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#1724123 - 07/31/11 05:42 PM Bach's Little Preludes
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
I love Bach, but I'm kinda burnt out on Anna Magdalena's Notebook. I think I might be ready to try an easy prelude, so does anyone have suggestions of which ones might be best to start with?

I'm thinking of getting this edition because it seems to have helpful supplemental material, as well as a CD (I'm pretty insolvent & thus working by myself, so I need all the help I can get).
Amazon: J. S. Bach - 18 Short Preludes
Are there other options with good supplementary material that I should consider instead/as well?

I also have recording of the Little Preludes by Glenn Gould & Angela Hewett. Are there others I should be on the lookout for? Any interesting articles to read, or instructive videos I should look up on Youtube?

Any other suggestions or tips anyone might think of are very welcome.
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#1724135 - 07/31/11 06:16 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
ChristineG Offline
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Registered: 03/18/09
Posts: 33
Loc: Montreal, Quebec
Sounds like a good idea to me, they are very playable, but offer scope for improvement. After a 20 years hiatus from the piano, I found the little preludes were a great way to get reacquainted with Bach. I had the greatest difficulty with numbers 4 and 6, until I got out my highlighters and coloured in the various voices! I found no. 2 to be the easiest, but they all have their challenges. I got as far as no. 8 so I can't really give you more in the way of suggestions.
Btw, I bought the edition you are considering, without the CD (but I am taking lessons). I found it easy to read, and the section on ornamentation was helpful.

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#1724174 - 07/31/11 08:21 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
packa Offline
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Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Many teachers recommend the Little Preludes as a transition from the AM Notebook to the Inventions and Sinfonias (also known as the Two-Part and Three-Part Inventions) or the French Suites. The Alfred editions are very good student resources for all of these.
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#1724358 - 08/01/11 06:19 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
Teodor Offline
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Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 939
Loc: Bulgaria
I recommend watching this too. (it has more parts if you want to follow on it) I've studied 2 of the LPs so far, they are amazing and helped me progress nicely. I recommend beginning with Prelude in E minor, BWV 941. It is not the easiest one in the book but it is only 1 page and it contains a lot of things that will serve as stepping stones for the next bach preludes you decide to learn.

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#1724929 - 08/02/11 01:01 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
A lot of people are not aware that Bach also compiled a book of simple pieces for his son Wilhelm.

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/Notebook-For-Wilhelm-Friedemann-Bach/2449914

It has a bunch of great works to play that are not too difficult.

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#1724956 - 08/02/11 01:52 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
Baroque Style Offline
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Registered: 12/09/09
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#1724999 - 08/02/11 03:58 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: Teodor]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Originally Posted By: Teodor

(This is not directed at you Tedor, so please don't be offended)

That is an absolutely terrible performance of the 1st two-part invention. I can't for the life of me understand why people think she is such a great Bach interpreter.

It is somewhat ironic that in this lecture she advises against an overly romantic Bach style:



Now compare this to a good interpretation of Bach



I think the contrast between these two videos really puts into perspective how "good" a Bach interpreter she really is.

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#1725003 - 08/02/11 04:26 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
Teodor Offline
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Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 939
Loc: Bulgaria
I am not at all offended. I just found some of her tips useful and I enjoyed her playing too. For example bringing out certain voices, when you should consider playing legato and when detached... I couldn't judge her playing at this stage as I am not as competent at this point.

I try not to dismiss anyone's style or interpretation because it's so subjective. One person likes it, another doesn't and they all have their reasons.
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#1725014 - 08/02/11 06:30 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Hi everyone, I'm new around here....

I'm just returning to the piano after 35 years away from it (I had just under two years of lessons as a young teenager, with piano as second instrument).

Bach is my favourite, and I too have started looking at the preludes. I suppose you could say I'm on the 'better piano playing though Bach' path, and the preludes is my current stage.

I kicked off with the Prelude (only) in C major from the Well Tempered Clavier book 1 (the only piece in the WTC within my range at present, I'd imagine). A lovely piece. Given that this is perhaps the only WTC piece you'd play for a while, it's probably worth finding the sheet music (legally) online rather than buying the book. For example, here at the public domain Mutopia project:
http://sca.uwaterloo.ca/Mutopia/cgibin/make-table.cgi?Composer=BachJS
It's BWV 846
This doesn't have fingering, but I've found there are no major fingering issues in this piece, and I'm happy to share. (I do always mark fingering, and try to play consistently.)

I'm now working on BWV999, the 'prelude for lute'. A little more challenging when you get to the second page, with left-hand jumps (always to the same note, though!), but I reckon it's good practice :-)
This is in my book J S Bach, Kliene Praludien und Fughetten (G. Henle Verlag collection), which has 26 preludes and fugues.

