Bach Prelude in B minor

Posted by: PianogrlNW

Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/02/12 10:44 PM

I'm really enjoying Bach lately and fell in love with this prelude. I heard it played by Cinamonbear (really beautiful interpretation) here on PF and by Eunice Norton. It was her last recording at age 88. What a legacy she left to music lovers.

http://soundcloud.com/ellen-w-1/bach-prelude-in-b-minor


Posted by: Cinnamonbear

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/05/12 09:32 AM

Love this one. Yours is a very "no nonsense" approach and it sounds good. What edition are you using?

Thanks for sharing!

--Andy
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/05/12 03:29 PM

My main suggestion would be to work on rhythmic steadiness. There are numerous hesitations that sound like they're there only because you're not completely comfortable with the notes yet. If you're not aware of these or not sure where they are, try playing the piece with a metronome.
Posted by: Cinnamonbear

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/05/12 07:51 PM

PianoGrlNW, I spring to your defense:

If I were to pick one thing to gripe about, it would not be rhythmic unsteadiness. On the whole, your rhythm and tempo are remarkably steady. I could easily tell in this recording the difference between artful drama and a little technical strain. I hear several soulful pauses of the agogic variety, which you play to good effect, imo. There are a couple of "hesitations" that I know to be places where the hand is in an awkward position to maintain the voicing, and one or two brain freezes, which is completely understandable and bound to happen... None of that diminished my enjoyment of your performance, and I can hear where you will take this piece as it stays with you.

My gripe (if I had to gripe) would be to check the 2nd to last measure and see if there is really a G# in there anywhere. And, the reason I asked, "which edition?," is to check the ending chord: major or minor?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/05/12 07:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
PianoGrlNW, I spring to your defense:

If I were to pick one thing to gripe about, it would not be rhythmic unsteadiness. On the whole, your rhythm and tempo are remarkably steady. I could easily tell in this recording the difference between artful drama and a little technical strain. I hear several soulful pauses of the agogic variety, which you play to good effect, imo. There are a couple of "hesitations" that I know to be places where the hand is in an awkward position to maintain the voicing, and one or two brain freezes, which is completely understandable and bound to happen... None of that diminished my enjoyment of your performance, and I can hear where you will take this piece as it stays with you.

My gripe (if I had to gripe) would be to check the 2nd to last measure and see if there is really a G# in there anywhere. And, the reason I asked, "which edition?," is to check the ending chord: major or minor?
I think there are at least 25 instances of rhythmic unsteadiness that have absolutely nothing to do with choice or artful drama(or if they are choice make no possible sense). If one plays a metronome along with the recording or just tries tapping one's finger the unsteadiness is obvious and extreme. There is practically no measure without some rhythmic unsteadiness.
Posted by: PianogrlNW

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/05/12 08:49 PM

Andy,

Thank you for springing to my defense, although I don't feel attacked or offended. People on this forum can be very critical but many are also accomplished pianists and have constructive comments. I'm willing to put myself out there and hear what people have to say about my playing. I don't feel my playing of this prelude was that rhythmically unsteady but I appreciate Pianoloverus' comment. There is an instance where I sprang too late to hit an upper note, but don't think that happened throughout the piece.

I used the Edwin Kalmus edited by Hans Bischoff. I've had it for years. The final chord in this edition is B major. I'm assuming the final chord must be B minor in your edition as well as others. I hit a wrong note in the 2nd to last measure (my error, not the edition) and didn't want to rerecord the whole piece.

Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
PianoGrlNW, I spring to your defense:

If I were to pick one thing to gripe about, it would not be rhythmic unsteadiness. On the whole, your rhythm and tempo are remarkably steady. I could easily tell in this recording the difference between artful drama and a little technical strain. I hear several soulful pauses of the agogic variety, which you play to good effect, imo. There are a couple of "hesitations" that I know to be places where the hand is in an awkward position to maintain the voicing, and one or two brain freezes, which is completely understandable and bound to happen... None of that diminished my enjoyment of your performance, and I can hear where you will take this piece as it stays with you.

My gripe (if I had to gripe) would be to check the 2nd to last measure and see if there is really a G# in there anywhere. And, the reason I asked, "which edition?," is to check the ending chord: major or minor?
Posted by: PianogrlNW

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/05/12 11:04 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I think there are at least 25 instances of rhythmic unsteadiness that have absolutely nothing to do with choice or artful drama(or if they are choice make no possible sense). If one plays a metronome along with the recording or just tries tapping one's finger the unsteadiness is obvious and extreme. There is practically no measure without some rhythmic unsteadiness.


Pianoloverus, It seems that you prefer a more mechanical playing of Bach than how I have interpreted the prelude. I'm a little surprised you actually counted the number of times you heard "rhythmic unsteadiness". If other people agree with you, I'll take your comment to heart and seriously reconsider my interpretation.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/06/12 11:04 AM

Originally Posted By: PianogrlNW
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I think there are at least 25 instances of rhythmic unsteadiness that have absolutely nothing to do with choice or artful drama(or if they are choice make no possible sense). If one plays a metronome along with the recording or just tries tapping one's finger the unsteadiness is obvious and extreme. There is practically no measure without some rhythmic unsteadiness.


