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Bach WTC1 b minor P&F on Piano, FenderRhodes, and Digita

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by MindenBlues, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Here is a recording for Bach WTC1 b minor prelude and fugue, maybe a candidate for the recording section of PianoSociety:

    The Piano is already a bit out of tune, however within the key range of Bach pieces, the tuning sounds still acceptable to me.

    http://family-schmidt-minden.de/MindenB ... 0minor.mp3

    Like for all Bach pieces, I played on all takes strictly without sustain pedal (in this case too without soft pedal).
    Especially the fugue has notes which should ring over several bars. This is almost unaudible on piano.
    That's why I have prepared just for fun two another recordings to show the nice harmonies that come if the tone rings longer audible.
    For that, here is a recording done on a digtal keyboard KAWAI MP9500, with piano&string sound:

    http://family-schmidt-minden.de/MindenB ... MP9500.mp3

    For those purists who always prefer to play on a "natural" instrument, another recording on a Fender Rhodes piano, played through a tube amplifier. A Fender Rhodes piano works without electrical current, is a purely mechanical thing like a normal piano too. Instead strings it has parts similar to a tuning fork for every note, and the pitch, timbre and volume can be adjusted by hand for every single note. Here it is:

    http://family-schmidt-minden.de/MindenB ... Rhodes.mp3

    Please give critical comments, and what do you think about the sound of that Bach stuff on Fender Rohdes or digital piano with string sound?
     
  2. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    The piano tune still sounds good to me. Hey any acustic piano beats my keyboard (so long as it is working properly).

    You playing style is very nice. Not too fast, not too slow. With a wide range of dynamics. However, I cannot pick out any wrong notes or mistakes because I am unfamiliar with Bach's WTK, hell I am unfamiliar with every composition. :wink:

    All the best,
    -the juuf
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I can't give any critical comments, since I've never played this piece. But to me, it sounded perfect!
    As far as sound goes, I really liked the second version with the strings. It made the music more soothing and dreamy-like. It didn't like the Fender version as much because the sound sometimes buzzed, and the whole thing sounded more harsh after the piano-string version. Still, it is fun to play around with the different sounds. Thanks for letting us hear them.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Very good job Olaf ! You have definitely improved since your last recordings, the playing is already more relaxed.

    The prelude is good (though I'd prefer just a little pedal on these repeated chords). There's one or two iffy notes, but otherwise it's pretty perfect - except for that glaring A flat in the RH, halfway the last-but-one bar. That is written neither in the Urtext or Czerny editions, and spoils it a little bit.

    The fugue is very solid too. Not sure about the detached playing, being used to taking this very legato, but I guess it is a valid point of view, and many pianists do it this way. The fugue theme mostly comes out well, except in one or two places (tell me about how dificult that is :) ). There are still moments you want to hurry, but it's getting better. There is a fumble in bar 37, the F natural you play in bar 52 (RH, 3rd beat) should be an F flat, and there's some blue notes in bars 67, 69 and 72. But all very minor, not really distracting. If you want it up the site, I'll do so.

    Predictably, I did not warm to the alternative versions (have not listened more than a couple of seconds, sorry...) I guess I am one of the purists, or philistines even.

    So strange that you refuse to use any pedal at all, even in this prelude where it would sound so good (how's that for being purist !?) and yet you go and add digital strings quite happily. Ah well, Bach's music can take it. It comes out untainted, whatever people may do to it. Just please, do not ask me to put these versions up the site.... or argue about why not :wink:
     
  5. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you all so far for taking time to listen, and more important, for your feedback.

    Pianolady: I also like the digital piano with string sound on this special prelude and fugue. And the Rhodes sound is probably too much distorted through the tube amp sound.

    I heard someone playing this prelude and fugue on a church organ, that sounded very, very well too. Not many WTC1 pieces are suitable for organ playing, so I think, but this prelude&fugue pair, along perhaps with the e major prelude, works well on organ too.

    Chris:
    Wow, thank you much for your detailed critique!
    I agree upon everything you wrote regarding the wrong notes, I just tried out your remarks on the piano. I have the Peters Urtext edition, and cannot blame the score for the mistakes, it's all my fault. Should perhaps look for reading glasses ...

    Of course the alternate takes were not intended to go up to the site, and I will try to pull out the recording equipment again next weekend or so and try to incorporate the very useful hints to make the thing better, eliminating the wrong notes foremost. In the hope not to introduce new ones...

    Regarding sustain pedal: the only place I could really get weak and push that pedal is the fugue bars 69 and 70, because it is impossible to play this legato, I think.
    The prelude is possible to play legato, and I hoped I did so (beside some phrases with intended phrasing). I tried with pedal, I knew your doubts regarding pedalless playing on this prelude. It did not sound better to me, only more blurred. My wife is the same opinion, so let me leave my quirk to play Bach consequently without sustain pedal.

    And the detached playing on the fugue, you wrote that many pianists do it this way. What I heard, sounded much different, all played the fugue slower and less articulated, so at the end I did not abut much on the recordings I have, instead tried to play my own thing.

    You are right too, on some placed I missed to let the fugue theme come out clearly. Sometimes the theme is pretty hidden in the 5 voice fugue tecture, or I simply forgot it in the middle of the battle.

    Chris, many thanks again - I come back with hopefully some less misreadings. Probably however, still without sustain pedal ...
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hey, I did not mean to imply you should re-record these just because of one or two slips and read errors. That would be just hilarious, coming from me, as I have never managed one noteperfect recording as yet (that is why I can have so many :lol: ).
    These certainly more than meet any standards we may have, we can have them up as they are. But it's your choice, I can understand you're being tickled by these mistakes now.
     
