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Topic: Beethobach  (Read 2127 times)

Offline ludwig

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Beethobach
on: July 11, 2002, 01:11:58 PM


Just thinking about these 2 collections of works, the piano sonatas by Beethoven, and the 2 books of prelude and fugues by Bach. Any thoughts on them? Which ones did you play? Which was your favourite? And why? Thanks for your time.
"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."ÜÜÜ

Offline ludwig

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #1 on: July 13, 2002, 04:56:20 AM
hmmm, okay, I find that the chromatic prelude and fugue, no.20 of JS Bach is a very interesting one. To find a very chromatic P&F and a very nice one is pretty exciting. I know that composers in the Baroque period did use some very strange and wonderful chromatics nad desonnances and resolutions...Also, Beethoven's sontatas are pretty much all great pieces of work. I especially like the later ones, and also the "famous" sontatas. I haven't played many of his later works, so any suggestions on a later sonata?
"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."ÜÜÜ

Offline Diabolos

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #2 on: July 17, 2002, 04:24:13 PM
Well, I guess you cannot really compare these two collections in a stylistic way, but it's certainly a fact that both represent the composers 'masterwork'; how else could every pianist know them.
One of the main differences, to me, is the fact that Bach wrote his Preludes and Fugues to introduce the student to controlling as much as four voices in every key; one's ability grows with playing through these two books.
Beethoven's Sonatas, in contrary, are, as Czerny put it, only to be played by already very advanced students, since his music's beauty, clearness and detail may only be grasped by these.
Both collections are still very important to me - I played nearly all of the preludes and Fugues (Book 1 Nr.2 is actually one of my favourites), and I'm working on Beethoven's sonatas since about 2 years, hoping to be able to play all of them in a few years (if you know the 'Storm' (or Sturm)-Sonata, this is my favourite).

Regards

Offline sary2106

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #3 on: July 17, 2002, 07:43:35 PM
Hi! As far as general Beethoven and Bach ideas go..... I think Bach's works are rather controversial to play these days. There are as many different "correct" playing styles as there are performers. It is difficult to decide whether to play Bach in a Baroque or "romanticized" style, or even in a mixed form with a little of both. But that should not deter you from playing his works - it should just be something you're aware of. Most likely, you will find that you have to develop your own creative style. I working on the Bach Prelude and Fugue no. 6, book 1, and I am preparing to begin the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue. I play with a mixed style - very little pedal, some dynamics and phrasing.

I think Beethoven is very difficult to play well, because there are so many nuances and fingering passages to work out - not to mention the extreme depth of emotional ideas. I am finishing the Pathetique sonata, which I really love. I also like the Waldstein, the Appasionata, the Tempest, and, of course, the Moonlight. If you need opus numbers, let me know on the forum.

Hope that helps a little!
"Everything has to be a matter of life and death. The evidence is right here. Suffering and joy. That's all there is. They're so close, it strikes terror into the human soul."

The Mozart Season

Offline martin_s

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #4 on: July 17, 2002, 08:02:58 PM
The Bach are all great. Have you tried the Eb major of the second book? Also, sary2106, how do you mean "with some dynamics and phrasing"?? I hope you are not suggesting that baroque musick is supposed to be played all "mf" and legato just because there are no markings... May I suggest Musica Antiqua Köln's recording of "Die Kunst der Fuge"?!

And for the Beethoven: I love op. 101. Reminds me a lot of the 7th symphony, another Beethoven favourite of mine.
8)

Offline ludwig

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #5 on: July 18, 2002, 03:20:35 AM

Beethoven's sonatas are so diverse and you can actually see the change in his musical ideas as you progress through the 2 books. I think that Beethoven's a genuis, I'm going to start on a Beethoven concerto with an orchestra soon. Either the 3rd in C min or the 5th. Have you guys heard of any recordings of these? I agree that these collections of works of beethoven and bach cannot be compared. I wasn't trying to  ;D
Actually Beethoven's music (early) was much onfluenced by Haydn. Bach's prelude and fugues shows a very smart way of writing. It could display a whole variety of musical ideas just from the one motif. I like playing these just as exercises for my fingers.
"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."ÜÜÜ

Offline martin_s

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #6 on: July 18, 2002, 11:58:02 AM
I heard Emanuel Ax play no. 5 in London a couple of years ago. Very very very good! Don't know whether he has recorded them (the concerti) though. Might be worth checking out.  ::)
There is also a great recording of no. 3 with Solomon (with the Philharmonia orchestra, recorded in '54 or something, great sound!) on EMI, coupled with equally great Beethoven 1 and the Schumann concerto.
I would not buy Ashkenazy's recordings, I find them quite boring.

Offline sary2106

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #7 on: July 18, 2002, 11:10:03 PM
I am responding to martin_s's question about what I meant by saying that I play Bach with "some dynamics and phrasing." I guess I perhaps did not explain myself well. I was not at all suggesting that Bach's music should be played all mezzo forte and very legato - that would be terribly boring. Instead, I think that Bach can be played in almost all dynamic ranges and with many forms of articulation. But the style, in my personal opinion, should not be Romanticized. (Some people do play it that way, with heavy pedal, romantic ornaments, extreme rubato - and I'm not saying they're wrong, I just don't agree with them.)