On Sunday I had a go at playing both of these on a double manual harpsichord belonging to a friend, which was pretty magical, and a little challenging as I'd never had a go on a harpsichord before, and I'd never played in front of anyone - let alone an expert harpsichordist! - before. I've found it to be very motivating to have this amazing instrument to go and play on when I'm - ahem - 'ready' i.e. when I can play something passably.

I've also just started looking at BWV 924 (from the collection for W. Fr. Bach), which is also from the same Verlag collection. Suggested by my harpsichordist friend, and then we discovered it was the first one in the Verlag book.

After that perhaps BWV 926 and some simple hands together :-)

My ultimate objective is the WTC (such as No. 3 in C minor from book 1) and similar material, and no doubt the Inventions will be the stage before that. And if I get that far I may get a harpsichord :-)

You'll notice a pattern with the Preludes I've started with: you don't, by and large, have to think about LH and RH at *exactly* the same moment. So with these pieces I'm not learning RH and LH separately (though I will do with the next pieces).

I've found it very useful to listen to various interpretations of each piece as I've started to learn it (piano/harpsichord/clavichord on CD, Youtube, different interpreters such as Gould), so that I know I'm on vaguely the right lines and I can see the range of what seems permissible in terms of speed, what the performer is bringing out in the music etc.

I've also started to play each piece in different ways: different speeds, softly, staccato and so on. My plan now is to memorise each piece as I learn it, and I'm surprised how much of it is sinking in, even at my advanced age. I started learning 999 last week, and the first page already seems to be 95% memorised without me having really planned to achieve that.

I bought a metronome, but only use it occasionally to determine how fast someone else is playing, and how fast I am playing (for a few bars). In other words to scare myself ;-). Then I put it away, and a week later I've found I've really speeded up without too much effort.

What I like about this material - apart from the music itself, which is lovely - is that it does make the left hand do some proper work, and the LH is my weak point as most of my training was violin, so my bass clef was never so secure, and I have just had to re-learn reading the bass clef. I may deliberately choose preludes that have lots of LH work, to make up this deficit.

I'm currently working without a teacher but plan to start lessons in the autumn - though it's actually been quite difficult finding a teacher with free slots that I can do...

If you'd like to discuss certain Bach preludes, detail on fingering or whatever in certain pieces, please do post here!



Edited by Eglantine (08/02/11 06:34 AM)
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1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1725127 - 08/02/11 11:42 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
Teodor Offline
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Registered: 12/16/09
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Loc: Bulgaria
Eglantine I like your motivation and positive approach! I want to one day play pieces from the WTC too and also the inventions.

My biggest issue with these preludes has been keeping the tempo constant. As soon the 16th notes start I tend to go play too fast and I am having trouble counting through them.
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#1725236 - 08/02/11 02:06 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Teodor, I realise myself how much my tempo varies when I put on the metronome. But then it's the same when I put on a CD of some harpsichordist - although the variation there tends to be in a narrower band! So it's clear none of us is clockwork ;-)

I think I'll leave sorting out the regularity of tempo until I have a piece memorised to perfection.

I'm slightly confused by the term Little Preludes, as the Verlag book I have contains four different sets of them, with the same numbers (1-6, 1- 1-7 etc.)... Thanks for the recommendation on 941.
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Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1725263 - 08/02/11 02:51 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: Eglantine]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: Eglantine
I'm slightly confused by the term Little Preludes, as the Verlag book I have contains four different sets of them, with the same numbers (1-6, 1- 1-7 etc.)... Thanks for the recommendation on 941.

Here's part of Williard Palmer's explanation of the origins of the pieces usually called Little Preludes or, sometimes, Short Preludes (from J. S. Bach: 18 Short Preludes for the Keyboard (2nd ed.), Alfred Publishing, 1992):

"The Twelve Short Preludes were first collected and published in the middle of the 19th century by F. K. Griepenkerl, who arranged them in ascending order of keys. . . . The Six Short Preludes were first published by Hoffmeister and Kühnel, edited by J. N. Forkey."

These pieces were not composed by Bach as a set. Seven of them are from the Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Fridemann Bach. The others are apparently preserved only in copies from some of Bach's friends and students. The Alfred/Palmer edition follows the historical publishing precedent by presenting them as a set of twelve followed by a set of six.
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#1725265 - 08/02/11 02:59 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
crogersrx Offline
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Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 712
Loc: San Francisco, CA
While I don't recognize Angela Hewitt as the foremost authority of playing JS Bach on the piano, I think she is a very sensitive player of Bach's music. There are so many arguments about how JS Bach's music should be played, and most miss some point or other by a wide margin. It's been over 250 years since anyone actually heard JS Bach play. We have many good historical treatises on how music was played in the Baroque era, and Bach himself noted ornamentations in a few very important works with such precision that we can surmise much about how he treated certain types of passages.

