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How much in the last year have you listened to or studied the WTC vs Chopin Etudes?

WTC 0%--Chopets100%
10 (16.7%)
WTC25%--Chopets 75%
8 (13.3%)
WTC50%--Chopets50%
9 (15%)
75-25
24 (40%)
100-0
9 (15%)

Total Members Voted: 60

Discussion of WTC (Read 3866 times)

Offline thalberg

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Discussion of WTC
« on: August 20, 2007, 06:31:15 PM »
Quote

I think the time has come for a board (read: ghetto) dedicated to posts about these damned two etudes.  Would you people please go open up the Well-Tempered Clavier for a change?  Or just sit at home and read a book.

Walter Ramsey

Let's all discuss the WTC.  It's a great work, yet how many of us listent to it or discuss it?  I think it doesn't have the same competitive edge to it that the Chopin Etudes have--who can be more intimidating by playing it 3 notches faster on the metronome.

I have a good topic for discussing these.  We can talk about them from the  standpoint of the Affections, the Baroque idea that each piece of music embodies one basic emotion.  So, which is your favorite part of the WTC and which affection do you think it embodies. 

Feel free to discuss which is hardest, flashiest, whatever if you wish.

Sheet music to download and print: WTC 1 by Bach



Sheet music to download and print: WTC 2 by Bach



Offline pianistimo

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #1 on: August 20, 2007, 11:38:06 PM »
i always considered them sort of unaffected.  i mean, perhaps i have no feelings - but i play them and nothing happens.  it's sort of like - look mom i can pat my head and rub my stomach.  i have less and less desire to learn the fugues - although - when i'm practiced - i'd rather play a fugue than a prelude any day.  perhaps the thrill for me is to simply hear a church choir in my head.  there's no sort of sensuality to bach for me.  i mean, gould put some in here and there - but - really - the only way i make myself excited is to add octaves and pretend i'm playing the organ.

the chopin etudes are not my big 'cup of tea' either.  frankly, if i had to choose one or the other for a competition - i'd choose 5-6 preludes and fugues to one chopin etude. 

Offline thalberg

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #2 on: August 21, 2007, 02:24:39 AM »
pianistimo, people have told me what you said also.

For some reason, I find the WTC to hold intense emotions.  The D major Prelude.....can't remember which book....sounds intensely joyful to me.  C major book 1 sounds so peaceful and serene.

Bach touches me emotionally.  Others don't find it so.....but whatever.  Personally, I struggle most with the Romantics.  It's a weakness I wish I didn't have....what does it say about me?  Who knows.

Offline cmg

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #3 on: August 21, 2007, 02:56:32 AM »
Bach touches me emotionally.  Others don't find it so.....but whatever.  Personally, I struggle most with the Romantics.  It's a weakness I wish I didn't have....what does it say about me?  Who knows.

Me, too, blintz.  My major teacher used to say, ironically, "Bach was the most Romantic composer."  I know what he meant.  For me, Bach's music is the very definition of joy (innumerable examples, but the Sinfonia from Cantata 29 comes to mind first).  The St. John Passion opening chorus, "Herr, unser Herrscher"  makes me jump to my feet in total attention and respect for magnificence.  Whatever ceremonial or emotional response to life exists, Bach mapped it musically.  There are too many other examples . . . and the audience out there is comatose anyway.  You get my point.  You ain't alone.  Bach is the seminal force for all of us. 
Current repertoire:  "Come to Jesus" (in whole-notes)

Offline furtwaengler

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #4 on: August 21, 2007, 03:27:51 AM »
One evening a couple weeks ago I put on Samuil Feinberg's recording of the WTC and listened all the way through until the wee hours of the morning, 846 to 893, in one sitting.
Life altering.

I wish I were a poet so I could express in words, experiences with these creations in harmony with the universe. In this regard, there is Bach and there is late Beethoven (and late Schubert...my, my the G major Quartet!) to which everything else is a planet or a moon. (I can't get this to make sense! And there's much more for me in this category placed on par with the universe...I should leave it.)

I think I'll listen in the same way to Richter's Innsbruck performance when I have time...It's refreshment for the soul.

I don't understand people who can't take Bach. It doesn't mean I don't like them; I only don't understand them.

