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Bach - Prelude & Fugue Cm - WTCII BWV 871

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by wiser_guy, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I love holidays as I get more piano time and more stress-free recording time.
    This is one of my favourite pairs from book 2. I have joined the prelude with the fugue into a single track although they were recorded separately.

    Enjoy the music.



    Bach - Prelude & Fugue No. 2 in C-minor, BWV 871
     
  2. pianolady

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

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    Sounds like those trills got a little stuck - probably hard to do at a fast tempo like that, but very nice playing overall. It is on the site.
     
  3. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks for listening Monica and for putting this up.
    Sorry for my delayed response but I've been away on a short New Year vacation (with no mood to return, I may add :cry: - nice things last little or does this happen only to me?)

    I'm disappointed you didn't like the trills, I've practised my heart out to make them sound even and smooth.
    I wish you the best for 2009.
     
  4. pianolady

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

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    Well, now I feel bad. You play a lot better than I do, so please don't be upset with me. I just happen to have very good ears and as I listened to this again, I noticed that it's only on the first part of the prelude (also the repeat) where the trills are not quite there. They are close, but I only hear one of the fingers, which is why I said that they sound like they are stuck. Does that make sense? Otherwise, your playing is very nice, and the sound is very, very good! I'm not even into Bach that much, but I kind of like this one now (the prelude part, anyway).

    p.s. The saying over here goes, "time flies when you're having fun." Happy new year to you too, Pantelis. :)
     
  5. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    No, please don't. I said that with a large dose of humour. I would never be really disappointed playing anything Bach. On the contrary, comments and criticism make me work harder.

    So, I'm not alone here...
     
  6. LePianiste

    LePianiste New Member

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    I loved the prelude (especially the ending =)! The sound was extraordinary, as well!
     
  7. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi wiser,

    You play this prelude and fugue very well. Your playing is nicely articulated, clean and crisp, and fluid too. I especially enjoy hearing your non-legato touch. You seem to use very little pedal if at all, so it is judicious. In the fugue you mark the entrance of voices well. To me this a very successful performance, and one respectful of Baroque practices. Thanks for posting it.

    David
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I seem to have missed this one. Will listen to it tonight, with special attention to the trills :p
     
  9. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Pantelis, I recorded this P&F just a few months ago and it is for me too among the favored pairs. Your prelude is incisive and the ornaments are perfectly solved (Monica, you probably refer to the difficult mordents at bars 7 and 8: they are correct that way). You too, like me, see it as a dance more than a pensive 2-part invention. On the contrary, I find your fugue rather colorless and with some weird misplaced accents - don't know why, the fugue is not so difficult while I heard you play much harder things.
     
  10. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Sorry once more for delaying my response. Settling in after the holidays is becoming more difficult with the years.

    @LePianiste
    Thanks for listening. Some preludes from WTC II, including this one, are indeed magnificent.

    @Rachfan
    Your comments are really encouraging. I appreciate your words even more because they target aspects that I have worked very hard on. I'm also glad you noticed the absence of pedal. Thank you, David.

    @alf
    Thanks for listening and commenting, Alf. I agree with your view of the prelude. I have also listened to your version and so I got a clearer idea of what you mean.
    You worry me about the fugue though. I see a Bach fugue as a crossword puzzle which, unlike a crossword puzzle, can be solved in multiple ways. This 4-voiced fugue sports an extremely dense harmonic structure where up to three or four modulations can occur in a single measure. My solution was to play it lighter to give the listener a chance to feel the harmonic texture without being overwhelmed or intimidated by its complexity. The accents serve as guides or indicators to this harmonic maze. If you cannot see it my way (as harmony, not separate voices), then my recipe didn't work.


    BTW, Happy Theophany holiday to all (Epiphany(?) I think to the westerns)
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I agree that the prelude is more convincing than the fugue. I do feel short-sold (or short-selled ? sold short ? whatever) that you do not repeat the second part, only the first. This may be customary in early romantic sonatas but here I think it rather destroys the symmetry. These mordents in bars 7/8 I think should be shorter and crisper so that they don't stumble into the following eight note like they do here.

