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Johann Christian Bach: Sonata in E flat Major, op.17-6

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by hyenal, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Here is my second recording after the Scriabin Sonata:
    Johann Christian Bach: Sonata in E flat Major, op.17-6

    J. C. Bach - Sonata Op.17 No.6 in B flat major - 1: Allegro ( 3:36 )
    J. C. Bach - Sonata Op.17 No.6 in B flat major - 2: Andante ( 5:54 )
    J. C. Bach - Sonata Op.17 No.6 in B flat major - 3: Prestissimo ( 2:39 )

    The recording process was soooo stressful, that I asked myself many times: "Why are you doing this, Hye-Jin?" (During recording the first mov. I got even a stomachache... :( )
    The motivation was actually this: My piano teacher introduced to me J. C. Bach (the youngest son of our great Bach) and I found him cool but too unknown.
    I'm planing as the next one J. C. Bach again (a Sonata from another set of piano sonatas), if I overcome the stress in front of the recorder.
    All kinds of critiques and comments very welcome, except the suggestion of the rerecording (I'm totally exhausted... :wink: )
    One more thing: I located the recorder (Zoom H4) ca. 50 cm behind the grand, in order that the sound gets not too dry (This sonata needs the pedal not so much as the Scriabin, for which the recorder was directly behind the grand.). But I'm not so satisfied with the sound. So I'm expecting some tips for the recording itself (or tips for effect...I have the editing program Adobe Audition 1.5, which is same as the Cool edit.) . Thank you! :D
     
  2. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Uh-oh someone has introduced a new composer to the site! Looks like you will have to write a biography for JC Bach! :wink:
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    That is really good ! Nice bubbly performances of this sonata, which seems worth standing next to those of Haydn and young Mozart. If the recording process was difficult, it certainly does not show in the result. I thought the 3rd movement was just a bit heavy-handed, but apart from that nothing but praise for a very high quality recording.

    Now you could do us a great favor by providing a biography of J.C. Bach, who seems a better keyboard composer than he's given credit for. It will be great if you'll record more of his music.
     
  4. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for the kind comments, Chris! That's really really encouraging!! :D Without such a kind encouragement from other fellow music freaks :wink: I could not continue to record something. Because I've rediscovered the difficulty of piano playing after I bought me the digital recorder :? And I'm full with the respect to all the good pianists in the world now.

    You've noticed my difficulty exactly. The heaviness was resulted partly from my untrained hands, and partly from the really heavy action of the grand. The grand costs me too big energy for f or ff spots... Also the sound of the descant is so weak, that it steals from me the energy again. It's certainly the best piano, that I've ever used (It's a Steinway's concert grand of the second biggest size), but for the public performance or for any decent recordings not so good.

    Under one condition: You know that I have some difficulties with the english language. And I know that the bio should be written in English, not in German or in Korean. So if one of site admins would read and correct it, I could write a brief explanation, that wouldn't be more than a rough composition of a couple of knowledges about him on my side. :roll:
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ok, we will review it anyway before publishing. See what you can do ! If you can compile a full biography you will be credited as the author. You can look at some of the existing biographies to get an idea of what we want. We like our pianists to participate in authoring too.
     
  6. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok, I'll try to write one. But as a PhD student, who should always mention the reference sources in a writing, I must clear in advance: Is it allowed to consult some books or websites and not to mention where I found it?

    I see my recordings already 8 or 7 times downloaded. And I got a reaction about the recordings themselves only from Chris. Although the sonata is almost unknown (I know only one CD from NAXOS, which I haven't heard), you guys could remark something about them... There would be certainly problems, that Chris and I have not noticed yet and that could be improved through the critiques from you guys :!:
     
  7. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    To the first movement: this one sounds exellently, precisely played with differenciation in dynamics and nuances. And it´s played with temperament, engagement.
    To the second movement: also very profound and precisely played, quite good phrasing, I think.
    To the third movement: good "Terassen-Dynamik", played with temparent as this final movement deserves it. So, it has enough energy in my opinion. It really sounds craftfully, more energy might be too much probably.

    Sorry, that I can´t give more critical comments, but first I have not the score of this sonata and second I think you play it very well and nicely!
    It´s a great idea to play more of this ingenious composer, which really deserves more attention of modern audition of today!!! The sound of your Steinway grand is excellent, you can really be very lucky and you are to envy to own such a treasure! The sound is really very very nice, but some of the high tones especially need to be tuned, I think, but that´s minor. (Such mics like f. ex. the Neumann KM 184, which are a studio standard in Germany, would make your records as perfect in sound-quality as professional CD-recordings, you can buy in a CD-shop.)
    So, in summary I would like to congratulate you to such a successfull record of this very very lovely piece! I also would like to join techneuts request of more records of pieces from Johann Christian Bach.
     