Bach is thought to have seen and played a very early example of a pianoforte, and not to have liked it... that doesn't mean that he wouldn't have loved a more advanced piano like we've had since the middle 1800's. True, he didn't have dynamics to work with on the harpsichord, but there were a huge arsenal of expressive tools that a harpsichordist (and organist) had at their disposal for expression, and we have good historical documentation of these techniques. Anyone who thinks that JS Bach meant his music to by played in a purely mechanical fashion like a programmed MIDI, is sadly misinformed, and any decently educated musicologist with a major of study in the Baroque era will affirm this.

The challenge for a pianist playing Bach's keyboard works, or transcriptions for the piano, is to play using a combination of the general musical interpretation for orchestral instruments (which have dynamic variation) and yet blend that with the subtle rubato that a keyboardist would have used, and yet not make a Baroque piece sound like a Classical or Romance era piece. I think that Angela Hewitt does a spectacular job at blending these techniques and achieving a pleasing performance that is sensitive to the orignal baroque interpreation.
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#1725310 - 08/02/11 04:09 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Teodor, I've just had a brief run through 941 and I really like it. As you say, a little more challenging. It's gone to the top of the queue. Thank you.
_________________________
Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1725338 - 08/02/11 04:49 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
landorrano Offline
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Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2443
Loc: France
Lovely name, Eglantine.

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#1725413 - 08/02/11 06:16 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: crogersrx]
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: crogersrx
Bach is thought to have seen and played a very early example of a pianoforte, and not to have liked it.


Sorry, but this is probably incorrect. According to a Gould interview I listened to, Gould said that Bach actually had rather favourable things to say about the piano.

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#1725461 - 08/02/11 08:02 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: polyphasicpianist]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Originally Posted By: crogersrx
Bach is thought to have seen and played a very early example of a pianoforte, and not to have liked it.


Sorry, but this is probably incorrect. According to a Gould interview I listened to, Gould said that Bach actually had rather favourable things to say about the piano.


From Grove Music Online:

"[Bach] had also taken a critical interest in the pianos that Gottfried Silbermann was building during the 1730s, proposing alterations in the mechanism which Silbermann evidently adopted. At all events, Bach praised Silbermann’s later pianos and promoted their sale (a receipt for one sold to Poland, dated 6 May 1749, survives). On his visit to Potsdam in 1747 he played on a range of Silbermann pianos of the newer type which had been purchased by the Prussian court."
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#1725485 - 08/02/11 08:49 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: packa]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: packa

From Grove Music Online:

"[Bach] had also taken a critical interest in the pianos that Gottfried Silbermann was building during the 1730s, proposing alterations in the mechanism which Silbermann evidently adopted. At all events, Bach praised Silbermann’s later pianos and promoted their sale (a receipt for one sold to Poland, dated 6 May 1749, survives). On his visit to Potsdam in 1747 he played on a range of Silbermann pianos of the newer type which had been purchased by the Prussian court."


Well, even though this Grove music paragraph is a bit vague on details, it does, nonetheless, seem to support Gould's comment. Thanks for posting.

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#1725696 - 08/03/11 06:50 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: landorrano]
Eglantine Offline

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Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Lovely name, Eglantine.


Thanks, Landorrano!
_________________________
Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1725700 - 08/03/11 06:59 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
Eglantine Offline

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Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Small problem in BWV 999:

At the beginning of bar 23, my two editions each show a different note in the left hand: in the Verlag, it's E; in Classic Piano Collection ed. John Vallier, pub Cramer Music, it's D. The note in exactly the same position in surrounding bars (4 bars before, and 9 bars after) is D, and I don't think the E makes much sense... but on the other hand the Verlag would appear to be a 'more authoritative' score (whatever that means). Could this be a mis-print in the Verlag? (I haven't checked for any other differences.)

I've tried looking on the internet for other sources, but all the other ones I've found of 999 are the lute music, not keyboard.
_________________________
Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1725767 - 08/03/11 10:14 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: Eglantine]
packa Offline
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Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: Eglantine
At the beginning of bar 23, my two editions each show a different note in the left hand: in the Verlag, it's E; in Classic Piano Collection ed. John Vallier, pub Cramer Music, it's D.

The Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe version on IMSLP shows E (admittedly not the latest scholarship). Palmer's version in the Alfred edition of the Little Preludes claims to be based on a re-examination of the original sources and also shows E. I'm not at the library today to check the Neue Bach Ausgabe. E makes sense to me with the C# in the other voice.
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#1725812 - 08/03/11 11:47 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: packa]
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Thanks, packa. That's amazingly useful input. Thankfully this item is in the section I haven't yet started to memorise, so the error is not ingrained in my brain.