(thinking of F minor bk1 as I type)

Dave
Don't let anyone know where you tie your goat.

Offline jabbz

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #5 on: August 21, 2007, 08:53:35 AM »
For everyday technique, I'd say the WTC is more useful then the op.10/25 sets. I don't really have the tech to perform a Chopin etude at the moment, but Bach is good. I personally adore Bach, mostly likely my favourite composer jointly with Beethoven. Deeply spiritual and moving music.

Offline term

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #6 on: August 21, 2007, 09:24:13 AM »
Quote
Bach was the most Romantic composer
Interesting opinion. I agree, bach is very emotional.

From the whole wtc i like the c# minor fugue from the first book most. I listened to it many hundred times and i'm still not even a second bored.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something." - Plato
"The only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth" - Eco

Offline invictious

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #7 on: August 21, 2007, 09:44:52 AM »
Baroque question:
Personally Bach WAS a composer in the Baroque times, and as everyone knew, most of the things there was strict etc etc (you can say there was almost no emotion in the music)

After playing some Bach, I realize that is not the case. However, should Baroque music be played with lots of emotions? That's the question I am facing for DipABRSM. I might get accused of 'romaticisizing' a Baroque piece, if I play it mechanically, then the opposite happens..
Bach - Partita No.2
Scriabin - Etude 8/12
Debussy - L'isle Joyeuse
Liszt - Un Sospiro

Goal:
Prokofiev - Toccata

>LISTEN<

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #8 on: August 21, 2007, 09:51:17 AM »
i guess to express why i seem to not have these 'affectations' might be that i see bach in more a mathematical construct.  he defined boundaries and did not cross them (or so we think).  he might have actually changed more about them from time to time when he played them.  to me, that would be the excitement - to see what varied types of sounds and ideas like a kaleidescope will come from them.  instead of 'feelings' -for me - i get a picture in my head of a sparling chandalier, or intensity to registers (i notice registers the most in bach).  personally, to be moved tremendously would take a lot from me because i'd rather hear all the voices sung by different vocal registers to give them umph.  or different instruments.  you have so much going on in such tight quarters.  most of it gets lost on the listener.  also, in some preludes we have an awful lot of just one note.  how to make that one note sound interesting?!  dynamics, i guess - but tone is something else.  have you ever heard a bach prelude/fugue sound flat?  like there's no interest to it.  part of it is -we are not violins.  therefore - we cannot play towards 'up' when we go up and play towards 'down' when we go down.  therefore - for ultimate 'affectations' - we're stuck.

Offline counterpoint

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #9 on: August 21, 2007, 09:59:58 AM »
i always considered them sort of unaffected.  i mean, perhaps i have no feelings - but i play them and nothing happens. it's sort of like - look mom i can pat my head and rub my stomach.

pianistimo, you're sooo funny   :D :D :D
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline counterpoint

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #10 on: August 21, 2007, 11:33:40 AM »
On the topic:

I love the slow Fugues most. My favourite Fugue is C# Minor from WTC I. Perhaps that's a consequence of my lethargic nature   ::)  :D

If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline teresa_b

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #11 on: August 21, 2007, 12:33:29 PM »
I think (or do I feel?  ;)) that when you appreciate Bach and Chopin, you are tapping different emotions.  I don't "prefer" one or the other, but I feel different things as I listen or try to play them. 

This is my personal experience:  Bach fugues are more like mathematical constructs or architecture--a human-made wonder.  No, perhaps human-discovered in the way that mathematics is such--in its perfection and its pure defining of reality.  If you have the propensity to look at an equation and see the sublime and the beautiful, then you will see it in Bach. 

Chopin etudes are delectable confection, spun gold!  They have a sweetness missing in Bach, yet are not superficial.  I think it's easier to access the emotions in these Romantic jewels, as they are sparkling for all to hear.  (Playing them is another story.)

Teresa


Offline counterpoint

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #12 on: August 21, 2007, 01:15:02 PM »

This is my personal experience:  Bach fugues are more like mathematical constructs or architecture--a human-made wonder. 

