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Last chord of Bach Busoni Chaconne
#1929236 07/19/12 06:50 PM
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I think most people play a D major chord.

I guess this would be a famous example of a Picardy third, i.e. ending a piece(or even a cadence) with the third raised which gives a sudden switch from minor to major.

What do you think of just playing octave D's in both hands in the Chaconne which I think I've seen recommended by some? What do you think of playing a d minor chord?

Why does D major sound so good or right, I think, in a piece like this but not in some others? For example, if one tries playing Hatikvah in d minor and then ending with a D major chord it sounds completely wrong.

The Wiki article on Picardy thirds says "It is notable that in the first book of J. S. Bach's The well-tempered clavier composed in 1722, only one of the twenty-four minor movements fails to end in a Picardy third, whereas in the second book, composed in 1744, fourteen end without it." Are there any examples of post Baroque piano music with the Picardy third?


Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/20/12 11:48 AM.
Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
pianoloverus #1929239 07/19/12 06:56 PM
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Busoni adds his interpretation to this piece - the violin original just ended up on a lone D.

It sounds alright (IMO), because there's a sort of tonality conflict - the first half is mostly in D minor, then there's a picardy third to open the slow section that begins the second half of the piece. Then there are several extended passages in D major, and then things just collapse again to include a minor flavour in the last 8 bars. The final D major chord seems a natural ending for a piece having such a triumphant flavour to it (due to the presence of the major tonality succeeding the minor one),


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Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
pianoloverus #1929245 07/19/12 07:06 PM
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I don't understand why Busoni didn't end his transcription in a single octave D-- the perfect summation of the minor-major-minor form of the Chaconne. (Kuanpiano, the d minor section at the end is more than the last 8 bars; it's close to the final third of the piece.)

But then I don't understand the appeal of Busoni's over-the-top blasted overdone monstrosity. Its vulgarity is perfectly symbolized by that final unnecessary D major chord. I much prefer the Brahms transcription. smile

Good general question on why some minor WTC fugues end with a major chord and others don't. Is there a pattern?


-J

Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
pianoloverus #1929256 07/19/12 07:20 PM
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Oooops, I'd better study the score again!!

Edit: Yep, you're correct, the D minor tonality is brought back for the last 4 pages in my score. What's also interesting is that in the edition I'm looking at, (Brietkopf, on IMSLP), the F# on the last chord is put in parenthesis - maybe Busoni gave us some choice?

Last edited by Kuanpiano; 07/19/12 07:25 PM.

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Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
pianoloverus #1929279 07/19/12 08:26 PM
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Charles Rosen speaks of 'the creation of awe through bombast' in reference to Busoni (and Stokowski). Some members here may very well agree.

I've never minded the Busoni transcriptions, though the Toccata, Adagio & Fugue has a gratuitous explosion in the middle movement. But hard to blame Busoni for being a child of his time, he certainly wasn't writing for the purists of today!

(FWIW, the Schirmer edition also has the final sharp in front of the F in parenthesis.)


Jason
Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
pianoloverus #1929284 07/19/12 08:58 PM
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Busoni definitely gives us the choice between major and minor, hence the F# being in parenthesis. However, it seems like he wants us to CHOOSE a tonality, instead of just playing lone D's like the violin does.

However, I wonder if it's okay to take a little bit of license with this piece, since it is an arrangement and not an original composition? For example, when Michelangeli plays the final scale before the final return of the first theme, he adds one more octave to the scale.

Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
beet31425 #1929316 07/19/12 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
I don't understand why Busoni didn't end his transcription in a single octave D-- the perfect summation of the minor-major-minor form of the Chaconne. (Kuanpiano, the d minor section at the end is more than the last 8 bars; it's close to the final third of the piece.)

But then I don't understand the appeal of Busoni's over-the-top blasted overdone monstrosity. Its vulgarity is perfectly symbolized by that final unnecessary D major chord. I much prefer the Brahms transcription. smile....

+1000

I was going to say pretty much the same thing, although milder. grin

I've played the Bach-Busoni Toccata, Adagio & Fugue -- and I almost had to take Busoni's name off it ha because much of my work on it was trimming down what I saw as troubling excess.

