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#496390 - 08/31/07 03:44 PM Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 374
DDS24P&FOP87 Offline
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These piano pieces are among my favorite, and I wish they were performed more. I found two great performances on YouTube.

This first video clip only shows a performance of the Prelude, but I include the link because I think both the slow tempo and inward interpretation is appropriate:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh5rZU6fiLY

This second pianist performs all-three movements. Her interpretation is a lot more extroverted, and she adopts a quicker tempo. I love the bravura and intensity of her playing.

Prelude (Part 1):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCIxmbc8cuE

Fugue and Variation (Part 2):
http://tinyurl.com/yqeusb

Enjoy.


She was with me even in my grave
When the last of my friends turned away,
And she sang like the first storm heaven gave.
Or as if flowers were having their say.

- Anna Akhmatova, "Music"(Dedicated to Dmitri Shostakovich)
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#496391 - 08/31/07 04:26 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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argerichfan Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by DDS24P&FOP87:
I wish [it] were performed more.
Actually it is... by organists. Franck wrote it originally for organ and the transcription here may well be the one by Cortot, though I haven't checked to be certain.

It is indeed very beautiful, though the continual sequencing in the Prelude makes more sense in a church with plenty of reverb... as Franck intended.

For all that, this certainly works well enough on piano, and is much, much easier to play than the triptychs Franck actually conceived for piano: Prelude, Chorale and Fugue, Prelude, Aria, and Finale.

And, alas, organists will tell you that Prelude, Fugue and Variation is one of Franck's easier organ works. He can be miserably difficult -as I painfully know- but that's grist for the Organ Forum.


Jason
#496392 - 08/31/07 04:47 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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florhof Offline
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As far as I know the original version of this piece is not for organ but - believe it or not, argerichfan - for organ and piano. In this version I performed it two or three times years ago. Perhaps other forum members know more about it.

----------

http://www.pianistenschule.de

#496393 - 08/31/07 04:56 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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argerichfan Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by florhof:
As far as I know the original version of this piece is not for organ but - believe it or not, argerichfan - for organ and piano.
More correctly, harmonium and piano. I have the score, but I don't think anyone would argue that the organ version works best... doesn't it?


Jason
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#496394 - 08/31/07 05:39 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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DDS24P&FOP87 Offline
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argerichfan and florhof -

Thank you for your responses. I have heard the Prelude, Fugue, and Variation played on the organ, but I prefer the transcription for piano.(I like Sergio Fiorentino's recording a lot.)

I also love Franck's Prelude, Chorale, and Fugue. (My favorite recording here is the one by Ivan Moravec.)

I have nothing against the organ, but as for the Prelude,Fugue, and Variation, the piano transcription to me is more appealing. Just my opinion.


She was with me even in my grave
When the last of my friends turned away,
And she sang like the first storm heaven gave.
Or as if flowers were having their say.

- Anna Akhmatova, "Music"(Dedicated to Dmitri Shostakovich)
#496395 - 08/31/07 06:48 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
Joined: May 2005
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whippen boy Offline
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I would argue the fact that the Prélude, Fugue, et Variation is a better piano piece than organ piece - here is a perspective from an organist's point of view:

After Bach, Franck is the organ world's greatest composer. So for organists, the Prélude, Fugue, et Variation is one of the most treasured pieces in the entire repertoire.

As a piano piece, it is not as strong as hundreds of other compositions by one of the great piano composers.

The Piano is indeed fortunate to have so many first-rate composers; the Organ has not been so fortunate.

It is understandable that a pianist would prefer to hear this work on the piano, but it is also good to keep in mind that this may be a touchy subject for organists. smile

#496396 - 08/31/07 07:22 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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keyboardklutz Offline
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The organ/harmonium thing is quite a revelation. I knew the ensemble was popular in the 19th century but not about the Frank. Anybody know of any recordings? Jason, who published the score?


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#496397 - 09/01/07 05:02 AM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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argerichfan Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
The organ/harmonium thing is quite a revelation. I knew the ensemble was popular in the 19th century but not about the Franck. Anybody know of any recordings? Jason, who published the score?
Durand published the score, probably long out of print. I've never known of any recording, though truth to tell, it's not all that exciting in the duo version.

Like florhof, I have played it (the piano part with an organist), though I have also played Franck's organ version and Cortot's piano transcription.

I fully endorse whippen boy's post. Note too, that Franck's last works were the Trois Chorals for organ (utterly profound music by any definition) and an unfinished collection of works for harmonium, L'Organiste.


Jason
#496398 - 09/01/07 11:06 AM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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keyboardklutz Offline
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The original idea of the harmonium was to replace the orchestra for those with limited means. I can see piano/digital piano (with organ/string voice) as a useful modern-day ensemble.

I MUST get that score!