I wonder, where this mathematical view of Bach's music comes from. If you hear the music - and even more if you play it - there are no mathematics but pure music. But is has to be played in a very free way to reveal the music in it. If you play it very strict, it will not begin to live. It will make the impression as it is fossilized or frozen music - not as something that comes from a person, that stood in the center of full life. If you have difficulties of "understanding" Bach - listen to his Cantatas and read their texts!
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline term

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #13 on: August 21, 2007, 01:16:08 PM »
If you have the propensity to look at an equation and see the sublime and the beautiful, then you will see it in Bach. 
Music is per definition still completely different from mathematics.
I personally, but many others too, love bach because he has to say something, a message to deliver in each one of his compositions, just like every other (good) composer.
I think people focus too much on the mathematical aspects of his music. They are only means to an end. What the listener captures in the end are never the mathematical implications and the complexity (and simplicity) of how the voices interact with each other, and i have never seen one who can understand them by hearing, it always requires analysis of the score.
The result, i.e. what finally remains when listening to bach, is - imo - never architectural, but organic, and for me is never *only* intellectual, but also emotional, since one can't exist without the other.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something." - Plato
"The only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth" - Eco

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #14 on: August 21, 2007, 01:19:03 PM »
perhaps as counterpoint is saying - presentation is everything.  i mean, if you don't grow up in germany - you're missing some of the fine undertones that may belong to the german language itself.  agreed that understanding everything about a composer helps.  in fact, just to listen to people speak and sing.  and, to understand the culture and times. 

it seems 'longwinded' to us today - and we need patience to sit through it at times.  but, if you imagine yourself in a court with nothing better to do - and a composer at your beck and call to play for you - and you just talk and carry on (and eat grapes) while they play - that's living it up!

the ornateness turns some people off, too.  but, when it's done properly and consistent - it is so beautiful.  perhaps the difficulty of bach turns off people as well.

i remember first attempting the preludes and fugues of bach as a youngster of maybe 12-13.  i just didn't like it.  i can't say why.  perhaps i was struggling with math at the same time and figured bach was just like a math teacher.  explaining everything the hard way.  no short cuts for him!  and practice it over and over, miss turtle.  i began to want to bite things.

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #15 on: August 21, 2007, 01:26:25 PM »
also, we have the issue of fingering.  if you don't help your students out A LOT with these things - they'll use one fingering one time and another another.  bach is one composer that you kinda need to practice the same fingerings with so you don't run out of fingers, so to speak.

now, i can freewheel because i know how to do more crossovers and things - but at the time i was attempting to use regular scalular fingerings (which only work on a few of the preludes and fugues very well).


and, there are many helpful things to know such as taking certain parts of the rh with the lh and visa-versa.

don't forget - reading double sharps.  if you don't hate bach after reading preludium III - temporarily - then you're alright as a sightreader.  has anyone ever heard of someone practicing bach and then committing suicide?  perhaps this was early beethoven's cause of depression (as well as his family problems and hearing loss).  it should be cheery music - but it's like telling a joke a thousand times and then asking someone to laugh at the end.

Offline counterpoint

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #16 on: August 21, 2007, 01:30:02 PM »
bach is one composer that you kinda need to practice the same fingerings with so you don't run out of fingers, so to speak.

That's so true!
One  runs out of fingers all the time. Some parts are practically impossible to play as they are notated.
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #17 on: August 21, 2007, 01:33:13 PM »
also, these things sound 100% better on the organ.

Offline counterpoint

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #18 on: August 21, 2007, 02:03:42 PM »
also, these things sound 100% better on the organ.

No  8)
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline elevateme_returns

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #19 on: August 21, 2007, 02:11:06 PM »
elevateme's joke of the week:
If John Terry was a Spartan, the movie 300 would have been called "1."

Offline teresa_b

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #20 on: August 21, 2007, 02:20:02 PM »
I wonder, where this mathematical view of Bach's music comes from. If you hear the music - and even more if you play it - there are no mathematics but pure music. But is has to be played in a very free way to reveal the music in it. If you play it very strict, it will not begin to live. It will make the impression as it is fossilized or frozen music - not as something that comes from a person, that stood in the center of full life. If you have difficulties of "understanding" Bach - listen to his Cantatas and read their texts!

I don't think you got my gist.  I'm not talking about mathematics as dry or fossilized, but as a dynamic and beautiful description of the universe.  I am not a mathematician, and I don't pretend to have achieved appreciation of the sublimity of mathematics on a gut level, but I do understand that on that level it has much in common with the fugues of Bach.  

