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ACTL Diploma: Should I do the repeats in Bach? (Read 347 times)

Offline emmasommerv

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ACTL Diploma: Should I do the repeats in Bach?
« on: February 20, 2021, 07:45:47 PM »
Hey everyone,
I'm picking my repertoire for the ATCL performance diploma, and I'm unsure whether or not I should play the repeats in Bach Partita No.2 in C minor. I'm playing the Sinfonia, Allemande, and Capriccio. The Allemande has two entire page repeats, bringing it from 2 to 4 pages. The Capriccio has two 2 page repeats, bringing it from 4 to 8 pages. Does anyone have any advice on whether they'll expect me to play the repeats or not? I'm not really sure what would be best. Thanks.

Offline j_tour

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Re: ACTL Diploma: Should I do the repeats in Bach?
«Reply #1 on: February 20, 2021, 08:43:14 PM »
I don't know the specific diploma standards, but I will say that Angela Hewitt's numerous Bach performances has converted me into a "fan" of doing the repeats.  Yes, I know she's far from the only recording artist to perform this way (I don't know if anyone records without the repeats), but that's probably the main thing I learned from her recordings of Bach.

She always has something interesting to "say" in the repeats.

The dance movements in the Cm partita, though, are already pretty long, IIRC, but I might just be thinking of the Sinfonia (beginning "dance").

I still say you should perform the repeats, and give yourself the chance to demonstrate creativity and adaptation in different ways of the music.

And, a bit more cynically, in performance, it's almost like giving yourself a "do-over" if you're not happy with the first repeat. 

I can't think of a reason to not perform the repeats.  Especially when it happens to be very good music, as in this partita.  But, I really don't know the specific standards of the judges.
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Offline emmasommerv

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Re: ACTL Diploma: Should I do the repeats in Bach?
«Reply #2 on: February 20, 2021, 08:49:06 PM »
Hey thanks for you reply. I guess my main reason for thinking of not doing them is that I was told not to do them for a competition once. I guess that's quite a different playing scenario though. I get what you mean, I've noticed in a lot of recordings how the repeats really add something to it. It seems a shame not to play them I guess!

Offline anacrusis

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Re: ACTL Diploma: Should I do the repeats in Bach?
«Reply #3 on: February 21, 2021, 05:35:48 PM »
Back when I was in music college, I was told to avoid repeats when doing auditions/exams. The reason being that often the jury will hear many people play, for many hours each day, and often different people will be playing the same pieces. As you can imagine the jury can become tired of hearing the music as it is even without the repeats. Plus playing a repeat and playing worse the second time can harm the overall impression you make.

Offline andrewuk

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Re: ACTL Diploma: Should I do the repeats in Bach?
«Reply #4 on: February 22, 2021, 09:42:47 AM »
The syllabus has this to to say about repeats (and nothing else that I can find):

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All da capo and dal segno instructions should be observed. Repeats of the exposition/recapitulation sections and other long repeats, as well as those within variations, should not be played. If the examiner feels that the overall performing time of the recital has been compromised, for instance by the inclusion of repeats in other areas that are not justified musically, the exam may be referred and/ or invalidated.

which seems to imply that you would certainly be on safe ground in not playing the long repeats in the Partita, and that if you do you should try to find "musical justification" for them; maybe adding ornamentation.  I must say they seem to have a rather philistine attitude to repeats, which after all are specifically notated by the composer, especially in the blanket ban on playing them in variations.

In contrast, the ABRSM diploma syllabus just says:
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The observance of repeats and interpretative decisions such as phrasing and the realization of ornaments are also matters in which you are expected to use your discretion to achieve a stylistically appropriate and musically satisfying performance.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: ACTL Diploma: Should I do the repeats in Bach?
«Reply #5 on: February 22, 2021, 05:05:27 PM »
I guess it depends on how well you played it the first time and if you think you have more to say.
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