  7. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Chris, I think it does not take too much time to eliminate the read errors. The only thing is that I need to put the recording stuff again together, have no handy Edirol. For myself I know that it is better to look for it now instead postpone it until probably nothing gets better anymore. Slips is another thing, those are random errors, but at least the read errors could be removed. I prefer by far, to polish again some days (this great prelude and fugue deserves much care, the longer I play it the more I like it), in order to go to the next WTC1 prelude/fugue. Have no idea until now which one to take - I am open for suggestions. Perhaps one what you have not on your working list right now. But it does not care at the end, my goal is to record the complete WTC1 within the next 15 years or so... If you grimp less, I get it perhaps in 10 years already, however with tons of reading errors...

    What I am wondering, did you found the read errors by comparing the recording with the score or comparing by ear? Regardless which way, I find it really remarkable from you - you play this too? Record it - we will have a take with and without sustain pedal, and surely pretty different interpretation, will be interesting!
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I just hear these things - like when there is a typo in a printed page, it catches my eye before I've even read it. A strange and disturbing talent.... But also I know all these pieces inside out as I play all of the WTC. To be honest, not all in a state fit for recording. There's a couple of pairs I plan to record in the not too distant future, but it seems to take longer to get anywhere near satisfied with them... Of course, having heard an error, I must take the score and look up the details.

    This is always funny during lessons. When something is not right I see her frown (she notices everything, even in the most dense textures), and sometimes it takes a while sort out what exactly it was - could be something as subtle as a note held a beat too long, or a missing accidental in the middle of a chord. So if I am a nitpicker, I can also blame it on my teacher :D
     
  9. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    You play all of the WTC :shock:

    Regarding teacher, seems that I should search for one too. Not easy to find a good one, in a small town in Germany. There is a "local hero" here, and he said I can come every time I like, but not for regular lessons. So I should visit him more often, and have otherwise to rely on yours and your teacher's nitpicking!
     
  10. arensky

    arensky New Member

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    Very cool Olaf! I enjoyed this presentation, proof of the versatility of Bach. You can play his music on any instrument (almost) and it will sound authentic. BTW I always enjoy your Bach. You understand his music on a deep level, I think. I can always hear "into" his music when I listen to your recordings.

    PIANO: Very good but kind of dry, I think you should try using a little pedal. The harpsichord doesn't have an abrput cutoff like the piano, it reverberates a bit. Using a 1/4 or 1/5 pedal can simulate that effect, like the reverb on the electronic keyboards. Just a little bit, not like Debussy certainly.

    KAWAI DIGITAL: I didn't expect to like this but I did. The string patch added a nice touch, turned this into a concerto movement, sort of. Very tasteful, too much strings would have destroyed this. Goood work. BTW I think you sound most comfortable on this recording.

    FENDER RHODES: I was doing this this summer, got our Rhodes out of the garage and put it to work with a jazz quartet at a downtown restaurant's outdoor patio. Practicied on it a bit to get the feel, it's very different from other keyboard instruments. I started playing Scarlatti on it, I found him to be the classical composer most conducive to the Rhodes. Bach works on any instrument but I find the Fender Rhodes to be a bright happy instrument, not well suited to serious slow pieces like this P&F. That said I thought this was very good, but I agree with Pianolady about the distortion. My old solid state Fender 60 keyboard amp finally had to go to the shop this summer, most of the contacts were burnt out. It's like new now but I borrowed the bass players tube guitar amp for a week, and encountered the same problem, distortion and buzzing, it took a lot of time to set the amp so it didn't distort. Glad I have the solid state back, the sound with it is more uniform and not as full but it doesn't distort Any way very good, distortion notwithstanding.

    What model/year Rhodes is this? Ours is a Mark 73 (73 keys) from 1977. I would like the full 88 keyboard but hey you can't have everything, these aren't made anymore so I feel lucky to have one. I will post some Fender Rhodes Scarlatti at some point.

    If you need parts, try this store, they sent me a new pedal that was more efficient than the original one. I think they might be THE source for replacement parts...

    http://www.speakeasyvintagemusic.com/

    You've probably already been to this site... http://www.fenderrhodes.com/
     
  11. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for your kind comments, arensky! Gives power to work further on the expression and the musical things what makes something sound pleasant. Hopefully anytime with less wrong notes...
    Did not got it managed to record again (because of wrong notes, I like to have them out), and following weekend we are on vacation. Time, time, time...

    What you said about the Fender Rhodes sound - distortion, I agree. One cannot blame the Rhodes for it, I did not found the right amplifier setting to get the right sound out of it.

    Thank you for the links, the fenderrohdes link I had already (for adjusting the Rhodes), but not the other link. I have a Mark 73, I think from 1975. Regarding Rhodes, let's tell more in your piano thread regarding Rhodes.
     
  12. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Having listened to all versions and I did not really get used to the Fender Rhodes version. A matter of taste of course but I have problems to understand what this adds to his music. One should experiment of course and I credit you for taking time to do so.

    The piano version is very good! The tempo is perfect and mostly, the rhythm is as well. A couple of places where it feels a bit hurried but nothing alarming at all. A couple of slips as Technuet carefully pointed out.

    The string version is also good and I enjoyed this one a lot more than the Fender Rhodes. Feels very relaxed and reminds me of a TV kids program in Sweden from when I was a kid.
     

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