Read "Godel, Escher, Bach" for a rather long and roundabout discussion of the recursive nature of number theory and Bach fugues (and to boot, Escher's art).  As an interesting aside, Godel's theorem states that for the real number system, there will always be some statement that is unprovable within the system.  While that may sound like gibberish, it stirs within mathematicians emotions not unlike those stirred in us while marveling at the way a Bach fugue may transcend the note-by-note reality and emerge as a profound manifestation of universal reality.

Teresa

Offline term

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #21 on: August 21, 2007, 02:20:54 PM »
I'd say no, because organs sound horrible.^^

(there are exceptions though, depending on the organ as well as the piece)
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something." - Plato
"The only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth" - Eco

Offline term

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #22 on: August 21, 2007, 02:23:37 PM »
a Bach fugue may transcend the note-by-note reality and emerge as a profound manifestation of universal reality.
How very true!

worth a qoute, but there's no chars left in my signature :/

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something." - Plato
"The only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth" - Eco

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #23 on: August 21, 2007, 02:29:11 PM »
here's david sanger playing some bach preludes and fugues on the organ:
http://www.emusic.com/album/David-Sanger-J-S-Bach-The-Organ-Works-of-J-S-Bach-MP3-Download/10992130.html

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #24 on: August 21, 2007, 02:38:53 PM »
click on 'sound clips'  to hear fred j. cooper memorial pipe organ at the kimmel center.
http://www.kimmelcenter.org/facilities/organ/media.php

Offline elevateme_returns

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #25 on: August 21, 2007, 04:13:43 PM »
I'd say no, because organs sound horrible.^^

(there are exceptions though, depending on the organ as well as the piece)

thank you for giving a reason and not just saying "no."
elevateme's joke of the week:
If John Terry was a Spartan, the movie 300 would have been called "1."

Offline counterpoint

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #26 on: August 21, 2007, 04:47:10 PM »
thank you for giving a reason and not just saying "no."

It's not the sound of the organ, but its the total lack of touch sensitivity. You can't emphasize the themes sufficiently. Every instrument with touch sensitivity is better for fugues than an organ.
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline thalberg

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #27 on: August 21, 2007, 06:04:08 PM »
I hear what teresa is saying about the mathematics.  Mathematics are absolute truth--there is no denying mathematical truths.  Bach's music is the same way--it has a ring of absolute truth to  it.  And truth is such a beautiful thing.  So many other composers communicate emotion, but Bach somehow manages to communicate truth...not impersonal truth, but rather truth personified, with emotions and feelings and everything as a part of the greater whole.  I feel that I hear Jesus in Bach's music.....not the Jesus everyone argues over, but the pure love in the presence of which nothing else matters.

Offline teresa_b

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #28 on: August 21, 2007, 08:15:38 PM »
How very true!

worth a qoute, but there's no chars left in my signature :/



Thanks!  :)
Teresa

Offline jose andres navarro

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #29 on: November 19, 2008, 02:50:42 AM »
I think the preludes are EASIER and the fugues are MOST DIFFICULT. Why are the both level 8? :o

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #30 on: November 19, 2008, 09:58:35 AM »
I dont like the WTC much, too boring for me. I prefer the French and English suites much more  :-X
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Offline camstrings

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #31 on: November 19, 2008, 11:58:02 AM »
Book 1 B flat minor prelude. Seems like an expression of grief in anticipation of Shostakovich's darkest pieces.

Offline nyonyo

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #32 on: November 24, 2008, 03:55:25 AM »
In the past, I did not like WTC. However after listening to Gould's WTC book 1, I was totally hooked. I just could not believe how beautiful each Prelude and Fugue.

Those who do not like WTC really should listen to Gould's. If you still cannot hear the beauty, you may want to stop playing piano.

Offline 00range

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #33 on: November 24, 2008, 10:21:04 PM »
I disagree. I much prefer Rubsam or Tureck to Gould's WTC.
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Offline bachapprentice

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Re: Discussion of WTC
«Reply #34 on: November 27, 2008, 01:26:03 AM »
Bach is harder to play great than any other composer. Gould was amazing a true master of playing Bach.