  8. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, I'm very grateful that I'm allowed to practice on it. But it doesn't belong to me, but to a Kirchengemeindehaus in Reutlingen. I wanted to play the piano further in Germany, so asked a church musician (KMD), and the kind people allowed me to use it for free.

    Yes, the kind people have no idea about the good tuning... Although the piano was in last October tuned, a very bad tuner came and I wonder how can such a bad tuner as a "Klavierbaumeister" be titled and payed :?

    It's very tempting indeed, after I listened to your recording through the Neumann! But as a poor philosophy student I must turn away from the temptation :wink: But when I may ask, how expensive is it in Euro?

    I'm very happy that you like the sonata and thank you a lot!
     
  9. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Sorry, but I don´t like to say it here, you may have a look at the following link:
    http://www.musicstorekoeln.de.
     
  10. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Andreas, sorry for the question :wink:
    It's already very expensive for me, because it costs more than my scholarship for a month! (If I would buy one and the university, who gives me the scholarship, knows that, they'll kill me :lol: )

    Now I'm trying to write a bio about Johann Christian finally...
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Of course it is. Unless you copy big parts of it verbatin, in which case it may infringe copyright. I usually look at at least two websites for an article, and try to come up with something that combines information from both without being quite the same. Sometimes I throw in some info from elsewhere, if I happen to have a book on the subject (which is not often).

    Do not make too much out of this. A bio should not cost you more than two hours or so, and should not be longer than half a page. It does not have to be a scholarly and meticuloulsy researched work, though of course it should be accurate.
     
  12. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Unfortunately I read your reply so late that I wrote more than half a page. But I think from the examples of Beethoven and Bernstein on our site that also my version could be put on the site without a reduction, or not?

    If you still think that it's too long, then I'd like to suggest to cut the last two paragraphs and put on the site for his piano sonatas extra. In the last two §§ I wrote mainly about the sonatas Op.5-6 and Op.17-6. The former will be recorded by no later than end of May (according to my plan) and the latter is the one on this topic.

    Please check the following bio and improve it into the noble English of our site admins! The quotations from the letters of Mozart family were translated from German into English by (almost) myself. I don't want to be accused of any copyright violation. :wink:
    (At least I did my best and it was interesting! :D )

    Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782)

    Johann Christian Bach was the eleventh and the youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and his second wife Anna Magdalena. Johann Christian had received his first lessons in pianoplaying and in composition from his father until his death. So far as he was born in the musician family of Bach, his future was destined to become a musician, but he didn't like the hard life of his father as a church musician. The legacy that Johann Christian inherited from the great Thomas cantor says the humble life of Johann Sebastian: three pianos, a few linen shirts and a very small amount of money (thirty-eight Taler). He strongly wanted to live a different life from the one of his father, a life of a worldly successful musician. Thus it’s a very good opportunity, that his half-brother Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-1788) in Berlin was ready to accept and educate him, who had enjoyed the fame of the most famous keyboard virtuoso and a renowned music teacher at that time. Johann Christian not only took music lessons from the brother, but also experienced a lot of Italian operas, that were lively promoted by Frederick the Great. He was facinated by the Italian operas and wanted to study them in their native country. So he went to Italy in 1754.
    The years spent in Italy were very important for his artistic development and for the later career. He studied first with Padre Martini in Bologna and later with Giovanni Battista Sammartini, worked as an organist in Milan Cathedral, and converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism. The Early 1770s was the highlight of his career as a opera composer. His success arrived over the border of Italy to London. A position of the official composer at the King’s Theater was offered to him. In 1762 he departed to England and became later the music master of the Queen Charlotte Sophia, wife of George III. His reputation was in London so established, that he has been called the 'English Bach' or 'London Bach.' But he became suddenly ill and by the time of his death his popularity in London had waned. Finally he was forgotten and died lonely.
    The huge influence of Johann Christian to the child prodigy Mozart is well known. The two met in April 1764 in London on the first time and were enraptured immediately by each other. Johann Christian became a close friend of the family Mozart and the young Mozart had studied the works of Johann Christian and rearranged for himself. The affection of Wolfgang Amadeus to the Bach son is to read in many letters to Leopold Mozart. For example he wrote as he met Johann Christian again in Paris: »Mr. Bach from London is already here since fourteen days. […] You can easily imagine his joy, and my joy, as we saw each other again. […] I love him (as you well know) with all my heart – I highly respect him.«

