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Bach: prelude and fugue in a-flat-major, WTCI, BWV 862

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by musicusblau, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I agree with the first statement but I'm not sure I agree to the second.

    In the past, piano transcriptions were often the only way for people to get to know certain music. These days everything is available, much of it for free, in splendid performances, and you can listen to any piece you want in your own time. I do not see why transcriptions should be such an important experience. Go for the real stuff ! Good as Liszt's Beethoven symphonies are, you would get a poor image of reality if you only listened to those without hearing the real thing. Transcriptions can be an added value, but they are seldom essential.
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I love that Bach-Cortot piece. I actually know it too, the melody that is - I don't know or recognize titles. Anyway, that one is a possible contender.

    But I really, really love that Bach-Kempff one! Not sure if I can do it justice, but it is no. 1 on my list for now.


    I see your point, but I'd like to play a Bach piece that is as good as the real thing. If such a thing does not exist, then maybe I'm on the wrong track here.

    Well, I think I already like/love several of his orchestral pieces, but I need guidance on which piece(s) to learn on piano.

    I seriously doubt that.
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    It's that bad isn't it ! I rest my case.
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I don't understand this.
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    It's elementary. As Alf said:

    Then if your dislike of fugues is such that you sincerely doubt you'll ever warm to them, there seems little point in bothering with Bach at all, even if you like some things he wrote. Contrapuntal harmony and development is at the core of his art and if you don't appreciate that, Bach is not for you. Except some transcriptions maybe.

    Try Rachmaninov's take on the violin Partita. I am positive Bach would have been delighted to hear that played on a grand.
     
  6. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    When it comes to piano transcriptions of orchestral works (even by Bach), pedalling is often a trade off of different options, so no default rules apply. It's up to you to choose how to reconcile all the threads in the score.

    Chris's already answered to this. But in my opinion, this is in the end a false problem. Playing Bach at the piano is already to play a transcription and, I add, even playing Bach at the harpsichord today is not really playing Bach. I leave you to guess why. :wink:
     
  7. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Of course, Chris, but I think nobody wants Monica to play Bach transcriptions without knowing the real thing, as you called it. Listening to the originals is a must, transcriptions may just enrich her musically and as a pianist.

    PS: Monica, go for the Beethoven sonatas too, when I read you didn't know the Hammerklavier I almost fell down from my chair. :cry:
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    My request was for help in choosing a Bach piece I could learn that is not a fugue, that could help me change my mind about Bach, and be something I have never before looked at. And I want to play it, not just listen to it.

    The pieces mentioned here today seem very nice, and I look forward to trying them out. Thank you. I am learning so much for you all.

    Sorry - unfortunately, there is more where that came from. I should probably stop talking here.:oops: :(
     
  9. Mark

    Mark New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I missed this conversation as it developed, but I have some thoughts and other piece suggestions. I was in the same boat as you until 5 years ago, when I HAD to play some Bach in my audition to music school. I had a few recordings of Bach by Andreas Schiff, since he was highly regarded, but I found them very tiresome and literally tiring, and would want to take a nap soon after I put them on. The big change was discovering Glenn Gould - I found his CD that has the Chromatic Fantasy and the Italian Concerto, and it really animated me concerning Bach playing.

    My perspective at the time was something like the following: The problem for me is that so much Bach playing is enshrouded (or one could say encrusted) in mystical reverence, and it sounds to me like the majority of pianists play as if they are trying to make some meditative spiritual connection with Bach The Father. Bach was a renound virtuoso in his day! For all the dreamy, wispy players, we need a counterbalance of players expressing the vigorous, virtuosic, younger Bach. (Glenn Gould and later also Friedrich Gulda filled that void for me).

    You should do some musical soul-searching and consider specifically what it is in Chopin and others that so moves you, and how that is lacking in Bach. I think there is Bach to satisfy most any musical itch if you can clarify it. Not knowing much about your musical psyche besides what I can glean from my own love of both Chopin and Bach, I think you may object to Bach's more vertical composing (greater emphasis on harmonic interactions), and prefer Chopin's more horizontal composing (more emphasis on the direction the melodic line is going). Bach has plenty of pieces that are more horizontal, but the WTC, Inventions, and Sinfonias are his most vertical keyboard works in my opinion (after all, he wrote them as concentrated instructional pieces in the art of polyphonic and fugal composition), which is why I resisted them so long and why I suspect you may dislike them.

