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#519994 - 02/21/08 05:19 PM Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
ZieglerJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/06
Posts: 24
Loc: Knoxville, TN
So after looking around for grad schools, alot of them require a Bach Prelude and Fugue for the audition. But which ones are they really hoping to hear? Certainly not the first one from Book I \:\) So which do you think are the most difficult to play, or most impressive to hear played well?

Jonathan
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[url=www.music.utk.edu[/url]
School of Music
University of Tennessee
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#519995 - 02/21/08 05:48 PM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
I don't know if the C major from book one is all that bad of a choice - the prelude is pretty simple, but the fugue's loaded with lots of stretto that can test your voicing abilities. Remember, at an audition it's not always about finding the most difficult repertoire, but demonstrating your abilities. If a slightly less demanding piece makes an effective display of your ability, go for it.

That said, some good ones from book 1 might be the c# minor, Eb major, a minor, bb minor, and b minor.
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What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

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#519996 - 02/21/08 06:41 PM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
How about a slow one, E-flat Minor (and/or D-sharp minor, depending on your edition) from book 1? I played that for an undergrad audition, and afterwards one of the professors said to me: "Why did you pick one of the hardest preludes and fugues for your audition?" It can be hard, at a slow tempo, to keep all the lines moving. It's a trade off, I think -- easier to get all the notes but harder to keep them moving when it's slow; harder to get all the notes but easier to keep them moving when it's fast. My hunch is that by grad school, they're more interested in keeping the lines moving. assuming that by that time you can already handle the right notes.
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#519997 - 02/21/08 07:09 PM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
Funny - I was thinking of recommending that one too Sam, however I personally find that to be one of the easier ones. I guess what one may find difficult may not be difficult to others. Difficulty aside, though, it is one of my favorite preludes and fugues and would be fine for an audition.
_________________________
What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

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#519998 - 02/21/08 07:28 PM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I always thought the D Major prelude from book 1 was horribly awkward. That is, if you want it to be light, fast, and clean.

Handling phrasing and tempo in D Major book 2 is also quite a challenge. The fugue is worth it, though.
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#519999 - 02/21/08 07:35 PM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
J. Mark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1323
I can't even begin to answer the question, as I am a relative beginner (although obsessed with Bach). But I'm curious -- do the schools insist on something from the WTC? Or could one play a prelude and fugue combination that was not in the WTC set?

Or does it go without saying that the WTC material is the hardest?

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#520000 - 02/21/08 09:07 PM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7428
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
I always thought the D Major prelude from book 1 was horribly awkward. That is, if you want it to be light, fast, and clean.

Handling phrasing and tempo in D Major book 2 is also quite a challenge. The fugue is worth it, though. [/b]
Agreed on both - that prelude from book 1 even got a special study from Busoni, didn't it? For me the G major pair from book 1 also is both difficult and impressive - I think Landowska once said she thought it was the toughest out of the whole WTC. The a minor from book 2 might be another good choice, especially if you have the kind of personality that can bring out the playful aspects. The c # minor from book 1 seems popular at competitions, probably because the fugue has so many voices, but unless you are totally into contrapuntal playing, I'd avoid anything that dense.

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#520001 - 02/21/08 10:00 PM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
computerpro3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/12/04
Posts: 367
Loc: Connecticut/Cincinnati
While not terribly difficult I am in love with C minor from the second book. The fugue is a test of your voicing abilities, especially on the second page. It is one of the most beautiful in my opinion, and the prelude is a fair challenge to play properly at a good clip.

It's all about musicality anyway, so make sure to choose one you actually like!

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#520002 - 02/22/08 06:48 AM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
Liszt_BG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/06
Posts: 327
Loc: Bulgaria
 Quote:
Originally posted by J. Mark:
I can't even begin to answer the question, as I am a relative beginner (although obsessed with Bach). But I'm curious -- do the schools insist on something from the WTC? Or could one play a prelude and fugue combination that was not in the WTC set?

Or does it go without saying that the WTC material is the hardest? [/b]
No, you should play a Prelude and Fugue set from the WTC. The meaning of "a Prelude and Fugue" is a prelude and a fugue in the same key and the same Volume of WTC.

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#520003 - 02/22/08 01:21 PM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
the 'a prelude and a fugue' requirement usually implies a prelude and fugue pair (in the same key and the same order) from WTC.

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#520004 - 02/24/08 12:32 AM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
ZieglerJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/06
Posts: 24
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Yes, each Prelude and Fugue is one complete piece. To play just a prelude or a fugue would be like only playing half of a work. IMO...

BTW, while some schools may list a Bach P&F as an audition requirement, the ones I've talked with say that I could play a Bach Suite or Partita instead.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Liszt_BG:
 Quote:
Originally posted by J. Mark:
I can't even begin to answer the question, as I am a relative beginner (although obsessed with Bach). But I'm curious -- do the schools insist on something from the WTC? Or could one play a prelude and fugue combination that was not in the WTC set?

Or does it go without saying that the WTC material is the hardest? [/b]
No, you should play a Prelude and Fugue set from the WTC. The meaning of "a Prelude and Fugue" is a prelude and a fugue in the same key and the same Volume of WTC. [/b]
_________________________
[url=www.music.utk.edu[/url]
School of Music
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN

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#520005 - 02/24/08 07:54 AM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
eFatz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 78
Loc: Singapore
i too strongly recommend the e-flat minor from the first book. It has an almost mystical quality to it.. and amazingly (almost hypnotically) beautiful if you can play it well
i heard gavrilov play it live (as an encore!) and i was so damn blown away...

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#520006 - 02/24/08 08:33 PM Re: Most Diffitult Bach Prelude & Fugue from the WTC
bukopaudan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/06
Posts: 506
Loc: USA
I feel like all of them are equally challenging and can be played with beautiful simplicity, elegance, style, touch, musicality, and tone! I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. I happen to like the C Major from Book 1 (The first one.) I haven't really heard any of the other ones, but they look rewarding to play! I'm hoping to begin working on them soon!

Have fun!
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"Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." -Leonard Bernstein

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