DONATION STATUS
Needed before 2016-12-31
$ 2,500
So far donated
$ 750

Bach - WTC F sharp

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
  2. hanysz

    hanysz New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Pianist
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Home Page:
    WEBSITE:
    http://hanysz.net
    LOCATION:
    Adelaide, Australia
    I'm commenting only on BWV 882, since it's the one I've played most recently. I found the prelude a bit too "right-handed"--the counterpoint is all invertible, so I'd sometimes like to hear the left hand sound louder than the right to give a sense of dialogue. Also for my taste you can afford to relax (slow down slightly) at phrase endings sometimes. For what it's worth, in bar 52 for the LH I play A sharp as the second note. All the scores I've checked have G sharp, as you play it, but it just sounds wrong to my ears. I've heard it played both ways, so there seems to be no consensus.

    The fugue I think is one of the most difficult in WTC--even though it's only three voices, it doesn't lie under the hands comfortably, there are a lot of leaps, and the ornaments are difficult to bring off. On the whole your playing is very clear and you've met most of the challenges successfully. But you could have made it a lot easier for yourself by not insisting on so much legato--the 6ths suggest a more detached style of playing, which would help to bring out the gavotte character, and it's also easier to play that way. Be careful with the voicing in places such as bars 26-27--I think you need to play the alto voice louder than the soprano in order for it to make sense.

    I'm impressed by your dedication in rerecording all of these. I think most people would be very satisfied to do it just once!
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Thanks for the feedback Alexander. Your professional opinion is always welcome.
    It never occurred to me this G sharp sounded wrong. Indeed A sharp sounds good too, just as plausible if not more. But who are we to improve on Bach ? I've learnt that everything he does is for a reason, even if I don't always get it. Isn't Bach a lot like God :D

    Curiously, I do have such an issue with the fugue of BWV 858. In bar 21, last beat, the RH has two D#'s that sound wrong to me. In fact I've always played C## but for the recording I decided to be puritan. Others I heard play as written too. What is your take on this ?

    I gave the soprano priority here, and when that passage re-occurs in bars 56 onwards, I tried to give the alto priority to provide some variation. I guess that idea did not work as I thought it would. Yes this fugue could be played more lightly, detached, and dance-like, but I get carried away with its powerful driving force.

    It's a labor of love :D Also my first cycle was only just passable in terms of sound, interpretation and technique. It had to be replaced.
     
  4. hanysz

    hanysz New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Pianist
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Home Page:
    WEBSITE:
    http://hanysz.net
    LOCATION:
    Adelaide, Australia
    If I could be 100% sure that Bach wrote it, and that he checked and rechecked it carefully, then I'd feel very bad about changing it. (I'm much more conscientious about sticking to the score with Brahms, because it's known that he was meticulous in checking the publisher's proofs.) But handwritten manuscripts being what they are, I don't believe I'm improving on Bach's work, but on the work of some unknown copyist or editor. At least, that's my excuse so far.

    Re BWV 858: I haven't yet performed this work, so it's possible that my opinion might change after I spend some time practising the piece. But my feeling at the moment is that, yes, the dissonance in bar 21 is a little uncomfortable, but the D sharp is intended as a pedal point. If you change it, then logically you should also change the parallel passage at bar 12-13. So I'd be inclined to play this one as written.

    While we're on the subject (possibly this should be in another thread), the other place where I do depart from the score is the G major prelude of book 2, BWV 884. I'm absolutely convinced that bar 7 should have C sharps.
     
  5. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Toronto
    Last Name:
    Grant
    First Name:
    John
    LOCATION:
    Toronto
    For what it's worth, I'm looking at my Tovey (hardly the last word, I admit) re bar 52 of Bk 2 the F# prelude: he gives us G#. (I take it the "second note" LH refers to the first beat, second sixteenth note.) And as I sit here at the piano playing it, it sounds right to me, because I am used to hearing it; altough playing the LH A# does sound more consistent with the RH A# that immediately follows.

