Thank you to those who donated to Piano Society in 2017.

Bach Prelude and Fugue Book 1 No. 17 A Flat Major

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by echoyjeff222, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. echoyjeff222

    echoyjeff222 Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Last Name:
    Lee
    First Name:
    Jeffrey
    Hi all,

    Been awhile since I've been on here ... was busy all summer studying for the MCAT!

    I was hoping for some feedback on this piece I've been working on throughout the summer. It's my second prelude & fugue that I've played from the WTC. I am falling in love with Bach and baroque music -- hard to imagine I used to hate it because it was "boring." I find the organization and structure so enticing now that I'm a bit older ...

    Thanks :)
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    Quality stuff Jeff ! I think you still need to make this piece your own, but you are certainly doing the right things and being aware of what is important here. I find the tempo fluctuations in the prelude (less so in the fugue) a bit distracting, a firmer pulse would help. The voicing in this fugue is particularly tricky, especially when the subject is in the alto or tenor, and you are doing well here, though sometimes the entry of the subject is a little clunky. I believe this to be more than
    good enough to go live on the site - though you'll need to submit at least two more recordings of different repertoire.

    Yes, that is how Bach works, I well know it. He'll get you in the end... resistance is futile ;-)
     
  3. echoyjeff222

    echoyjeff222 Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Last Name:
    Lee
    First Name:
    Jeffrey
    thanks for the reply! I definitely agree with you on the fugue re the entry of the subject -- sometimes it was really difficult for my fingers to smoothly make the transition because there were some pretty big jumps.

    is there anything specific you can say about the "making it your own?" I felt like I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out what kind of expression I wanted to instill in the prelude and fugue (for bach it seems like i can't make a "story" like i usually do with other pieces, but more of a guiding theme) ... for me I was trying to make the prelude very light and happy, while trying to make the fugue a bit more introspective and song-like.

    well i don't think i'll have more pieces ready for awhile LOL, school just started. I'm working on the moonlight sonata right now, though, and I'm starting a chopin prelude soon. thanks for the feedback, though!
     
  4. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Church Musician, Choral Accompanist, Musical Theat
    Location:
    Illinois
    Jeff,

    You played this very well and this is a worthy recording for this site. You have the notes, and a sense of the music. I can see, though, why Chris said that you need to make it yours. You have the notes in the right places and well connected, but it is to aloof.

    My major "gripe" is that you start the prelude at a certain tempo, and a lovely tempo it was, but by 5 to 6 seconds in it slowed, obviously, and then it started to slow again. It lost that brightness that you had because of that. While I think your original tempo was right for this piece, if you had made sure to start at the tempo that you ended up, it may have worked, even though you started slower.

    As far as the fugue, those are tricky busters and I don't know if we may not have bigger expectations than even Bach himself ever did. Of course, with the harpsichord, you did not need to worry about shaping lines dynamically, you only dealt with articulations. On a piano we have to think about the inner voices much more. I think that you did a good job and you are obviously an accomplished pianist. Good job.

    Scott
     
  5. johngrant

    johngrant New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired Attorney
    Location:
    Toronto
    Home Page:
    Last Name:
    Grant
    First Name:
    John
    I don't hang out here all that these days. Mea Culpa.

    Anyhow: beautifully recorded, that's for sure. The mics, the piano, all very good.

    Performance:
    prelude: ditto the previous remarks about the waning tempo. More than a few folks have likened this prelude to a "dance." I've never been comfortable with anything even slightly programmatic in describing Bach. But, it seems to apply. So the tempo must (or may profitably perhaps is better wording!) reflect a dance-like quality or energy. The solid chords that punctuate the prelude really need to be more pronounced (just my opinion).

    fugue: the p and pp seem to me in exactly the right place. The tempo is perfect, strict and uniform throughout, which from my point of view is what works with the A Flat Major Fugue. Dignified but also serene and certain of where it's headed: that is well-reflected in this interpretation!

    I wonder what more legato (ergo legato fingering) would do, in some places, at least? It could be the recording, or the sustaining capacity of the instrument, but as a listener i'm thinking: this interpretation of the fugue is so right in so many ways, but more projection and sonority with this--the "Cathedral" fugue--might really improve things a lot!

    The ending of the fugue, starting I guess about measure 23, needs (just my personal taste) to be very "grand," for want of a better word. So we have more volume, or increasing volume at this penultimate point, leading to a powerful ending.

    The ending, to be powerful, may not (alternatively) need to be f or ff; there may be other ways of achieving finality. But the "finality" must be there!

    My 3 cents.

    JG
     

Share This Page