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#2043152 - 03/05/13 02:26 AM Brahms Op. 76 No. 1, Bach Prelude + Fugue in E-flat Major
Elizabeth_Bennet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/09
Posts: 147
Two recordings from performances in masterclass. Feedback/comments most welcome.




Edited by Elizabeth_Bennet (03/05/13 02:28 AM)

#2043228 - 03/05/13 07:31 AM Re: Brahms Op. 76 No. 1, Bach Prelude + Fugue in E-flat Major [Re: Elizabeth_Bennet]
Cinnamonbear Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 4140
Loc: Rockford, IL
I enjoyed both performances. I particularly enjoyed the Bach prelude. Your prelude tempo is lovely and played with a gentle pulse and exquisite grace, I think. The fugue sounds a little tentative, somehow--like you weren't quite comfortable with it just yet. Perhaps it's the tempo, but when I listened to it again, I think the tempo works just fine, if that's where you want to put it, and your playing has very nice shape. (That is true throughout both undulating performances!) What I'm hearing might have to do with attack, which is also the only comment I would make about the Brahms. In it, I think your opening statement needs to be played with more verve. More chomp. I mean, played in a way that says, "I want to dig into this piece!!!" That's what I'm hearing in the Bach Fugue, too. It needs to be vervier in the vervy places, and liquid in the liquid places. The liquid places flow very nicely. Don't change any of that! Just put some ice in the pitcher so we can hear the refreshing little "plink-clink" as it tumbles into the glass when you pour out that sublime Bach-ie nectar.

I appreciate the fact that nerves can be a factor in these situations, as can the degree to which you are able to insist on your own way with the given piano... Nice job with both pieces, and thanks for sharing!

I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

#2043253 - 03/05/13 08:45 AM Re: Brahms Op. 76 No. 1, Bach Prelude + Fugue in E-flat Major [Re: Elizabeth_Bennet]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1274
Overall, very solid and compelling presentations of Brahms and Bach, Elizabeth! A few comments on each:

Brahms -- For me, much of the late Brahms music is dominated by a deep sadness, borne of a passionate yearning that clearly will never be requited. And by this time in his compositional career, he had developed a very elegant language to express that sadness. In the Op 76 - 1, I need more of that element in your presentation, particularly in the final two pages or so. There need to be more "sighs and whispers". I thought that the passionate minor theme was very convincingly rendered, though. I also agree with Cinnamon Bear that the opening needs to be better grounded, specifically with a clearer bass line that serves as anchors as the theme emerges from "the murk".

Bach -- From tempo and articulation standpoints, you approach this Prelude and Fugue pretty much as I do. Because of the length of the Prelude, though, I would use the advantage of a modern piano to voice the theme well above the running counterpoint. It otherwise gets to sound very "notey" to my ears. For the Fugue, I think the tempo is OK, as Cinnamon Bear says, but I think it needs to be lighter in general attack -- although I agree with your staccato in principle, I think you tend to overstate it at various points. I realize that, technically, this Fugue has some treacherous sections that are very hard to negotiate gracefully, but I think an overall lighter approach may make this easier.

All told, though, these were very thorough and satisfying renditions, and thanks for sharing these!

#2320287 - 08/26/14 05:09 PM Re: Brahms Op. 76 No. 1, Bach Prelude + Fugue in E-flat Major [Re: Elizabeth_Bennet]
Elizabeth_Bennet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/09
Posts: 147
It has been a long time since I've been on this forum! Even though my response is painfully late, I wanted to thank both of you for listening and critiquing my playing. I did read the responses quite soon after I posted the recordings back in 2013, and found your comments helpful!

#2320300 - 08/26/14 05:52 PM Re: Brahms Op. 76 No. 1, Bach Prelude + Fugue in E-flat Major [Re: Elizabeth_Bennet]
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1199
Loc: Massachusetts
Glad you are back. I listened to this in the past and I just listened again. This is such a wonderful piece and your performance is admirable.

Having made a recent recording of this I appreciate your interpretation quite a lot and especially enjoy some of your ideas that are different from mine. The recording quality and piano sound fantastic too!

EDIT: Wow that's pretty vague...I was referring to the Brahms of course!

Edited by Pathbreaker (08/26/14 10:42 PM)

#2320640 - 08/27/14 12:21 PM Re: Brahms Op. 76 No. 1, Bach Prelude + Fugue in E-flat Major [Re: Pathbreaker]
Elizabeth_Bennet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/09
Posts: 147
Thank you! I figured you were referring to the Brahms. It's such a lovely piece, and not as frequently played as some of his other pieces, such as Op. 118 No. 2.

Have you posted a recording of your version of Op. 76 No. 1? I would love to hear your interpretation.


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