I feel that each style has its own peculiarities. The modern era might be well know for its dissonance! The romantic - for its passionate, emotional music. The classical - for its glittering restraint, carefully controlled dynamics. And the Baroque - for its richness of tone, its clean sound, and just the way they put the notes together. While I'm not suggesting that we try to play Bach as if the piano were a harpsichord, I feel it inappropriate to take ALL the tools of the Romantic era and play them in baroque music.

It's just a fine line to walk. Hope that clears it up a bit, martin_s!!  :D

Oh, and I have a recording of Van Cliburn playing the Beethoven Concerto 5. It's fantastic. You can probably get it just about anywhere. I love that concerto and I'm working on it now!
"Everything has to be a matter of life and death. The evidence is right here. Suffering and joy. That's all there is. They're so close, it strikes terror into the human soul."

The Mozart Season

Offline martin_s

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #8 on: July 19, 2002, 02:01:45 PM
Great Sary2106, that's what I was hoping to hear! Hope I didn't offend you with my previous post. I just tend to find it quite amazing (litteraly!) when I come across people who still maintain this 1950's "holy sewing machine" approach to Bach and other music with very little dynamics etc. marked in the score. I am glad to see that you are not one of those... ;)
I pretty much agree with your way of playing Bach, as you described it. I suppose I do think we want to use rubato in baroque music as well as in other styles, although we use baroque rubato (i.e. in the real sense of the word, "stolen time") as opposed to the various kinds of fluctuations in the actual tempo that we apply to later styles... We must also remember that Bach in particular is extremly rich in different styles that all require a different approach.

Offline ludwig

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Beethobach
Reply #9 on: July 21, 2002, 03:16:19 AM
I must say that before I played much Baroque music, I wasn't fond of it. I felt that especially piano music, the melody was predictable, the dynamics that was allowed according to one's own intepretation was limitied, and sometimes it displayed too much virtuoistic writing and "scientific" reasoning. eg. the enlightenment. But as Sary said, Baroque music has its own characteristics, and one can learn to like those characteristics if they have been exposed to and connected with it. But I must admit that classical piano music is not my idea of fun, especially early-middle period. Don't get me wrong, I love classical chamber, ensemble and orchestral music and concertos, also later classical piano music. Its just that the "controlled" and precise nature of it isn't very exciting. That doesn't include Beethoven though, I think he was an experimentalist and a innovator. :P
"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."ÜÜÜ

Offline martin_s

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #10 on: July 21, 2002, 10:41:18 AM
...rather like learning to drink coffe, I suppose... Some people like it straight away, while others need quite some time to get around the slightly bitterish tast of it.
::)

Offline MikeThePianist

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #11 on: August 07, 2002, 07:30:54 AM
I enjoy a great deal of Bach's work, especially beyond the Well-tempered Clavier.  He was truly a gifted artist.  I am currently working on his second partita.  His suites are so interesting!  :-)  A couple years ago, I actually despised the music of Bach and Scarlatti.  But, after switching to a good teacher, I have been shown the light!  I love all the periods now.  

Anyway, as for Bach, there isn't a bad sonata in the bunch (except maybe the Op. 49's, and they even have their redeeming qualities).  My favorites are Op. 2 No. 2&3, Op. 7, Op. 10 No. 3, all the Op. 31's, Op. 53 (Waldstein), Op. 57 (Appasionata) Op. 78, Op. 81a (Les Adieux), and Op. 106 (Hammerklavier).  I'm not particularly fond of the Moonlight, though.

Anyway, that's my two cents.  :-)

Mike
Michael Fauver is pursuing his bachelors degree in piano performance at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Offline MzrtMusic

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #12 on: August 09, 2002, 08:37:05 PM
Well, first of all, I must say that I agree with sary2106 that playing Bach is very controversial. However, I don't think that you can say "you should always play Bach with some dynamics and phrasing" or "Bach should be played as if it were on a harpsichord, paying attention to only the notes." There has to be some middle ground. Whenever I'm getting ready to work on a Bach piece, I sit down and look at it, and if it is a very Baroque set of works, then I go for the terraced dynamics affect, which can be very cool. If the piece doesn't have "harpsichord" written all over it, then I generally take a more romantic style. I'm currently working on the WTC P+F No. 2 in c minor, Bk. 1. The perpetual motion thing happening is very much a harpsichord thing, so that set is getting terraced dynamics. Last year, I worked on P+F No. 5  Bk. 1, and that is a little more romantic... I guess I'm just trying to say that you should look at each piece, and change your style for each piece, not each composer.

And as for Beethoven, I ADORE his sonatas!!!! Although, I must afree that the Op. 49 is a little bit... odd. I'm working on the "Appassionata" right now, and it is the most pwerful, awe-inspiring, knock-your-socks-off piece that I have ever worked on!!!! Beethoven was definitly a genius, the likes of which we haven't seen again...

So, that's my opinion, do with it what you like.
My heart is full of many things...there are moments when I feel that speech is nothing after all.
-- Ludwig Van Beethoven

Offline trunks

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Re: Beethobach
Reply #13 on: April 08, 2004, 12:14:52 AM
I would prefer the Beethoven Sonatas as a whole because each of the sonata is characteristic and I could easily listen to the entire set (more than 10 hours of music!) at one go without being bored.

Bach's music, on the other hand, must be appreciated individually. Bach's 48 merely amounts to roughly 5 hours of music but I won't do a Marathon on the whole set. Now that would no doubt bore me to heck, although listening to a few at a time would be a pleasure.
Peter (Hong Kong)
part-time piano tutor
amateur classical concert pianist
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