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Trifonov Live in Carnegie Hall

Hear Trifonovs captivating recital at Carnegie Hall as of December 7th in works by Schumann, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and encores by Medtner. The music on this program requires poetry and passion that only a master pianist can deliver. “Daniil Trifonov’s playing has it all … he leaves you struggling for superlatives,” said The Guardian. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Books/info on how to play/teach Bach's music  (Read 2556 times)
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« on: October 18, 2004, 08:45:20 PM »

Can any one of you advise books or information on how to play or teach Bach's music?  For example, how to phrase or when to detach the notes.  I live in Southern California.  If you know someone who is expert in Bach's music, please let me know too.  Thanks...   Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2004, 06:05:37 PM »

My Kalmus Edition of Bach 7 Toccata's is edited by Hans Bischoff and is pretty well done.  Lots of explanantion towrds embelishiments and definite indications of what Bach's "irrevocable intentions" are.  A fine edition and i commend Dr. Hans Bischoff. 

If are looking for info on how tow play/teach something other than Toccata's of Bach, I would suggest looking for other books by Dr. Bischoff, as I am sure there must be more.

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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2004, 06:20:00 PM »

There are several excellent books on this subject. Be prepared for some contradictory information and some hot debate though.

Start with:
Rosalyn Tureck – “An introduction to the performance of Bach” (Oxford University Press).

The beauty of this book (it is actually 3 books with less than 30 pages each) is that most of its examples are from the easy – intermediate repertory. Tureck starts with the simpler pieces from the Anna Magdalena’s Little book and proceeds through the two voice inventions and sinfonias to the WTC.  She works only on a few examples, still the scholarship and wealth of information is tantalising. Even better, she has recorded all of the pieces she analyses so you can hear exactly what she means. (CD: “Bach : The Keyboard album” – Sony. There are 2 CDs, the second one being Charles Rosen playing the art of fugue and it has no relation to the books above).

The next book is:

Paul Badura-Skoda – “Interpreting Bach at the Keyboard” (Oxford University Press), which goes into great depth into all of Bach’s keyboard works.

Very enlightening about performance practice – although only the WTC is analysed – is Ralph Kirkpatrick’s – “Interpreting Bach’s WTC” (Yale University Press). Again we have the advantage of Kirkpatrick’s complete recordings of the WTC (on the harpsichord and clavichord) so that we can hear exactly what he means.

Still on the WTC, there is the wonderful:

Siglind Bruhn – “J.S. Bach’s WTC – In depth analysis and interpretation” (Games) (4 vols.) which I cannot recommend strongly enough.

Another essential book in that it opens several new horizons on the way we could look at Bach’s music is:

Finally, for the way music was regarded and practised in Baroque times, try the wonderful:

Nikolaus Harnoncourt – “Baroque music today – Music as speech” (Amadeus Press)

Finally have a look at this website:


This should get you started (it is just the tip of the iceberg).

Best wishes,
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