It's clearly useful to compare sources before learning a piece! And perhaps worthwhile me recovering some music theory. (I passed UK Grade V theory as a teenager, but that was over three decades ago and the best part of it has vanished into the ether.)
_________________________
Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1725822 - 08/03/11 11:56 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: packa]
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Originally Posted By: packa
Originally Posted By: Eglantine
I'm slightly confused by the term Little Preludes, as the Verlag book I have contains four different sets of them, with the same numbers (1-6, 1- 1-7 etc.)... Thanks for the recommendation on 941.

Here's part of Williard Palmer's explanation of the origins of the pieces usually called Little Preludes or, sometimes, Short Preludes (from J. S. Bach: 18 Short Preludes for the Keyboard (2nd ed.), Alfred Publishing, 1992):

"The Twelve Short Preludes were first collected and published in the middle of the 19th century by F. K. Griepenkerl, who arranged them in ascending order of keys. . . . The Six Short Preludes were first published by Hoffmeister and Kühnel, edited by J. N. Forkey."

These pieces were not composed by Bach as a set. Seven of them are from the Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Fridemann Bach. The others are apparently preserved only in copies from some of Bach's friends and students. The Alfred/Palmer edition follows the historical publishing precedent by presenting them as a set of twelve followed by a set of six.


Thanks for the background, packa. There are clearly several sets and/or collections... which makes it all the more confusing when some refers to 'number 4' or similar, as there are clearly - for example - several number 4's.
_________________________
Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1725837 - 08/03/11 12:21 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: Eglantine]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: packa
The Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe version on IMSLP shows E (admittedly not the latest scholarship). Palmer's version in the Alfred edition of the Little Preludes claims to be based on a re-examination of the original sources and also shows E. I'm not at the library today to check the Neue Bach Ausgabe. E makes sense to me with the C# in the other voice.


Sorry for the sloppy writing in my previous post. The editions I consulted showed Eb of course (not just E).


Edited by packa (08/03/11 05:14 PM)
Edit Reason: Wrong quote
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#1725844 - 08/03/11 12:38 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
From Wikipedia:
Quote:
Little Preludes from Clavier-Büchlein for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (924–932)

* BWV 924 — Prelude in C major
* BWV 924a — Prelude in C major (alternative version of BWV 924)
* BWV 925 — Prelude in D major
* BWV 926 — Prelude in D minor
* BWV 927 — Praeambulum in F major
* BWV 928 — Prelude in F major
* BWV 929 — Prelude in G minor
* BWV 930 — Prelude in G minor
* BWV 931 — Prelude in A minor
* BWV 932 — Prelude in E minor

Six Little Preludes (933–938)

* BWV 933 — Little Prelude in C major
* BWV 934 — Little Prelude in C minor
* BWV 935 — Little Prelude in D minor
* BWV 936 — Little Prelude in D major
* BWV 937 — Little Prelude in E major
* BWV 938 — Little Prelude in E minor

Five Preludes from the collection of Johann Peter Kellner (939–943)
* BWV 939 — Prelude in C major
* BWV 940 — Prelude in D minor
* BWV 941 — Prelude in E minor
* BWV 942 — Prelude in A minor
* BWV 943 — Prelude in C major

So which of these are in the Alfred's edition? It seems to lack BWV numbers...

The ABRSM edition describes itself thus:
"Eighteen Little Preludes BWV 924-8, 930, 933-43 & 999"
Why does it omit some of the above?


Edited by tangleweeds (08/03/11 12:39 PM)
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#1725855 - 08/03/11 12:55 PM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: tangleweeds]
Eglantine Offline

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Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
For the sake of comparison, the Henle Verlag edition includes:

BWV 924, 925, 926, 927, 928, 930, 931 (Kleine Praludien fur W. Fr. Bach)
BWV 933, 934, 935, 936, 937, 938 (Sechs kleine Praludien)
BWV 939, 940, 941, 942, 943, 999 (Sechs kleine Praludien)
BWV 961, 952, 953, 902a, 902, 899, 900, 895 (preludes and fugues)

Agreed, without BWV numbers we are all at sea, and am surprised a publisher doesn't include.
_________________________
Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1726392 - 08/04/11 08:03 AM Re: Bach's Little Preludes [Re: packa]
Eglantine Offline

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Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Originally Posted By: packa
Originally Posted By: packa
The Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe version on IMSLP shows E (admittedly not the latest scholarship). Palmer's version in the Alfred edition of the Little Preludes claims to be based on a re-examination of the original sources and also shows E. I'm not at the library today to check the Neue Bach Ausgabe. E makes sense to me with the C# in the other voice.


Sorry for the sloppy writing in my previous post. The editions I consulted showed Eb of course (not just E).


I tried it out with the Eb this morning: nice, another twist to the mood. (And I should have said Eb in my original post.)

I love this piece, but I think it's going to be a little trickier memorising the second page than the first. I'm wondering why it's sinking in more slowly: I know every bar, but it's proving less easy to link them together.
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Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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