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J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
#2862500 06/24/19 09:42 PM
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Brendan Offline OP
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Most of it, rather, for this concert (15 in total): C, c, C#, c#, D, d, F#, f#, G, g, A-flat, g#, A, a, b.

So, my performance project this past year was WTC I, which I played in a number of formats - 12-15 as a lecture-recital, a "best of" (usually about 15-17, lasting 80 minutes), or the whole thing top to bottom (which I only did a few times and it absolutely slayed me). It was a very difficult project, but beneficial and revealing in many ways. It's been a long time since I've played one of these publicly, so part of the challenge was teaching myself how to do if again after spending so much time recently on more extreme contemporary repertoire. I don't think I'll try Book II anytime in the near future since I would like to move on to other projects.

This concert was presented at the University of Memphis' "Piano Plus" Series in February. The link is queued up from the recital portion; watch from the beginning if you want to listen to me make some nerdy jokes in the lecture. Playing Bach in public is exceedingly hard, and I manage to hit at least one hilariously wrong note per piece, but whatever.

https://youtu.be/0Ak2BNhjO30?t=42m30s

Re: J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
Brendan #2866317 07/05/19 12:54 PM
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Wow....I've listened to the first few so far. Very nice...wish I could have been there!

One day maybe I'll take on some more of these. At least I can play the first (C) smile. For now I'm happy with that!

Btw why is your username in green - what does that signify?


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Re: J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
Brendan #2866373 07/05/19 05:50 PM
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What I've listened to so far is immensely impressive, Brendan. Thank you for sharing it. I'm looking forward to listening to the lecture part.

One quick question: Is your ornamentation based on a generalized scheme or is it more of a spontaneous thing? (I assume you had a specific plan for each piece, unless your spontaneity entails a superhuman ability to add embellishments so convincingly on the fly!) I don't think I've heard anyone embed so many ornaments into their performances; the Bk 1 C# major fugue, for example. I kind of like them, but I'm interested in understanding what aesthetic or other drivers are behind them.

Thanks again for a wonderfully edifying post.


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Re: J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
Brendan #2867064 07/07/19 04:23 PM
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Thanks for listening, SiFi! It's a lot of Bach and I appreciate it. Yes, I like to add lots of ornamentation onto the score, mostly because it's the performance practice, but also since few people do it and I guess I'm trying to make up for everyone else...

Most of the time in the Preludes, I'm just trying whatever comes to mind (mordants, trills, filling in passing tones, turns, etc.). In the fugues, I generally have a few ideas ahead of time and sort of make a game out of whether I can keep it up or not in subsequent entrances - in many cases, they're just simple mordants or trills, so it's not too complicated. I probably practiced a few different possibilities just to see which ones I liked or thought sounded best. It's also a good test of musicianship.

One of the best things about Bach is that you can really make every performance different, so that was my goal. In a strange way, it also helped keep the performance anxiety to a minimum since I felt that I had more control over the performance.


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