And something else which to me was even more annoying than his excess: He seems to have had the idea that it doesn't matter that much which voice a certain note is placed in. If his chordal expansions made it hard to play the notes of a voice in the usual continuous way, he just moves a note within a voice to a different register. Drives me right up the wall. I undid most of those too.

BTW, a by-product of this stuff that Busoni did was that I found the piece unusually hard to memorize. It made me realize how much of my memorization is based on what I feel to be "logic," which (as I saw) included the rules of voice-leading. Compared to usual musical logic, the details of some of his writing felt almost random -- and that's hard to memorize. I haven't have that kind of problem even with much more modern music. Busoni has been pretty much of an outlier for me in this regard.

Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
Mark_C #1929346 07/20/12 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

I've played the Bach-Busoni Toccata, Adagio & Fugue -- and I almost had to take Busoni's name off it ha because much of my work on it was trimming down what I saw as troubling excess.

One might then ask, why bother? For all that, playing the TA&F on the organ is infinitely more satisfying.

I know. wink

Quote
And something else which to me was even more annoying than his excess: He seems to have had the idea that it doesn't matter that much which voice a certain note is placed in. If his chordal expansions made it hard to play the notes of a voice in the usual continuous way, he just moves a note within a voice to a different register. Drives me right up the wall.

Understood, but that tends to be a built-in problem with organ transcriptions. The basic purpose -as you know- is transferring the organ sonorities to the piano, and certain voice leading is going to fall by the wayside.

Not so with Busoni's original piano compositions which have been compared with both Bach and Mozart for their almost insolent contrapuntal expertise.


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Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
argerichfan #1929352 07/20/12 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
One might then ask, why bother? For all that, playing the TA&F on the organ is infinitely more satisfying.

I know. wink

Here's the problem: I don't play the organ. ha

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....The basic purpose -as you know- is transferring the organ sonorities to the piano....

To me, absolutely not. That's one of the challenges, but not at all the basic purpose. The basic purpose is to be able to play the piece on the piano, as effectively as possible. To me, that includes retaining some of the organ sonority -- but that's the extent of that.

IMO Busoni sacrifices voice leading and also Bach in the process of doing what he did. I did my best to restore what he sacrificed.

That said, I do love much of what he did, or else (of course) indeed I "wouldn't bother." I just think he also did some bad -- and unlike most areas of life, this is a thing where we don't just have to "take the bad with the good." smile

Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
pianoloverus #1929386 07/20/12 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus

Why does D major sound so good or right, I think, in a piece like this but not in some others? For example, if one tries playing Hatikvah in d minor and then ending with a D major chord it sounds completely wrong.


Well, the melody of Hatikvah ends F E D E F D. That's very clearly D minor. If you were to then make the very last note part of a D Major chord, with F#, it would sound weird, especially because the 2nd to last note is F-natural, and there's another F-natural just a few notes before that one, too. Even if you're thinking of the F E D E as part of a V chord leading to a I on the final note, it's still weird to have a picardy third because of those F-naturals floating around in the V chord. If there weren't any F-naturals floating around there, then maybe the picardy 3rd would sound much more natural (no pun intended, but I will take credit for it anyway).


Last edited by pianojerome; 07/20/12 03:47 AM.

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Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
argerichfan #1929470 07/20/12 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by Mark_C

I've played the Bach-Busoni Toccata, Adagio & Fugue -- and I almost had to take Busoni's name off it ha because much of my work on it was trimming down what I saw as troubling excess.

One might then ask, why bother?


+1
I'm thinking what he really meant was... "I couldn't play it"... (thus the trimming of the troubling "excess"). Yes then, why bother?