    The fugue, though well played technically, I find rather inconsistent and unrestful with its constantly shifting dynamics, tempo, articulation, and occasional ritenuti. I don't find this fugue so dense that it needs to be 'lightened up' like that, on the contrary I find it quite light in itself. Anyway that is a decision and a matter of taste. No doubt this is a good and considered performance (but I thought I heard one or two read errors somewhere around bar 17/18). Welcome to the Bach WTF, er, WTC club :lol:
     
  12. CharlotteHawkins

    CharlotteHawkins New Member

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    I really liked your trills in the prelude. They are different to how I play them but I don't see the need to make them as fast as possible - I think they are very convincing as they are. Lovely interplay between the voices in the the fugue although I'm not sure I like the Glenn Gould-esque semi-staccato of the subject - I prefer a more legato line. Still, still a very enjoyable interpretation. Thanks for posting.

    Charlotte
     
  13. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    @techneut
    Thanks for your comments, Chris.

    I won't agree with you here. The second part ends the prelude in a clearly decisive, conclusive way. A repeat would be redundant if not superfluous. Sorry, but I take Glenn Gould's side on this.

    I think I may have a clue about these errors. My scores feature an alternative passage (ossia?) over bar 18. One of them marks it as "oder" (I think it means 'alternative' in German). Anyway, this alternative passage has flats on the LH A and D whereas the normal bar has both as naturals. I've chosen to play the normal part. Perhaps this is what you hear as error.

    WTF as in Football club or as in Fighting club? :D


    @CharlotteHawkins

    Well, I'm not sure I like it either! I chose to play it this way (after hearing Glenn Gould's idea) thinking that it has something which although doesn't ring to me now, I may appreciate it in the future.
    Thank you Charlotte, for your words.
     
  14. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    That variant is spurious, A and D must be natural, not flat, and you are right playing them so. But I think that Chris refers to the A flat you play at ms.17, third beat, in the Alto part, which should be natural.
     
  15. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    You are right, the A should be natural there. My mistake. I have no way to correct this now but to redo the fugue. Who knows, apart from correcting the wrong note I may end up with a better version altogether.
    Thank you for pointing this out, Alf.
     
  16. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Pantelis,
    very interesting and in summary good performance with a good sound-quality. What instrument and recording-equipment do you use?

    The prelude is excellent, good articulation and a subtle phrasing (dynamic and agogic), which could partly a bit clearer and distincter IMO. In the repeat you could bring new ideas IMO, it sounds like the first time.

    In this clear and accurate rendition I enjoyed the prelude a bit more than the fugue, in which is missing a clearer voicing of the theme (for my taste). But you play also the fugue very accurate and precise (the little read error in bar 17, a natural instead of an a-flat, which you play on the third beat in the middle-voice Alfonso still pointed out, as I saw later, but I found it also myself by listening with score. 8) BTW, look at my p+f´s and you mostly will find also exact one read error per pair. :lol: I just like to do a bit nitpicking and I´m always happy, if the others do it with my recordings, too. :wink: )
    You choose an interesting and personal articulation for the theme. The mordents you play are not in my Henle-Urtext-score, but they fit well IMO.
    The expression of the fugue is quite tender and restrained. This has a certain charm and fits very well to the more sad and suffering character of this deep and meditative work!
     
  17. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you for your valuable comments, Andreas.
    Yes, the mordents may not appear in the urtext, but for WTCII I use an old Russian edition. I find these time-withered yellowish pages on my music desk inspiring. Anyway, I plan to redo the fugue and wipe off the error and possibly render a finer version.


    Ha, coming from you I'll take that as a compliment. You German guys and even more so the French have a natural talent placing the mics right and getting amazing recordings. I on the other hand, struggle with mic positions, shifting gear and keep on spending money in my quest for a professional sound. Friends tease me that my equipment hasn't been able to deliver yet, but I intend to fight back! Who knows, I may have to change the pianist also, :shock: oops!

    Anyway, here is the current deal:
    Two Neumann TLM-103 large condensers -> Apogee preamps and converters -> Logic on a Powerbook. The piano is a Boesendorfer.
     
  18. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    wiser_guy wrote:
    What do you need a pianist, if you have such a good recording-equipment?! :lol:

    Wow, I´m impressed and I think, you can be absolutely satisfied with this excellent equipment. So, we both are "Neumänner" (I have a pair of Neumann KM 184, Phonic AM 220 mixing-console, no preamp, sound-card: Audiophile 192 of M-audio, WaveLab 6.0, Grotrian-Steinweg-grand). I think, a pair of the TLM 103 is the double prize of my KM 184-pair. Your mikes sound really splendidly and have the typical natural sound of good Neumann mikes, but I don´t know, if I hear a true difference to my KM 184. What do you think? Please, feel free to tell me your opinion honestly.
     