    This is one of my favourite preludes from Bk 2. The tricky dotted rhythms, which are the hard part, all come across perfectly. My only quibble would be with some of the ornaments, which could be clearer and more precise, especially in the left hand (ditto with the Gavotte/Fugue that follows.) I here a trace of reverb, but barely perceptible, which I personally am unable to bring myself to do (even though I know it is the right thing to do).

    The piano is very nicely tuned!

    JG
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    I don't see the problem. There is a C# in bar 7 of that prelude (just the one though). At least in Henle Urtext. You mean your score has C natural ? That would be silly because we're modulating to D major.
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Thanks JG. I though I had the ornaments pretty well nailed, but seems like not. Have you got any particular ones in mind ?
    I use the same reverb as in all my recordings, Concert Hall Light. It sounds drab without it. I guess you would not need it, having a better instrument, acoustics, and equipment.
     
  8. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Toronto
    Last Name:
    Grant
    First Name:
    John
    LOCATION:
    Toronto
    [/quote]
    Thanks JG. I though I had the ornaments pretty well nailed, but seems like not. Have you got any particular ones in mind ?
    I use the same reverb as in all my recordings, Concert Hall Light. It sounds drab without it. I guess you would not need it, having a better instrument, acoustics, and equipment.[/quote]

    Re reverb: actually meant to say that I am pathologically addicted to too much reverb and I am unable to use a tasteful amount. You use a tasteful amount.

    Re ornaments: I should have been more precise. I meant the shakes or trills, only, of the F# Major Fugue: The first note of the main subject --E#-- should (for me anyway) be stated, even over-stated, at the outset. So either one sits emphatically on it at the start and THEN the shake (which is contrary to the usual rule but safe: Afanassiev, Ashkenazy do it) OR the shake starting on F# must be letter perfect, not even slightly truncated *eg A. Hewitt. Maybe my ears need cleaning, but I hear Feltsman starting on the F# but truncating the shake; whereas, if anything, I would err on the side of overextending the duration of that all important trill.

    So (I guess that puts you in good company with Feltsman): that opening trill sounds truncated to me. Bar 40: trill seems to my ears uneven.... Contrast to LH bar 64: trill is perfect and the trill at bar 5, second statement of the subject, likewise so: exactly the right length.

    May be a quibble. May be my ears. I just call'm as I see'm! Of course, one only gets into this sort of detail when there is nothing else to critique.

    JG

    *I'm not a fan of her Bach; but she does everything right.
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Ah right. I evaluated the various preset reverbs in CoolEdit long ago and found that I consistently liked Concert Hall Light. So I've stuck to that religiously over the years, no matter the type of music (though I like to use Large Occupied Hall for some organ recordings).

    I suppose with shake you mean the Nachslag. Yes that first trill seems a bit too short, listening back.
    The trill in bar 40 is with 3-4, which I find uncomfortable. There are a couple more like that in this fugue, which to me accounts for its difficulty than anything else.

    Haha good point. If all there's to nag about are the odd imperfect trill, there may be hope for me yet :D
     
  10. hanysz

    hanysz New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Pianist
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Home Page:
    WEBSITE:
    http://hanysz.net
    LOCATION:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Interesting, there must be two different Henle urtexts! Mine is published 1970 with a preface by Otto von Irmer; catalogue number HN 9256/9258. I haven't checked for a newer one. I also have Dover's reprint of the Bach-Gesellschaft edition, which also has C natural in that bar, and I've heard commercial recordings where people do play it that way (sorry, can't remember offhand which pianist(s)).

    The bar in question has two Cs: right hand on beat 2 and left hand on beat 3. Surely you don't have one sharp and one natural?
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Same here. Though mine is dated 1974 and doesn't seem to have a catalog number (or I can't find it). BTW I have great respect for Hans-Martin Theopold's pragmatic fingerings. I find them most always spot-on.

    Oops... been looking at the wrong prelude :oops:
    Indeed two C naturals. I think I was used to play a C sharp there because there's a note in my score. Yes probably C sharp would be more logical. But sometimes Bach does unexpected things. I think if you want to change the LH C to C# you would also change the following D to D#. Anyway I believe it is good as it is.
     
