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#1651004 - 03/30/11 12:23 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by kevinb
To play music on an instrument other than that for which it was composed _is_ to make a transcription.....

I'm sorry, but you're wrong....Clearly, you're not too sure about what a transcription is.

Stores, you're wrong. ha

Because what he's saying reflects a pretty widely-held view of what's a "transcription."

I'm not saying it's more widely held then your view -- I don't know, I haven't seen a poll. smile
But his view is a legitimate one.

Me? I'm more on your side about the meaning of transcription, but considering how you're expressing yourself here, I was almost afraid to admit it. smile



Every time I play the WTC, though I'm using exactly the same score I'd use were I to play it on the organ, harpsichord, clavichord, fortepiano, etc., (I'm only using a different technique than I'd use for any of those instruments) apparently I'm transcribing it, yes? You're playing the same damed music on another keyboard instrument...you're NOT playing it on the cello or the oboe, or the tuba, or whatever. It is NOT a transcription. Period.

Now, of course, he is right that to play a work that originally was composed for a keyboard instrument on say the flute, cello, oboe, etc. would be to transcribe said work (you'd arrange it for whatever instrument). To play Bach's keyboard works on the modern day piano there is no transcription needed.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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#1651009 - 03/30/11 12:33 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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I agree with stores. Playing Bach on any keyboard instruments is not a transcription. Why? Because Bach himself used all kinds of different keyboard instruments: clavichord, harpsichord, organ. How can we know what instrument Bach intended any of his works for? The answer is: we can't.
Saying that playing Bach on a piano instead of a (insert one of the above keyboard instruments) is a transcription is like saying that playing Bach on a Baroque cello or a modern cello. They're all cellos.


Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#1651011 - 03/30/11 12:41 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: survivordan]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by survivordan
I agree with stores. Playing Bach on any keyboard instruments is not a transcription. Why? Because Bach himself used all kinds of different keyboard instruments: clavichord, harpsichord, organ. How can we know what instrument Bach intended any of his works for? The answer is: we can't.
Saying that playing Bach on a piano instead of a (insert one of the above keyboard instruments) is a transcription is like saying that playing Bach on a Baroque cello or a modern cello. They're all cellos.


To be specific, dan, Bach did tell us at times which instrument he'd composed for, but more often than not he didn't. Your baroque cello was then called the viola da gamba, by the way.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1651013 - 03/30/11 12:46 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: stores]  
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Stores, I realize it's not your view. I just said it's a widely held view.

What you just did was, you repeated your view. smile

Which, btw, happens to be my view also. But a view is a view. And the opposite view isn't "wrong." If we say it's wrong, then we're wrong. smile

And more importantly for this discussion, the justification for pedaling doesn't depend on whether we think they're "transcriptions." This is just a side issue anyway.

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#1651014 - 03/30/11 12:46 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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I also agree with stores, but I think the issue is subtle (like most language issues) and open to some disagreement.

Here are some interesting examples:

1. Ravel arranges Pictures at an Exhibition for orchestra.
2. Webern arranges a fugue from The Musical Offering for orchestra. Exact same notes, but Webern-esque distribution of those notes among all the instruments.
3. A string quartet plays a 4-voiced fugue from WTC. Each instrument plays one voice exactly.
4. Prokofiev rewrites his flute sonata into a violin sonata.
5. A violin plays the viola part in a viola concerto.
6. Bach is played on a modern piano or a synthesizer.

I definitely call 1-3 transcriptions, and (like stores) I definitely do not call 6 a transcription. Not sure about 4 and 5.

What about you guys?

-Jason

Last edited by beet31425; 03/30/11 12:48 PM. Reason: switched 4 and 5 to preserve a certain progression

Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#1651020 - 03/30/11 12:55 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: beet31425]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by beet31425
I also agree with stores, but I think the issue is subtle (like most language issues) and open to some disagreement.

Here are some interesting examples:

1. Ravel arranges Pictures at an Exhibition for orchestra.
2. Webern arranges a fugue from The Musical Offering for orchestra. Exact same notes, but Webern-esque distribution of those notes among all the instruments.
3. A string quartet plays a 4-voiced fugue from WTC. Each instrument plays one voice exactly.
4. Prokofiev rewrites his flute sonata into a violin sonata.
5. A violin plays the viola part in a viola concerto.
6. Bach is played on a modern piano or a synthesizer.