  19. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    The Neumann KM 184 is an object of desire to many; a high end mic. Excellent for recording acoustic instruments and since it's a small diaphragm condenser, it has a fast transient response suitable for percussive instruments such as the piano. The TLM 103 is slower and its sound is more blurred compared to the KM 184.
    So you should get a very accurate recording with the KM 184. The TLM 103 on the other hand, is less accurate but more coloured, more flattering. Its double price doesn't mean that its sound is twice as good. Far from it, it is simply different.

    As for preamps, I assume you use your console's built-in preamps. As long as they are quiet and give you enough gain, you don't need to worry much. The only reason to look for a dedicated preamp would be its special sound but you have to listen and compare different models to find the one that pleases you. Choosing a mic preamp is highly subjective.

    The thing is that I am not satisfied with my recording skills. That's because I haven't managed to get the almost magical sound I hear coming out of the Boesendorfer. And it has little to do with equipment. It is both a skill and an art to choose the right mics and place them correctly. Everything else is secondary.

    I can't really give you an opinion on whether you have succeeded in your recording ventures or not. Your piano is a Grotrian. This is one of the finest pianos. I guess it sounds terrific by itself. Has the recording captured the large part of it? Only you could answer this because you are the one who has heard it live. I can only say that your recording is very clear, very forward. I like it, I might have played with the EQ a little but that's subjective. I think your recordings are among the best sounding here. I also like your tuning (here I go again...:D).

    My point is that if you think that more or less that's what your piano sounds like, then you should feel satisfied. If not, you should keep experimenting with mic placement. Your equipment can easily deliver extremely professional results, so don't worry about it. Focus more on your recording skills instead if you feel you are not quite there yet.
     
  20. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Pantelis,
    wow, thank you for all these highly interesting, inspiring and moving explanations! :D

    Wiser_guy wrote:
    Very interesting. I listened again to your Bach-recording and now I think, I can understand, what you mean. I have to say, that the sound of the TLM 103 for me is absolutely beautiful and your mics bring out the noble tone of your nice Bösendorfer in such a charming and natural way. But, of course, I don´t know your instrument "live" and can´t truely judge the result. But the sound-quality of the recording itself sounds absolutely professional to me, like a studio-recording, which you make for a CD.

    Yes, that´s right. I use the built-in preamps of my console. I always have to switch on the "phantom-power" for the mikes to make a recording. I haven´t too much knowledge concerning preamps, but I think, earlier or later I will occupy myself with this matter. Didier was so kind to give me some self-recorded examples of different preamps. (See in the "Piano-forum", if you like, please.)

    I think, I got what you mean. Very interesting.

    Thank you (also again for the tuning-praise). I think, I have to re-tune my piano before I do my next recording, BTW, because it got a bit out of tune in the last time. :x
    Usually I do the following editings to my recordings (with WaveLab 6): EQ (I add high tones and bass-tones to +3), stereo-expander (between 50 and 70% usually), my special reverb preset (with this I experimented uncounted hours), normalization-function and pan-normalization. Sometimes I reduce the sound-level again a bit, after having done the normalization, if the result seems too loud to me.

    Thank you for this splendid inspiration. I still experimented several times with the mic-position. First, I started with AB-position, tried different distances to the grand, then I went over to XY-position, tried also different distances and placements. Besides the placement of the mikes I experimented with the attitudes of my console (there are three different input-levels). At the begining I always had some distortions, then I decided to keep the input-levels more down (for security) and - as you can see above - I balance this deficit with my normalization-function. My console has also EQ and Panorama-function. I don´t use any more the EQ of the console, but do it with Wave Lab, the Panorama I have for the left mic totally on the left and for the right totally on the right position. I post a picture of my console for further explanations:
    the input-level on the upper console on the left side are both on position 8, eq and efx I don´t use, the pan-parameter is left on the totally left position, on the right side on the totally right position, the peak-level is on both-sides on position 7, the main-controller is on +5, the distance of the mikes is nearly 2 m to the grand with open big lid in XY-position in a heigth of nearly 1, 50.

    I´m really no expert in these attitude-things. What do you think? I have the impression, that my KM 184 give back the sound of my Grotrian quite natural, but not 1:1, you are right. I think, it´s also a very important aspect, to have good loudspeakers for a "high-end"-result. They do the same task like the mikes, only reverse, if we want so.
    What do you think about an additional third (or fourth) mic, f.ex. to position directly under the grand? (I would have to buy a new mixing-console for that and I think, the installation of all this equipment costs more and more time, which one need for to practise and to play.)
     

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