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#1994844 - 12/05/12 02:37 AM How much to use Busoni's Bach comments?  
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 102
arpan70 Offline
Full Member
arpan70  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 102
Mumbai, India

I am working on the c-sharp minor prelude and fugue from Book I of the WTC and I am quite puzzled by the complexity. I have the ABRSM/ Tovey edition and it doesn't have much in the way of voice markings. I find the Busoni edition of the WTC quite useful in the way of the comments and markings, and it makes learning the fugue easier. What I want to ask is how much should I depend on the comments in my playing? Is it stylistically appropriate or not? Please note that I am using the Tovey edition for the notes.


Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.7, Op.10 No.3
Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor
Scriabin: Prelude, Op.11 No.11
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#1994916 - 12/05/12 07:41 AM Re: How much to use Busoni's Bach comments? [Re: arpan70]  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
apple* Offline
apple*  Offline


Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
Busoni was pretty cool. a very great interpreter of Bach. I sound trite, but his transcriptions are incredible.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)
#1995101 - 12/05/12 03:40 PM Re: How much to use Busoni's Bach comments? [Re: arpan70]  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,664
Arghhh Offline
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Arghhh  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,664
Interpreting Bach can be a very controversial subject.
Here's a brief history, (that I will say is ~90% correct! ;))
When Busoni created his edition, performers in general had much more liberty on how they played pieces. The generation of performers after Busoni started putting more emphasis on playing exactly what the composer had written or intended, and on historically accurate performance styles. Now when Bach wrote the WTC, he did not have a piano - he had organ, harpsichord, and clavichord. The clavichord had the ability to play graduated dynamics, but the harpsichord couldn't - some of them had an extra set of strings that could be added to make the sound louder. When I first learned how to play baroque music I was taught that I had to use terraced dynamics, meaning a section would be played piano, and another section would be played forte. I was also taught to play the notes detached, as if I was imitating a harpsichord, and no pedal was allowed. My general instruction now is to make the piece sound good using the instrument I have - the piano. And because it is a controversial subject, I'm still confused on how to play Bach!!

So going back to Busoni - what you have in his edition is Busoni's interpretation. If you played it as specified in his edition, it might come out sounding too much like a Romanticized piece of Baroque music. That said, I like looking at these editions because they can give ideas on how to make the piece more interesting. It's kind of like having a lesson with Busoni.


Professional pianist and piano teacher.

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