  12. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    631
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Researcher
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Home Page:
    Last Name:
    Larrard
    First Name:
    Francois de
    WEBSITE:
    http://francoisdelarrard.chez-alice.fr
    LOCATION:
    Lyon, France
    Hi Chris,
    I've just listened the BWV 882 too, because I played it a long time ago. Very nice rendition ! I have little to add to what the others said. For my taste, I'd like sometime more non-legato, more dialog between voices (e.g. marking the entries of the fugue theme), and also with contrast between tense and calmer sections, but I guess you have strong views about your aesthetical choices, and they are highly respectable.
    I admire the cleanness of your technique. Sometimes we hear notes that are (probably) unpurposedly weak, but you never fall down ! Congratulations and good luck for the completion of this huge work,
     
  13. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Strong views I would not call them, but these days I do lots of conscious things with phrasing, articulation, dynamics, and voicing. I find that in most any WTC item I can put something of my own. It's all very subtle though, and never quite enough to satisfy everybody. I won't shove the fugue theme in-yer-face as some do.

    Clean technique, I like that. Bach has done more for my technique than Chopin or Liszt or any composer ever did. Thanks for the thumbs-up. I'm over half way now 8) But some great challenges are yet to come.
     
  14. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    System Software Engineer
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    LOCATION:
    Athens, Greece
    Ah, genuine Bach. Really nice phrasing and clear voicing. Somehow, I can't say why, I prefer the PFs of WTCII. It's something I sense in your rendition here also.
     
  15. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Thanks Pantelis. I believe my Bach to be unspectacular but reliable :D
    Can't say I have a preference for book II over book I though. If it sounds like that, it must surely be coincidence because I spend equal time on them.
     
  16. arensky

    arensky New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Musician
    Location:
    Arizona
    Home Page:
    WEBSITE:
    http://pianosociety.com/cms/index.php?section=610
    LOCATION:
    Arizona
    Just listened to f# minor Book I. Wow. Chris, you are a Bach master. This a big step beyond your first Bach piano recordings, and the new recording equipment (and new piano?) is a boon. In the middle of the fugue you played a descending bass line, it sounded like a clavichord, made me think maybe it was your Gaveau, not a different instrument (Hamburg Steinway?).

    Your Bach playing is profound, you make it sound like he had a modern grand piano, and wrote for it. I can follow all the voices without effort, and I love the pedaling that doesn't mar the nessacary clarity essential in Bach, but lets the piano be the piano, not a fake harpsichord. You understand him and counterpoint so well. Bravo!
     
  17. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Hi Chase, good to see you back ! And thanks for the feedback :D

    I am not sure this is not way too much praise... Someone on Youtube seemed to think that Tureck and Gould were still better than me (Felipe found this posting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P2cju5f9GQ , see the Comments section)... Then again, they're both dead and I am not :lol:

    But you're certainly right in that these recordings are several classes up from my initial ones.
    It is still the Gaveau, but with new strings. Together with the new Tascam recorder, it makes a huge difference. Though it was suggested that maybe the hammers need voicing by now.
     
  18. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Ph.D student
    Location:
    Germany
    Last Name:
    Lee
    First Name:
    Hye-Jin
    LOCATION:
    Germany
    With the help from the Google translator I got the meaning of that comment: "I like this interpretation rather than those of Glenn Gould ... or Chris Breemer... Thanks for uploading..." Wow, now you are abreast of Gould and Turreck, Chris :D
     
  19. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Hehe, quite funny isn't it.
    All he says though is that Tureck is better than Gould and me. Could mean anything, he's probably just taking the p*ss :lol:
     
  20. timmyab

    timmyab New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    LOCATION:
    Bristol, UK
    I just thought I'd say that I've been enjoying your WTC recordings lately.I think I've said this before, but I'm really amazed at how much you've advanced both technically and artistically in the three years I've been visiting these forums.They're a great improvement on your first set.
    I'm trying to learn bwv 881 at the moment and the fugue is giving me some trouble.I think your recording of the fugue is very impressive.The prelude from 879 also caught my ear, just beautiful.Also the prelude from 859.In fact there's a lot to enjoy in every single one of them, they obviously mean a lot to you.
     

Share This Page