room. Therefore I tend to retain my playing, which resticts the range of possible volumes. I would need a 100-m2 room with this instrument (that I used to have in my previous house, but not in the current one!).
     
  6. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Well done! My only gripe is about tempo instability, the beginning is slower than the end, and something strange happens around 0'18''. Otherwise it is clean and musical to my ears, though I am no Bach expert.
     
  7. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks Joachim ! Your point is right: it took me some time to find the 'cruse tempo' for this piece. Furthermore, I had to edit a part of a measure and I have pasted a patch coming from another take with a faster tempo. I thought it was hardly audible, but you did not miss it. Congrats !
     
  8. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi François,
    you know, I'm quite critical concerning Bach playing, so I hope you don't mind some remarks. ;)
    From bar 9 on you rush away. I'm sorry to say, but for me the tempo difference to the beginning is too high. I'm missing the voicing, which is so important especially in Bachs music. Two pages before the end I have heard some slips respective wrong notes. Unfortunately my score has no bar numbers, but I could count them and tell you exactly the places, if you would like me to do that. I found also some nice musical moments and agogic, but for me this would need a re-recording.
    I'm curious on the next movements, you are a very good and experienced pianist, but I think some things should be better elaborated here.
     
  9. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks Andreas for your carefull listening. Yes, you're right, I have to re-record it. The minor slips do not matter so much, I think, but the acceleration is excessive, and too rapid. BTW, it's pretty difficult to keep a metronomic tempo in a 8-page piece, and it can make something boring to listen (many Bach's recordings are perfect but liveless). However in this case, I agree the acceleration comes too early and with no musical justification. I have now to repractice the piece and to find a time slot to record... but this is my problem ! Best regards,
     
  10. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Yes, I agree that the main problem is the sudden rushing at the beginning, which has no musical reason. I also dislike a "metronomical" playing of Bachs music, but rubati should comd from inside and from musical reasons. Minor slips don't play a role, I think, too. Voicing for me is absolutely necessary in Bachs music. (But Chris didn't do it either, btw.)
     
  11. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    BTW, I'm not sure to understand what you mean by 'I'm missing the voicing'. Are you talking the vertical blocks of notes that are written at a few places (although the piece is mainly a two or three-part counterpoint) ?
     
  12. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    With "voicing" I mean to point out respective to underline certain voices by playing them a bit louder than the others, which are simultanous. Often it´s the main subject, which should be "voiced out", but sometimes it can be also a counterpoint, especially if it is an "obligate counterpoint" (german: obligater Kontrapunkt). (Sorry, I´m not sure, if the english verbalisation is right.)

    (Btw, could you also comment to my newest Winterreise-Songs, please? I think, the sense of this site is receiving comments but also leaving comments to the recordings of the commentators. I know, you agree to me in that point. I didn´t receive any comment here on my newest recordings more than a week, which is a bit frustrating, to say it honestly and frankly, especially since I have always commented all your recordings here and did a lot of work "behind the curtains" here for all members during the last weeks.)
     
  13. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hello Andreas,
    Thanks for the precision on the 'voicing' term. As a matter of fact, I am used to see this word in the jazz context, were 'voicing' means the chord (several notes played together) you play on left hand to acompany the melody generally played with the right hand. Nothing to see with your meaning ! Now, should we systematically play louder a fugue theme in a contrapuntical piece ? As all pianists, I do that quite often, but note that this is impossible to perform on the harpsichord or on the organ, which were main Bach's keyboard instruments. Sometimes, doing that systematically on the piano may be quite heavy and too predictable, IMHO...
    Finally, I have listened your Schuberts and I will comment them. If I did not yet, it is because I wanted to re-listen them with the score, that I have not in my current place. Be patient ! Regards,
     
  14. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I didn't mean to play the subject always louder, of course, that would be boring, that's why I mentioned also the counterpoints. And sometimes maybe you underline nothing. A true artistic piano playing is always with a certain consciousness concerning voicing. Listen to nearly all famous modern pianists like Andras Schiff and many others and you will see what I mean. You also could listen to my recordings of fugues of the WTC , which I have nearly complete on this site. Since the modern piano has the possibility to make nuances between voices, it's useful and usual to use it. Bach wrote his WTC also for the new hammer piano and also the organ and harpsichord do have these possibilities by using registers.
    With best regards
    Andreas
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  15. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hello everybody,
    I ended up finding the time to re-practice and re-record this long prelude. Still not perfect, but I don't think I can do better... I hope Pr. Andreas will accept this one ;). I am doing another post for three more pieces of the suite.
     

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  16. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Francois,
    in summary that´s a bit better, but from bar 9 on there still is this enormous rushing (increasement of tempo), I don´t see any reason in this composition and style to do that. A few bars later the tempo becomes more stabil again, but there are some places the tempo differences, which exceed a the normal way even of a quite romantic agogic. (I know a good old method against such problems: practise with a metronome!) I think, you are a quite romantic Bach player with a fine feeling for the harmonical nuances of tension and you bring them out well in your playing.
    I also do that in my Bach interpretations very often and I also do some agogic, but I never do so much tempo differences. Sometime I have the feeling, you are simply not sitting steadily in your sattle, what a good horseman should do, but you let you carry along by your wild horse. ;)
    Seriously, the tempo difference in bar 9 following for my taste still is too high, later it could be accepted with more than much tolerance.
    There still are some small slips at some few places, but I think, you can not do it better as you have said yourself.
    I personally would not publish a recording of baroque music with such a tempo difference at the beginning, I would try to cut the passage out and to rerecord only that passage. But it´s your decision. If you decide to put in on the mainpage, feel free to do that.
    I´m your musical friend here and I don´t want to become your fun killer.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2016
  17. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Andreas,
    Frankly, I don't find this acceleration so enormous. I don't want to play as a computer... Of course I'd like to play such a piece with absolutely to slip, but this is currently beyond my possibilities. For the musical aspects, I am more satisfied and so this is my best offer for PS !
     
  18. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    At the beginning you are playing eigth about 152 bpm, from bar 9 on you have eigth about 168 bpm. I would call this quite big acceleration. Of course, you should not play like a computer, but Bach requires a certain steadiness of tempo, which is the base for the whole movement. There is enough possibility to bring soul and sensation in within a certain agogic.
    But to increase the base beat like that simply is not adequate to Bachs music (and to music of baroque generally).
    And frankly, that´s a mistake, usually only beginners do and not experienced pianists like you!
     
  19. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    As a third party, I feel the first six or so seconds are rather disconnected from what follows - the introduction feels rather abstract and indefinite and only when both hands are there does the music feel, imo, as if it knows where it is going. This isn't really my field of music performance, so all I can observe of the rest is that your facility with clarity of ornamentation is admirable, and the occasional very small stumbles didn't bother me at all.
     
  20. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you Andrew. Perhaps I am feeling more or less consciously that this introduction needs some type of declamation before entering in the bulk of the prelude. Regards
     

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