I definitely call 1-3 transcriptions, and (like stores) I definitely do not call 6 a transcription. Not sure about 4 and 5.

What about you guys?

-Jason


4 and 5 are also transcriptions...they're rewritten parts.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1651023 - 03/30/11 12:57 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by Mark_C

But a view is a view. And the opposite view isn't "wrong." If we say it's wrong, then we're wrong. smile



I'm sorry, but it's not a view. It's not an opinion. Look the dam word up.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1651025 - 03/30/11 01:01 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores
I'm sorry, but it's not a view. It's not an opinion. Look the dam word up.

That's a view also. smile

Even speaking as someone who loves looking words up smile that doesn't necessarily address things like this. I'm talking about usage, which sometimes gets ahead of written definitions and then sometimes becomes part of the written definition. Is this thing I'm talking about (which, again, doesn't fit my concept of it -- I agree with your view) part of any written definition? I don't know, and it doesn't matter. The thing is that many musicians express that broader view of what's a "transcription."

And really, we're off the mark by even talking about it in terms of the word's "definition," because it's not about definitions; it's about a certain concept of what it means to play Bach on the piano. I don't know why you feel such a need to say that this other concept is just "wrong." I'm with you on the view, but I don't feel any such need.

#1651028 - 03/30/11 01:04 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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I think that the definition of transcription as "playing a piece of music on a different instrument than was intended" is particularly precarious in Bach's case. The reason is that, as was already suggested , instrument making at the time was less rigid and very much in a state of ongoing evolution. It is even more apparent in the case of string instruments. In fact, while there is no authentic autographed manuscript for any of the cello suites (the closest is a copy by Anna Magdalena), it is thought they could have been written for an early cello or a violoncello piccolo or a viola hybrid, all of which were considered a kind of a "cello" (not exactly for the viola da gamba, which came in 4 or 5 different sizes and ranges). An exception is the sixth suite which was explicitly written for a 5 string instrument. Today's players will actually play the 6th suite on a 4 string instrument but you will not find them calling it a real transcription. Also the 5th suite requires "scordatura" or a re-tuning (of the top A to G), as indicated in the manuscript, making the actual instrument it is played on rather secondary to the music idea Bach wanted to explore.

#1651043 - 03/30/11 01:36 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores
Your baroque cello was then called the viola da gamba, by the way.


The viola de gamba was not a standardized instrument, there were a number of different models that were known by this name or by other names.

Otherwise I agree completely with Stores about transcrition.

I also agree that the use of the pedal takes away from Debrucey's reading.

In general because of the use of the pedal I dislike hearing young pianists play Bach on the piano. Especially at competitions, where it appears they they believe that they need to pedal to make a good impression or to give corpus to a Bach who, in my view, doesn't really need help of this sort.

#1651046 - 03/30/11 01:39 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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This idea of "finger legato" strikes me as a false notion. Pedal is not a substitute for Legato. Legato is legato, pedal is pedal.

#1651054 - 03/30/11 01:49 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: landorrano]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by landorrano
Originally Posted by stores
Your baroque cello was then called the viola da gamba, by the way.


The viola de gamba was not a standardized instrument, there were a number of different models that were known by this name or by other names.



I do realise that.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1651055 - 03/30/11 01:49 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: Steve Chandler]  
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Originally Posted by Steve Chandler

It's easy to argue semantics, but that's a fundamentalist approach. This situation is very much borderline, because no significant change in technique is required (though having played organ and harpsichord they're a very different instruments to play). The term transcription can be applied to performing Bach by orchestra or voices both of which are significant leaps and bounds from playing Bach on a piano.


Yeah. I'm just feeling particularly combative today. I admitted as much earlier. Sorry for derailing the discussion with a completely irrelevant side issue.


Last edited by kevinb; 03/30/11 01:51 PM.
#1651060 - 03/30/11 01:55 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: landorrano]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by landorrano
Pedal is not a substitute for Legato. Legato is legato, pedal is pedal.


+1



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1651073 - 03/30/11 02:14 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by landorrano
Originally Posted by stores
Your baroque cello was then called the viola da gamba, by the way.


The viola de gamba was not a standardized instrument, there were a number of different models that were known by this name or by other names.



I do realise that.


By the way, there is a great film which has a viola de gamba as it's main character. "Tous les matins du monde", the music is extraordianary, played by Jordi Savall. And no pedal !

#1651078 - 03/30/11 02:23 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: stores]  
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My favorite instrument for a lot of Bach's keyboard music is the clavichord. On the clavichord, the string length between bridge and tuning peg is free to vibrate sympathetically, which adds to the music a certain blurring and resonance. In comparison, Bach's keyboard music played on the piano sounds dry to me. On the piano, I pedal to try to imitate the clavichord, as much as it is possible; I do not pedal to join notes. I often find myself doing a very shallow pedaling and changing the pedal almost on each beat, if not more often.

I once asked Father Sean Duggan (a fantastic Bach interpreter, IMHO) how to use the pedal in Bach. He said "a little dab will do ya". (Old Brylcreem slogan. If you knew that, as I did, you might be a baby boomer.)

ocd


"Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen."
#1651093 - 03/30/11 02:53 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: ocd]  
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Originally Posted by ocd

I once asked Father Sean Duggan (a fantastic Bach interpreter, IMHO) how to use the pedal in Bach. He said "a little dab will do ya".
I like it. How drab must stores' Bach be!

#1651100 - 03/30/11 03:08 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by ocd

I once asked Father Sean Duggan (a fantastic Bach interpreter, IMHO) how to use the pedal in Bach. He said "a little dab will do ya".
I like it. How drab must stores' Bach be!

I doubt it.

(What an oddly unnecessary swipe!)

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#1651109 - 03/30/11 03:29 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores
Pedal in Bach is fine, BUTTTTTTT it should never be used in place of the fingers. One should make every attempt possible to find a fingering that allows him to make whatever connection necessary possible. If, after exhausting every possibility, making a small connection with the pedal is okay. ... Andro, with very little pedal, yes. There are only a few places in each book where, momentarily, I find it necessary to fall on my own crutch.

Do you not use any "non-crutch" pedal in the WTC? Not even in Book I, the Prelude in E flat minor?


(Used to post as SlatterFan)
#1651150 - 03/30/11 04:43 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: argerichfan]  
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Why NOT use pedal in Bach? Otherwise, why bother to play his music on a modern piano?


Isn't one reason the piano is such a ubiquitous instrument its ability to echo the styles of so many other instruments?

#1651161 - 03/30/11 05:00 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Maurice Hinson says that if used delicately and carefully, the pedal can help produce the cantabile style of playing Bach refers to in the Preface to the Two-Part Inventions and that sometimes it is desirable to use it to add resonance and colour to the individual tones and chords.



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#1651171 - 03/30/11 05:11 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: ChopinAddict]  
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Maurice Hinson says that if used delicately and carefully, the pedal can help produce the cantabile style of playing Bach refers to in the Preface to the Two-Part Inventions and that sometimes it is desirable to use it to add resonance and colour to the individual tones and chords.

+1. For the same reason I would (and did) use pedal at the opening of the C minor Partita. Actually I used a fair amount of pedal throughout the piece, but that was 12 years ago, and I wouldn't be inclined to be so liberal with it now.

Excellent quote, ChopinAddict.


Jason
#1651251 - 03/30/11 07:02 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: ChopinAddict]  
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Maurice Hinson says that if used delicately and carefully, the pedal can help produce the cantabile style of playing Bach refers to in the Preface to the Two-Part Inventions and that sometimes it is desirable to use it to add resonance and colour to the individual tones and chords.


Thanks, that is helpful. And I think it is what my teacher was trying to tell me.

Obviously, my teacher was not suggesting I use the pedal as a "crutch" or even to connect notes in this particular piece. It was just really confusing trying to figure out what kind of pedaling sounds good in this type of piece. I've played around with it, and picked some notes to pedal on...but I don't think it makes much of a difference. It might even sound better - idk, cleaner maybe - without pedal.

#1651255 - 03/30/11 07:07 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: debrucey]  
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Originally Posted by debrucey
I use quite a lot of pedal here, in the sense of using it for many small effects, not smearing the whole sound. I think it works, particularly in the sarabande, though you may disagree.



That was very nice.

The Sarabande is one movement that I do think pedal works well in. It came much easier in that movement for me.

#1651258 - 03/30/11 07:14 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: Cinnamonbear]  
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Winsome One! laugh What a great question! The conclusion reached by the OP in the thread that ChopinAddict linked to for you to read was this: Let your ears be your guide.

I found these for you to listen to, if you care to. Tatiana Nikolayeva is one of my very most favorite Bach interpreters. The sound quality of this recording is not great, but my impression is that she is NOT pedalling in these renditions AT ALL!

Tatiana Nikolayeva-French Suite No.5 (part 1)

Tatiana Nikolayeva-French Suite No.5 (part 2)

Then, there is Emil Gilels (another of my faves), and in these renditions, my impression is that he DOES pedal, but ever, ever so slightly... sometimes... grin

Emil Gilels-French Suite No.5 (part 1)

Emil Gilels-French Suite No.5 (part 2)

What do you think? Here are two professionals NOT PEDALLING! Whether or not to pedal any particular Bach piece or phrase is, IMO, a very personal decision, to be made based on very personal expressive needs. DOWN WITH DOGMA, no matter how deeply imbued with intellect or how shallowly asserted through ignorance.

Hope this helps!
--Andy

P.S. That thread ChopinAddict linked to has lots and lots of very cool posts and is worth reading. smile


Thanks for those links and thoughts! I do like those two interpretations a lot. Gilels is a little too slow for my taste, but much of what Nikolayeva does is just how I envision the piece sounding. Lack of obvious pedaling does not diminish from the performance, I don't think.

#1651360 - 03/31/11 12:42 AM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Originally Posted by WinsomeAllegretto
[...] but much of what Nikolayeva does is just how I envision the piece sounding.


That was my reaction ENTIRELY when I discovered her recordings!!! I've been working on Partitas 1 and 4 for many years, now, and when I discovered her recordings last year, they sounded IDEAL! I really encourage you to take some time to uncover her stuff on Youtube, or at the library, and just simply enjoy it! grin

P.S. I agree about Gilels! grin Pedalling was the point... wink blush

Last edited by Cinnamonbear; 03/31/11 01:02 AM.

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#1651362 - 03/31/11 12:57 AM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

To Cinnamonbear: I don't agree that the meaning of the term in music is limited to things involving a "written copy"; the term is often used in a broader way (although, again, not necessarily most often).


Oh, for Pete's sake! Transcription means taking something that wasn't written down a certain way, and writing it down that certain way. If Bach wrote down keyboard music, and you play it on a keyboard, the playing of it is not a transcription, it is a performance. In reading a manuscript that was written for an early keyboard instrument and playing it on a modern piano, there is ceratainly and aspect of "trans." There is no aspect of "scribe." There is, however, and aspect of "late."

get it? ( ha )


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#1651612 - 03/31/11 11:05 AM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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If music is played on instrument(s) that it was not originally played on, it is either a realisation (the notation is not changed) or a transcription (the notation is changed to suit the new instrument(s).
Can we agree on that terminology? If so, we realise Bach on the piano as we have no need to change the notation.
As for the use of the pedal, it has nothing to do with legato: the whole spectrum of ultra legato through detached to ultra staccato can and should be achieved through the fingers. Where the pedal is used, it is surely for colour/sustaining a single note/chord or a series of notes that are harmonically compatible, for musical reasons, not technical reasons. (There are some low notes in the F major fugue, Book 2 WTC, that we could pick up and hold with the 3rd pedal, but this would be for technical reasons - the inability to play all the notes with the LH. I'm sure this would be frowned upon. Even so, Tovey suggests pedalling some chords in Beethoven so that the top half is free to trill, the lower note being held by the pedal. So where is the line between musical and technical? His answer might have been it needs to be pedalled anyway, so why make the trill harder for yourself, just let the thumb go.)
To put it into another context, it is possible to realise Bach with or without pedal on the modern piano, butit is not possible to "realise" (if we believe his piano to be suffici ently different from ours) Chopin's music without pedal, but the use of the pedal in Chopin on a modern instrument will be different from its use on an 1840's instrument.
To the extent that every instrument is different, the use of the pedal will vary. I think it is mainly to do with the sustaining power of the instrument and the different combination of harmonics generated which inform how we use the pedal to create the musical effect we want.

#1651737 - 03/31/11 01:57 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: sandalholme]  
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Palindrome Offline
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Palindrome  Offline
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Chicago, IL USA
"An undamped instrument fires the imagination."

C. P. E. Bach


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians
#1651743 - 03/31/11 02:12 PM Re: Anyone who is anyone pedals in Bach? [Re: Palindrome]  
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chopin_r_us Offline
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chopin_r_us  Offline
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London
Originally Posted by Palindrome
"An undamped instrument fires the imagination."

C. P. E. Bach
thumb This thread just keeps on giving!

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