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Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
beet31425 #1929476 07/20/12 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by beet31425

But then I don't understand the appeal of Busoni's over-the-top blasted overdone monstrosity. Its vulgarity is perfectly symbolized by that final unnecessary D major chord. I much prefer the Brahms transcription. smile



I think many people only have heard or played the Busoni version, so it seems okay. And after all, he's not the only one who did that sort of thing in those days - Rachmaninoff and Godowsky did some pretty outre stuff to Bach solo string music, too. Like them or not, big ol' honkin' Bach arrangements with lots of anachronistic gilding are more or less a whole genre of their own. I can enjoy them for what they are (and some of the writing is ingenious, after all), but am glad that I have heard the originals and know some of the more faithful transcriptions, too.







Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
Mark_C #1929535 07/20/12 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
And something else which to me was even more annoying than his excess: He seems to have had the idea that it doesn't matter that much which voice a certain note is placed in. If his chordal expansions made it hard to play the notes of a voice in the usual continuous way, he just moves a note within a voice to a different register. Drives me right up the wall. I undid most of those too.
So you think Busoni wasn't aware of something like this? I think he was aware but chose to do it anyway.

I find it kind of silly for you to criticize in this way someone whose pianistic skills both musical and technical, compositional skills, and general understanding of every aspect of music make your abilities in those areas look like a grain of sand on an entire beach.


Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/20/12 10:14 AM.
Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
pianoloverus #1929563 07/20/12 09:46 AM
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I like Busoni's excess, and I play a big ol' D Major chord at the end of the chaconne. Sometimes "because it sounds awesome" is the only justification I need. laugh


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Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
pianoloverus #1929597 07/20/12 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Are there any examples of post Baroque piano music with the Picardy third?


The first movement of Schubert's A-minor sonata D. 784 ends on an A-major chord.

Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
stores #1929605 07/20/12 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by stores
I'm thinking what he really meant was... "I couldn't play it"... (thus the trimming of the troubling "excess")....

Wrong again! ha ha

Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
slava_richter #1929607 07/20/12 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by slava_richter
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Are there any examples of post Baroque piano music with the Picardy third?


The first movement of Schubert's A-minor sonata D. 784 ends on an A-major chord.


Great movement, but that's not really an example of a Picardy third, which requires, I think, a sudden and unexpected switch to major at the end of a cadence. In the Schubert, the final chord comes after a return to the major-key lyrical theme material; in other words, the entire final section is in major, not just the last chord.

Wikipedia had one good example- the slow movement of the Hammerklavier. I thought of another- Chopin's op.10/6 etude.

-J

Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
pianoloverus #1929608 07/20/12 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Mark_C
And something else which to me was even more annoying than his excess: He seems to have had the idea that it doesn't matter that much which voice a certain note is placed in. If his chordal expansions made it hard to play the notes of a voice in the usual continuous way, he just moves a note within a voice to a different register. Drives me right up the wall. I undid most of those too.
So you think Busoni wasn't aware of something like this? I think he was aware but chose to do it anyway.....

Read again, and think a little harder. ha

I implied that I knew he was aware of it.

Read again, and think a little harder.

Quote
....I find it kind of silly for you to criticize in this way someone whose pianistic skills both musical and technical, compositional skills, and general understanding of every aspect of music make your abilities in those areas look like a grain of sand on an entire beach.

I didn't criticize him; I merely indicated that I hugely dislike this aspect of what he did (as well as some other aspects). We can dislike without criticizing.

However, I'm criticizing you. grin
It's as though you can't read.

Good advice to you as well as Stores, yet again: Leave my posts alone. You get it wrong far more than not.

Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
beet31425 #1929612 07/20/12 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by slava_richter
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Are there any examples of post Baroque piano music with the Picardy third?
The first movement of Schubert's A-minor sonata D. 784 ends on an A-major chord.
Great movement, but that's not really an example of a Picardy third, which requires, I think, a sudden and unexpected switch to major at the end of a cadence.

You're right.

Re: Last chord of Bach Busoin Chaconne
Mark_C #1929617 07/20/12 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
I didn't criticize him; I merely indicated that I hugely dislike this aspect of what he did (as well as some other aspects). We can dislike without criticizing.

Hmmm... what's the difference, exactly? The way "criticize" is commonly used, how is saying "I dislike it when composer X does this" not a criticism?

Can't believe I'm stepping into this. I'd much rather be discussing Picardy thirds. smile

-J

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