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Bach advice-recommendations


pete psingpy

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I'm looking for some recommendations for solo piano recordings of Bach. I guess I'm wondering 1. what are some good choices of pieces (e.g. 2-part, 3-part inventions, well tempered clavier, etc)ranging from whatever his easiest stuff is to his most difficult 2. actual performance recording suggestions.

 

I found a recording at home of Martha Argerich playing I think a Bach sonata in Cminor. It's great and made me realize I have very little Bach solo keyboard music. I thought all of the sonatas were for violin.

 

Thanks

Pete

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Not sure quite what you're after, but it sounds like you'd like to study some of his solo works. I'm not familiar with specific recordings, but here are 2 pages that you can check out that might be of help to you.

 

The first is an interactive page with audio and scores for the Well Tempered Clavier. It's free to the public, but you will need to install Shockwave Player in order to see any of it.

http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~tas3/wtc/wtc.html

 

The second smply contains pictures of each page of the score. It's free to look at, but no audio.

http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/variations/scores/abt8726/index.html

 

Hope this helps. Good luck with your study!

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I really enjoy listening (and attempting to play)the Goldberg variations. Recordings by Glenn Gould are interesting, since this was the work that launched his career. He re-recorded it many years later. Well, not that many.

 

I think it's hard to beat Bach's Invention #1 in C+ for a simple joyride. An open call for your personal stamp re articulation. Intermediate level.

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Thanks for the responses. I'm generally most interested in recordings, and ones that are not very progressive in interpretation.

 

By the way, what are some examples of Bach solo keyboard pieces from easiest to his hardest?

 

I'm guessing some of the 2 or 3 part inventions must be difficult. Some of the Well Tempered Clavier too must be on the challeging side.

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Glenn Gould, absolutely. Bach was one of his specialities.

 

I particularly like his recordings of the Two- and Three-Part Inventions, the Goldberg Variations, and especially the Well Tempered Clavier (both volumes). However, I'd stay away from his recordings of the Partitas and the Toccatas; they have a strange cold, detached quality which rubs me the wrong way.

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Here is a pretty good list that orders Bach's WTC (books 1 and 2) from easiest to hardest. Of course, this list is pretty subjective, but it's good to use as a guideline.

 

1. no. 15 in G (Book II)

2. no. 6 in Dm

3. no. 21 in Bb

4. no. 10 in Em

5. no. 20 in Am (Book II)

6. no. 11 in F

7. no. 2 in Cm

8. no. 9 in E

9. no. 13 in F#

10. no. 21 in Bb (Book II)

11. no. 6 in Dm (Book II)

12. no. 19 in A (Book II)

13. no. 11 in F (Book II)

14. no. 19 in A

15. no. 14 in F#m

16. no. 18 in G#m

17 no. 2 in Cm (Book II)

18. no. 5 in D

19. no. 7 in Eb

20. no. 14 in F#m (Book II)

21. no. 7 in Eb (Book II)

22. no. 1 in C

23. no. 17 in Ab

24. no. 13 in F# (Book II)

25. no. 15 in G

26. no. 12 in Fm (Book II)

27. no. 1 in C (Book II)

28. no. 24 in Bm (Book II)

29. no. 10 in Em (Book II)

30. no. 16 in Gm

31. no. 5 in D (Book II)

32. no. 18 in G#m (Book II)

33. no. 24 in Bm

34. no. 9 in E (Book II)

35. no. 4 in C#m (Book II)

36. no. 23 in B

37. no. 3 in C# (Book II)

38. no. 12 in Fm

39. no. 3 in C#

40. no. 8 in D#m (Book II)

41. no. 22 in Bbm

42. no. 17 in Ab (Book II)

43. no 4 in C#m

44. no. 8 in D#m

45. no. 20 in Am

46. no. 22 in Bbm (Book II)

47. no. 16 in Gm (Book II)

48. no. 23 in B (Book II)

 

The first one I learned was No. 21 (B-flat major) from book 1. It's a cool piece that's not too difficult, and a good study in broken chords and scalar passages.

 

I don't have any kind of list for the Inventions, but I can tell you that in the 2-Part Inventions, numbers 1 (C major) and 4 (D minor) are the easiest.

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Originally posted by pete psingpy:

Thanks for the responses. I'm generally most interested in recordings, and ones that are not very progressive in interpretation.

 

By the way, what are some examples of Bach solo keyboard pieces from easiest to his hardest?

 

I'm guessing some of the 2 or 3 part inventions must be difficult. Some of the Well Tempered Clavier too must be on the challeging side.

The French suites are a nice intermediate standard. And they are fun to play too - its dance music.
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Thanks for all the info and suggestions.

 

I've definitely been looking at the Glenn Gould recordings...

 

Also, I've seen some others that look interesting:

 

Martha Argerich - Toccatas, partitas

Angela Hewitt? - inventions

 

I generally like a lot of Argerich's other recordings. No experience with Hewitt though, I have never heard of her.

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Other historical recordings of the Well Tempered Clavier include those of Sviatoslav Richter, Rosalyn Tureck and Tatiana Nikolayeva. However, Gould is still my favorite.

 

There's also a version of the Goldberg Variations played by Keith Jarrett on harpsicord. (!) I find it really magnificient. :)

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One thing I am interested in are some very challeging and difficult fugues for the piano, Bach or by others. For example, there's an 8-part fugue in Alkan's piano sonata if I remember correctly. There must also be some very challenging Bach ones too.
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Some of the "denser" fugues from Bach's WTC get into 4-5 voices, and yes they are very challenging. Of course, Alkan is just ridculous. His etude "Comme le Vent" requires a four-minute, non-stop barrage of 64th notes and 32nd note triplets at a speed of 8th note = 160. It's supposedly impossible to play at tempo, although some have come very close. Comme le Vent indeed (it means "like the wind")! :eek:
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Great suggestions by everyone, and I fully agree - you can't beat Glenn Gould when it comes to Bach. I didn't care for the Keith Jarrett recording of the Goldberg Variations mainly because I much prefer them on piano. Gould's earlier recording (I think from the 1950's) is by far my favorite.

 

If you are serious about studying Bach, don't limit yourself to just his keyboard works. In my opinion, he never wrote anything more sublime than his mass in B minor. What an amazing mind he had!!

 

Kirk

Reality is like the sun - you can block it out for a time but it ain't goin' away...
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Originally posted by pete psingpy:

One thing I am interested in are some very challeging and difficult fugues for the piano, Bach or by others.

Pete - if you're interested in modern contrapuntal writing, check the last movement of Hindemith's Third Piano Sonata. It's very challenging. Gould recorded it, among others.
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Originally posted by Bridog6996:

Some of the "denser" fugues from Bach's WTC get into 4-5 voices, and yes they are very challenging. Of course, Alkan is just ridculous. His etude "Comme le Vent" requires a four-minute, non-stop barrage of 64th notes and 32nd note triplets at a speed of 8th note = 160. It's supposedly impossible to play at tempo, although some have come very close. Comme le Vent indeed (it means "like the wind")! :eek:

Regarding Alkan, I went back and checked. The 8 part fugue is in the second section, "Quasi-Faust", of the Grand Sonata Op. 33.
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