Piano Forum



Coronavirus Etude - A New Viral Piano Piece
A classic viral piano piece, "Dusting the Piano" has finally got a follow-up. While Dusting the Piano should be managable for players of ABRSM grade 1 and suitable for performances during less critical times, the new Coronavirus Etude is more complex (around ABRSM grade 5) and aimed to be more effective against viruses. Read more >>

Topic: WTC BACH!!! Richter discussion  (Read 2108 times)

Offline chopin2015

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2134
WTC BACH!!! Richter discussion
on: February 24, 2014, 03:34:38 AM
So, it is said that Richter learnt the 2nd book in 1 month.

Does anyone know how long it took him to learn book I? I would imagine learning book I extensively and completely, plus all theory that is applicable would really help learn the book II much faster.

Discuss!

I don't care if you do not like his pedaling on Bach or his interpretation.

I am asking about the process of learning the entire WTC.

As always, it is less ideal to cram music, all the time. Especially something essential and timeless, like the WTC, or the Chopin Ballades or Beethoven, even....

But, it seems like memorizing a Bach book would become natural, if that is exclusively what you work on, and you have a game plan


does anyone have any information on Richter's game plan?

I am still barely putting a dent on book I but I can sing the first few bars of quite a few of the preludes and fugues. haha....

AND/OR

tell me about your WTC experience

OR

any other professional musician's WTC experience

Ok, hope to hear from you!!

"Beethoven wrote in three flats a lot. That's because he moved twice."

Offline j_menz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 10150
Re: WTC BACH!!! Richter discussion
Reply #1 on: February 24, 2014, 04:10:29 AM
Richter had a vast repertoire, which he played only from memory before 1908 or so, so one would guess he memorised pieces relatively readily.

That said, I'd be surprised if he hadn't read through (at least) much of the second book earlier in his life, so "learnt in a month" might be a slight exaggeration on the part of Bruno Monsaingeon, who seems to be the source of the story (albeit a learned one).

As far as I can tell, he first performed the whole Book I in 1969, and the whole Book II in 1973, so one would think he might have at least dabbled a bit in the intervening years.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline chopin2015

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2134
Re: WTC BACH!!! Richter discussion
Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 05:16:06 AM
Agreed! he must have had plenty chances to play or read through any part of the WTC, as well as listen to it as a kid, since his father was quite the pianist, himself.

It is strange how the magic of the WTC works.

You develop technique by playing a variety of repertoire, which helps read and execute Bach, the more effortless Bach is, the less it seems like torture...haha, and then you learn Bach to improve said repertoire. Once you improve said repertoire, you go back to Bach and completely engulf yourself in it, and it is like you are learning a whole new WTC.

at least to me, it is so. I am just not to a point where I know what each of the 24 of the second book sounds like, even though I have listened to both books on repeat, multiple times, now. The first book, I am starting to understand...

Yes, reading through chunks of the WTC is fun, but automatically retaining it, perhaps I need to work on my recall...

I just bought the Richter conversations. Maybe I will find out a little more about his WTC experience...

thanks, jmenz!
"Beethoven wrote in three flats a lot. That's because he moved twice."

Offline kobethuy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: WTC BACH!!! Richter discussion
Reply #3 on: September 21, 2014, 03:32:03 PM
Well assuming he has tremendous skills (which he has), his game plan might be as followed:

Preludes: learn the chords, most preludes are quite repetitive in the texture so breaking them down into chord changes and such might save you a lot of time memorizing.

Fugues: learn the subject (original, inverted, modulated,etc...), learn the counter-subject, learn the entries, the stretti, the fingering. Subjects entries will more or less be accompanied by the recurring counter-subjects (i.e: Fugue No.22 in Bbm)

Offline flashyfingers

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 458
Re: WTC BACH!!! Richter discussion
Reply #4 on: September 21, 2014, 08:42:44 PM
Well assuming he has tremendous skills (which he has), his game plan might be as followed:

Preludes: learn the chords, most preludes are quite repetitive in the texture so breaking them down into chord changes and such might save you a lot of time memorizing.

Fugues: learn the subject (original, inverted, modulated,etc...), learn the counter-subject, learn the entries, the stretti, the fingering. Subjects entries will more or less be accompanied by the recurring counter-subjects (i.e: Fugue No.22 in Bbm)


Nice. Yes the preludes are all about sequences and the fugues are much more about Where is it going to go. Actually, I have no idea what I am talking about.

Book II is bloody hard.
I'm hungry

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6984
Re: WTC BACH!!! Richter discussion
Reply #5 on: September 22, 2014, 02:43:16 AM
If you want to memorize the entire set you will have to memorize it in many ways, one easy memory step that needs to be taken is to be able to hear all of the pieces in your head without the sheet music. This sound memory of pieces is important if you want to get to a point where you can play it without the sheet music.

Memorizing the entire set, or being able to play it ALL without the need of sheets is unnecessary imho. Many of the preludes and fugues can be simply sight read and there is no need to commit it to memory because of that. Many fugues benefit simply from multiple fluent sight reading routines rather than bar by bar brute force memorization as you can hear and feel the counterpoint weaving between the hands with good reading repetitions. When you focus on small parts of fugues without having the entire picture in context you can easy get confused by the patterns and they can be elusive to memorize.  You can get away with this in later music but in the fugues you can easily get muddled up because of the "similar but different" situations you constantly come across.

A keen sense of all all b and # in the key signature and the positions they create on the keyboard is important also since the book cycles through them.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline flashyfingers

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 458
Re: WTC BACH!!! Richter discussion
Reply #6 on: September 22, 2014, 02:50:27 AM
If you want to memorize the entire set you will have to memorize it in many ways, one easy memory step that needs to be taken is to be able to hear all of the pieces in your head without the sheet music. This sound memory of pieces is important if you want to get to a point where you can play it without the sheet music.

Memorizing the entire set, or being able to play it ALL without the need of sheets is unnecessary imho. Many of the preludes and fugues can be simply sight read and there is no need to commit it to memory because of that. Many fugues benefit simply from multiple fluent sight reading routines rather than bar by bar brute force memorization as you can hear and feel the counterpoint weaving between the hands with good reading repetitions. When you focus on small parts of fugues without having the entire picture in context you can easy get confused by the patterns and they can be elusive to memorize.  You can get away with this in later music but in the fugues you can easily get muddled up because of the "similar but different" situations you constantly come across.

A keen sense of all all b and # in the key signature and the positions they create on the keyboard is important also since the book cycles through them.

Excellent point!
The slower fugues and some of the medium tempo preludes can indeed be sight-read. I do not intend to memorize the entire set quite yet, but this really applies to memorizing or playing a few p&fs at a time, at performance standard.

thank you!
I'm hungry

Offline kobethuy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: WTC BACH!!! Richter discussion
Reply #7 on: September 22, 2014, 05:06:01 AM

Nice. Yes the preludes are all about sequences and the fugues are much more about Where is it going to go. Actually, I have no idea what I am talking about.

Book II is bloody hard.

well book 2 is obviously longer than the previous one, which adds to the difficulty. However, in contrary to my belief, many people claimed that book 2's pieces are easier to memorize and thus many chose to perform from book 2 rather than book 1.

Offline flashyfingers

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 458
Re: WTC BACH!!! Richter discussion
Reply #8 on: September 22, 2014, 05:46:46 PM
well book 2 is obviously longer than the previous one, which adds to the difficulty. However, in contrary to my belief, many people claimed that book 2's pieces are easier to memorize and thus many chose to perform from book 2 rather than book 1.

LOL

I laugh at this.
I'm hungry
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert