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Forum Exclusive: BACH/BUSONI Concerto & Goldberg Variati

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by wmgan, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. wmgan

    wmgan New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wui-Ming
    Dear Piano Society Forum,

    It's been awhile since I've posted any recordings -- but here's one! It's a live recording of my senior recital at Bard College, titled "Bach (Busonified)" -- edited with takes from the dress rehearsal.

    I would like to request that these files NOT be put onto the public site, at least until further notice. I did, however, want to let forum members listen to them and post feedback.

    Busoni's version of the D-minor concerto left out 12 measures of the first movement and 40 measures (not all consecutive) of the third. I decided to restore and "busonify" those measures to match the style of the rest of the piece. I performed this with a string quintet.

    As for the Goldberg Variations -- Busoni suggested omitting nine of the 30 variations, a suggestion I chose to ignore. As far as I know, no-one else has ever recorded Busoni's versions of the Goldberg Variations in full -- Sara Davis Buechner and Claudius Tanski (the only two recordings I'm aware of) both observed Busoni's suggested deletions. If you follow along with the score (a nice scan of which I posted at IMSLP), you will notice that I took some additional liberties of my own throughout the piece.

    I hope you enjoy this performance of the two pieces. I will appreciate your feedback.

    I also ask that you report any distracting audio imperfections you may notice, and say what medium you used to listen to the recording (earbuds/headphones/laptop speakers/car speakers/good stereo speakers in a quiet environment/etc.). I won't say anything more about this matter until I've heard from you, in order not to bias your listening. Please note that I'm talking strictly about AUDIO issues, not messiness in the playing itself and such (though that kind of feedback will also be appreciated).

    Thank you!
    Ming.

    (P/S: I am getting married tomorrow! Actually, today, since it's past midnight. From this evening onwards, I will officially go by Ming Aldrich-Gan.)

    (P/P/S: I'm sorry if the clips appear in reverse order. I forgot that you had to upload files in reverse order to this forum in order for them to appear in the right order.)
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Golly, yes it has been a while hasn't it ! In fact you only drop in here when you want to publish a recording or need some feedback. But that's ok, most professional pianists and piano students do likewise. For better or worse, we are used to it.

    Having that out of the way, congrats with your marriage. Hope you had a great day and may your married life be as great. Please don't ask to change your name on the site, that's just too much donkey work.

    This is playing in the luxury class, as we would expect from you. I have nothing to criticize. I thought I heard one audible edit somewhere. I have great respect for Busoni as a transcriber of Bach's organ works, but my purist mind balks at his 'improving' of the Goldbergs. Even though I have to grudgingly admit the resulting dark hues and brilliant flashes are fascinating. In some places it's almost a different work. Why he finds it necessary to add octaves to the Aria is beyond me.

    The Concerto with string quartet is a novelty - not as convincing as the original though. These string players are good indeed. As is the pianist.
     
  3. rsmullyan

    rsmullyan New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I find your Bach playing absolutely superb! Why in Heaven's name don't you want it on the public site?
    It most obviously should be there!
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I meant to write the same thing.
     
  5. s_winitsky

    s_winitsky Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Yes I agree, this is really an excellent recording. I never heard Busoni's version of the Goldberg's before. It was really very nice to listen and learn about.

     
  6. wmgan

    wmgan New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Sorry for not having responded to your posts sooner.

    I appreciate you calling me out on that. Yes, I'm sorry I haven't been more active on this forum (or most of the online forums I lurk on, for that matter).

    I will admit, it's for selfish reasons. I made a hundred professional-looking and nicely-packaged CDs of this recording (I strongly recommend www.cdpostershop.com for short-run CD duplication, by the way -- they look fantastic!), and I've been trying to sell them to my friends, and perhaps eventually to the public. For that reason, I wanted to avoid making this recording publicly available for the time being. I did, however, want to share it with all you folks at Piano Society.

    Like I said, two commercially-available recordings currently exist of Busoni's version of the Goldberg Variations -- one by Sara Davis Buechner and one by Claudius Tanski. Both of them adhere to Busoni's suggested order of performance -- which omits nine variations and places No. 17 before No. 15. In that respect, at least, their recordings may be closer to Busoni's intentions. However, Busoni did state in the preface to his edition that his reason for omitting those variations is that he didn't think audiences of his time could appreciate such a long piece (an ironic assumption, considering that his piano concerto is one of the longest ever written!) -- which clearly doesn't apply today. I also did take quite a few liberties of my own. In any case, I'm sure that my interpretation will be as controversial as Busoni's edition itself -- but in the end, I believe very strongly in the freedom of interpretation of each individual performer, and that the evolution of a piece does not stop at the death of the composer.
     
  7. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Dear Ming,
    A very late reaction to your post ! Hence I downloaded your Goldbergs, but it took me a while to find time to listen them, what I did some days ago during a train trip. I used to practice a lot the original Goldberg variations - I even played them in recital some 15 years ago or so. Just to say that I know the whole set of variations by heart. But this version put me in heaven ! Not only the changes in the music, who refresh this so well-known score, if they don't improve it. But your playing is absolutely superb ! At least someone who does not imitate Glenn Gould... I wish you'll have a great pianist career. You deserve it...
     

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