Pianoloverus, It seems that you prefer a more mechanical playing of Bach than how I have interpreted the prelude. I'm a little surprised you actually counted the number of times you heard "rhythmic unsteadiness". If other people agree with you, I'll take your comment to heart and seriously reconsider my interpretation.
I generally don't like mechanical playing for any composer. I don't see what I(and I think almost any experienced professional piano teacher) would just call your rhythmic unsteadiness as interpretation. I hear basic rhythmic unsteadiness in virtually every measure. And it sounds like virtually every late or early note is due to technical difficulties or some lack of control.

If you experiment and try playing it with the metronome, I think you will see that you'll have great difficulties doing this at first and all/most the hesitations/accelerations are not really by choice.

Have you learned this by yourself or with a teacher?
Posted by: PianogrlNW

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/15/12 12:26 PM

I stand by my interpretation. If you don't like it, that's fine, you're entitled to your opinion, as I am to mine.

You might be interested in listening along with your metronome to Gilel's interpretation of the first dance of Bach's French Suite 5. You can decide for yourself if his playing reflects technical difficulties or his personal interpretation.



Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: PianogrlNW
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I think there are at least 25 instances of rhythmic unsteadiness that have absolutely nothing to do with choice or artful drama(or if they are choice make no possible sense). If one plays a metronome along with the recording or just tries tapping one's finger the unsteadiness is obvious and extreme. There is practically no measure without some rhythmic unsteadiness.


Pianoloverus, It seems that you prefer a more mechanical playing of Bach than how I have interpreted the prelude. I'm a little surprised you actually counted the number of times you heard "rhythmic unsteadiness". If other people agree with you, I'll take your comment to heart and seriously reconsider my interpretation.
I generally don't like mechanical playing for any composer. I don't see what I(and I think almost any experienced professional piano teacher) would just call your rhythmic unsteadiness as interpretation. I hear basic rhythmic unsteadiness in virtually every measure. And it sounds like virtually every late or early note is due to technical difficulties or some lack of control.

If you experiment and try playing it with the metronome, I think you will see that you'll have great difficulties doing this at first and all/most the hesitations/accelerations are not really by choice.

Have you learned this by yourself or with a teacher?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/15/12 07:44 PM

Originally Posted By: PianogrlNW
I stand by my interpretation. If you don't like it, that's fine, you're entitled to your opinion, as I am to mine.

You might be interested in listening along with your metronome to Gilel's interpretation of the first dance of Bach's French Suite 5. You can decide for yourself if his playing reflects technical difficulties or his personal interpretation.
I don't think there any comparison between what I would call Gilel's rhythmic flexibility and what I hear as your rhythmic unsteadiness. Both in frequency and degree your playing is far more extreme.

Try listening to professional recordings of the Prelude in b minor and see if there are any with as much variation(frequency and degree)from perfectly metronomic playing as you do. I listened to a few and could not find any that compare to your recording. I don't think you'll find any that come close.

You didn't mention whether you learned this piece with a teacher, and I'd guess you learned it by yourself. I would be surprised if any teacher didn't say the same thing as I did as their very first comment to you.
Posted by: PianogrlNW

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/15/12 08:59 PM

Pianoloverus, Are you as obnoxious in real life as you are on the internet where you can be the anonymous armchair professor? Just let it go.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/15/12 09:19 PM

Originally Posted By: PianogrlNW
Pianoloverus, Are you as obnoxious in real life as you are on the internet where you can be the anonymous armchair professor? Just let it go.
If you find mildly phrased criticism obnoxious, why did you post your recording? I have commented on quite a few PW recordings and have rarely thought the issue was as black and white as it is here. But you don't want to hear it so I'll let it go.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/16/12 04:09 AM

Pianogirl.

If I may chime in for a minute. I will agree that getting someone on your back like PV is doing here is not exactly enjoyable, but I'll also confess that it's something that one can possibly get if one goes public.

To the issue at hand, I will admit that I also feel there's a rhythmic unsteadiness that sounds (<-not 100% sure) that there isn't 100% control on what you're doing. It doesn't sound like an knowledgeable and sure performance, but rather like one where in certain parts you are uncertain of what to do... I think this is what PV is talking about. And it's not a rubato style romantic performance either. It's got moments of hesitation in.

:-/

Sorry...
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Bach Prelude in B minor - 11/17/12 01:11 AM

OK, my turn. smile

I agree that there could be a point to what Plover was noticing but I don't see that it's anything quite like how he put it. I don't hear anything about the rhythm that doesn't seem to me like conscious choices, and musical ones, and I certainly don't hear anything like struggling over the notes. However, if I stretch to judge it on a very high level, what I hear is that the dynamics usually aren't quite molded musically in a way to match the rhythmic flexibility. In the most musical playing, rubatos and the like are accompanied by nuances of dynamics to make them really "work" -- at least on the piano they are, and here, they often aren't. To that extent, Pianogrl's playing of the Prelude strikes me almost as how it would be approached on a harpsichord rather than on a piano. I should add that what I'm saying is on a nitpicky level. I think the playing is very good, but I can see why something could be felt to be "off."