    Some suggestions of original Bach pieces you may enjoy:
    Chromatic Fantasy (somewhat advanced, but very atypical, fantastical Bach)

    Italian Concerto (as mentioned before, the 2nd movement is very beautiful - the 1st and 3rd are very fun in a virtuosic, perpetual motion way)

    Concerto after Marcello (1st & 3rd movements are very virtuosic and playful and the 2nd is Extremely beautiful and meditative - all very similar to the Italian Concerto, but less commonly known)

    Any of the French and English Suites or Partitas (To tackle an entire one is a big undertaking, but there are numerous wonderful miniatures to be found by playing single movements - French Suite No. 5 4th movement [gavotte] is probably the most famous, followed perhaps by the 7th movement [gigue] of the same suite. The last movement of the 1st Partita is virtually a hand crossing etude, with the left hand performing a busy accompaniment in the mid range, and the right hand jumping back and forth to make soprano and bass melodies both dance. Playing around in these might be the best place to start, as there are plenty of movements that are just one or two pages.)

    I agree with the suggestions of Bach transcriptions mentioned by other members. I could go on and on here, but I've already given you plenty to read. I hope you discover something you like:)
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks very much, Mark. Wow - I think this is the first time I am understanding something about all of this. Your description of vertical vs. horizontal makes sense to me and I'm sure you are correct in saying that is why I dislike the WTC, inventions, etc. When I listen to them, I can hear different notes and melodies and things like that, but in general they all sound alike to me.

    I will check out those other pieces you listed, although "Chromatic Fantasy" sound a little scary, and forget about that piece that is like a cross-handed etude. Probably too hard for me.

    btw - I once felt that I did not care for Glen Gould because of his eccentricities, but it seems like he is the one whose playing I like the most, so I am going to spend more time watching and listening to him. At least I will try to find the time - also have to listen to all the Beethoven sonatas! :wink:
     
  11. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Why? Bigots often fall from chairs. :roll: :lol:
     
  12. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Bach

    These sound wonderful to me. I'm not a Bach expert, but I can tell you play them very well.
     
  13. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Techneut wrote:
    I agree totally, it would be poor, only to play piano-transcriptions of symphonies and not to listen and to study the originals, but this wasn´t, what I wanted to say. I only wanted to express, that for me personal it is an enrichment sometimes to play a piano-transcription of a symphony, because it´s the only way to experience it by "self-doing", that means by interpreting it myself. Unfortunately I´m not the conductor of a professional symphony-orchestra and I have no one in my living-room... :lol:
     
  14. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Re: Bach

    Thank you for your encouraging comment, John. :D
     
  15. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Alf wrote:
    Of course, I agree hundert percent to this and I never wanted to say, that one should play a transcription INSTEAD OF to listen to the original, but as an additional, essential and alive experience!
     
  16. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Mark wrote:
    Very interesting. I´m permanently between these two (Andras Schiff and Glenn Gould). If I play a Bach-piece, I very often listen to the interpretation of this piece by Andras Schiff and then I compare with the one of Glenn Gould of the same piece, and I have to admit, in much cases I prefer the one of Glenn Gould, though I appreciate Schiff very much, too. But mostly there are worlds between them.

    That´s also a very interesting aspect for me, but there are some pieces of Bach, which have really this meditative character and Glenn Gould expresses this very often, too, but in his way and manner.

    Good and true ideas here IMO.

    These two I like especially, too. I suggested the second movement of Italian Concerto (which I have still recorded for this site completely). It is also in the "air"-style and I like to play the bass detached here (I have to admit, this idea I have from Gould). The Chromatic Fantasy I played a long time ago in a piano-competition. This one is also really beautiful, but the fantasy is -like a prelude- to a fugue - as the title says- which Monica doesn´t want. But the fantasy is really full of fantasy :wink: , a very good piece, which I could recommend to Monica, too.
     
  17. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    As I mentioned above I have rerecorded the prelude and I corrected the wrong note. I also improved my articulation after your suggestion, Chris, to play all the eigth non legato. I nearly play them all non legato now. From my view this version of the prelude has much improved. Also the agogic and dynamics are more subtle now. The fugue is the old version.

    Could one of the site-administrators replace the old file, please? I decided not to rerecord the prelude in g-major, because the fast wrong note is nearly inaudible. My next step is now to go to prelude and fugue g-sharp-minor.

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Bach - Prelude & Fugue in A-flat Major, BWV 862
     
  18. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ok, it is replaced, Andreas.
     
  19. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Pianolady wrote:
    Thank you very much, Monica. :D (I still have answered to your question concerning the best editions in the Repertoire-forum.)
     
  20. Franz Josef Streuff

    Franz Josef Streuff New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello Andreas, back from my holidays I am surprised to find your performance of Prelude + Fugue in a-flat major so soon. You chose a good speed of the prelude -as usual- and I enjoyed the gaiety and cheerfulness of your interpretation. The fugue once more convinced me because of your steadiness and self-confident attitude, even in the dense and more difficult passages of the piece. With respect to J.S.Bach's piano music you have reached a point of pleasant and easy playing. I guess nobody can stop you. Ha, ha, ha . . . . . . :lol:
     

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