    Johann Christian composed beside a lot of operas and works for a concert hall also some keyboard music of (in many cases) a light character mainly for social purposes. But they should not be misunderstood as a music of a lower class. The virtue of this kind works by Johann Christian was formulated appropriately in a letter from Leopold Mozart to his son: »The small thing is great, when it is written in a naturally fluent and light style and when it is efficiently put in a composition. To compose in this way is more difficult than to write all the artificial and incomprehensible harmonic progressions and hardly performable melodies. […] This distinguishes the master from the bungler in detail.«
    Johann Christian left two suites of sonatas (Op. 5 and Op. 17, each has 6 sonatas), which are composed exclusively for the keyboard solo. Although both suites carry in the titles »for the Harpsichord or Piano Forte«, he unquestionably prefered the latter to the former. The first sonatas of each suite is so easy that even a beginner could play them. But the other sonatas (esp. from Op. 17) need a pianist with an advanced technique as the performer. The young Mozart had played the sonatas Op. 5 already from the manuscript and arranged in 1765 three of them (No. 2, 3, 4) into the piano concerts (KV 107) (The suite Op. 5 was published in 1768). Karl Geiringer counted in his book »Die Musikerfamilie Bach« the sonata in c minor Op.5-6 to one of the most eminent works by Johann Christian. In this book also the noble Andante (the 2nd mov.) of the sonata in E flat Major Op. 17-6 was praised highly.
     
  13. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Techneut, Robert, and or Pianolady:

    Don't forget to change the Bach names on the side bar on the main site.

    There should no longer be:

    Albeniz
    Alkan
    Bach
    Bach, C.P.E
    Bach, J.C


    It must now be:

    Albeniz
    Alkan
    Bach, C.P.E
    Bach, J.C
    Bach, J.S
    .....
     
  14. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Don´t mention, I just didn´t want to make the impression that I´m boating of it. :wink:

    Of course, when I was a student phil. (I studied germanic philology and literature and music for high-school in Cologne) I would also not have had the money for it, although there still weren´t fees for studying at my time, so for you it´s still harder than for me!
    I think, the Edirol or H4 is a rational recommendation, because they have a realistic price and a good relationship between price and achievement of quality! The internal mics of the H4 are o.k., the Neumanns are nice and a big improvement, but not necessary in an absolute sense (of course, they bring out our playing in a much more natural way, without any falsifications and for this I think, it´s good to have them). More important is to care of the quality of playing, and your one is already very good.

    I read your biografy on Joh. Chr. Bach and I think, it´s a very nice short resuming of his life and other facts, which are also especially important for pianists. Nice also, that you mentioned the influence on the young Mozart by Joh. Chr. Bach, which is important. Well done IMO! And thank you for your efforts and sharing this.
     
  15. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    That looks like good stuff, Hye-Jin, thanks a lot ! I will use this and check for spelling etc. But your English is much better than you think it is - give yourself some credit !
     
  16. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    No. I am not in favour of this change you propose. We decided against that when CPE was introduced, and I see no reason to do it now. It is clear to everybody that "Bach" is "J.S. Bach", and adding the initials would not make things clearer, perhaps even the contrary. I think it is common practice to leave out the initials, unless perhaps on a CD/concert where works of JS and his sons are combined. Also, we would have to change all the links on the site that point to Bach pages. We can well do without that task.
     
  17. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I have created the JC Bach page. Thanks for your input, Hye-Jin, I did change some of the wording but otherwise left it as it was. Good work ! It saved us a lot of time.
    I will put up the recordings later (unless someone beats me to it).
     
  18. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Chris, the text improved by you is really elegant and noble :D

    But it seems that you wrote in a sentence of the third § the verb twice: "he departed relocated to England". Or is it still right and did I misunderstand the texture of english sentences?

    And how about putting the sentence: "The suite Op.5 was published in 1768." from the last § in a parenthesis, as I did in my text? I used namely the ( ), in order to emphasize that the composing of Mozart's concertos was earlier than the publication of Bach's sonatas. If we leave the sentence without ( ), it seems that we must add also the information when the suite Op. 17 was published.

    The last question. The information: "and instead conforms to the 'Endfindsamkeit' style which was the norm of the time" in the second § from the bottom is quite new to me. May I ask where did you get the information and could you explain to me briefly what 'Endfindsamkeit' style is? (I don't know it well, but I thought the word 'Endfindsamkeit' corresponds more to C.P.E. than Johann Christian. Besides I've not encountered the word in researching although I consulted two books written in German.)
     
  19. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you :D ! But the bio after your improving it became so apparently better than the original!
    Anyway I think not only my piano playing but also english writing was a little bit improved after I became a pianist at PS 8)
     
  20. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    juufa 72, What a pity that your so logical idea was not accepted!
    Anyway thanks for your concern about this "new" composer :wink:


    To Andreas (musicusblau):
    I'm happy to hear you like the bio :D
    And also thanks again that you took time to listen my recordings, to read the bio and to give the elaborate feedbacks. I'm definitely sure that you are not only a enthusiastic pianist but also a very nice teacher to your students! Herzlichen Dank!
     

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