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#496399 - 09/01/07 11:34 AM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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dannylux Offline
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I didn't know there was a Cortot transcription.

The only ones I've seen are by Bauer, Friedman, Demus, and Mortensen.


Mel


"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only what you are expecting to give — which is everything. You give because you love and cannot help giving." Katharine Hepburn
#496400 - 09/01/07 04:36 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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whippen boy Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
The original idea of the harmonium was to replace the orchestra for those with limited means.
I'm not sure if the idea was to replace the orchestra exactly - the Franck piece was never orchestrated.

The harmonium was widely used in Europe (especially France) in order to support singing in church. Thus most everyone would have been familiar with the sound, which is not unlike an accordion. The tone is capable of expression (crescendo/decrescendo) and the sustained timbre is a nice contrast to the percussive piano.

It was valued on its own merits, not necessarily as a replacement to the orchestra.

Because harmoniums and pianos were readily available and relatively easy to transport, both instruments were often combined - especially for more intimate 'salon' concerts. One very well known work which comes to mind is Rossini's "Petite Messe Solenelle" for harmonium and two pianos.

#496401 - 09/01/07 05:05 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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Shellman Offline
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(Replying to Keyboardklutz) I know that there is at least one recording of the version for Harmonium and organ as I have it on tape but as to who the artists are, I'm afraid I can't help. I'll have a look around and see if I can find out though...

I have a piano transciption by Henry Gheel and it is lovely (so lovely in fact that my wife tells me not to play it as it is too sad!)


Best regards,
Jonathan
#496402 - 09/01/07 05:10 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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argerichfan Offline
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argerichfan  Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by whippen boy:
The harmonium was widely used in Europe (especially France) in order to support singing in church.
And also as a general substitute for the organ, i.e. interludes, closing voluntaries, etc. There's a lot of music for harmonium specifically intended for the Roman Catholic service.

Publishers must have made a fortune. Most of the great French organ composers -Franck of course, Vierne, Tournemire, Gigout, Boelmann, Dubois, Guilmant- wrote for harmonium, often on commission. The music varies in quality, but some of it is very fine- and occasionally quite difficult. (Vierne in particular.)


Jason
#496403 - 09/01/07 05:35 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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whippen boy Offline
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...and Harmonium compilations continued to be published right through the 20th century - for example, the most excellent collection of 24 Préludes by André Fleury.

#496404 - 09/01/07 06:18 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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DDS24P&FOP87 Offline
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Quote
It is understandable that a pianist would prefer to hear this work on the piano, but it is also good to keep in mind that this may be a touchy subject for organists. smile [/QB]
whippenboy -

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Even though I am a pianist, I happen to think the piano music of Granados/Albeniz sound better on the classical guitar than on the piano.

Again, I stand by my original opinion that the transcription for Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variation to me sounds better on the piano than the organ.

These are all my opinions.


She was with me even in my grave
When the last of my friends turned away,
And she sang like the first storm heaven gave.
Or as if flowers were having their say.

- Anna Akhmatova, "Music"(Dedicated to Dmitri Shostakovich)
#496405 - 09/01/07 06:36 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 9,371
argerichfan Offline
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argerichfan  Offline
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Posts: 9,371
Pacific Northwest, US.
Quote
Originally posted by DDS24P&FOP87:
I happen to think the piano music of Granados/Albeniz sound better on the classical guitar than on the piano.
Blimey, fightin' words in the Pianist Corner. laugh


Jason
#496406 - 09/01/07 08:31 PM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
Joined: May 2007
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keyboardklutz Offline
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whippen boy, I have owned several. They're a lot of fun.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#496407 - 04/23/08 09:50 AM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
Joined: Sep 2005
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Dib Franciss Offline
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Dib Franciss  Offline
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Brazil
Quote
Originally posted by argerichfan:
Quote
Originally posted by florhof:
As far as I know the original version of this piece is not for organ but - believe it or not, argerichfan - for organ and piano.
More correctly, harmonium and piano. I have the score, but I don't think anyone would argue that the organ version works best... doesn't it?
Hi dear friend,

I recently read that you have the rare-to-find version of Cesar Franck's "Prelude Fugue & Variation", for harmonium and piano. Do you have it in pdf? I would be in heaven if you could send me a copy by email. I've been trying to find this one for ages...
I will be eternally grateful if you could help me.

Thank you so much in advance,

Dib Franciss
My emails:
dibfranciss2003@yahoo.com.br
dibfranciss@hotmail.com


Dib Franciss, BRAZIL
#496408 - 04/24/08 12:27 AM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
Joined: Nov 2006
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argerichfan Offline
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argerichfan  Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Dib Franciss:
I recently read that you have the rare-to-find version of Cesar Franck's "Prelude Fugue & Variation", for harmonium and piano. Do you have it in pdf? I would be in heaven if you could send me a copy by email. I've been trying to find this one for ages...
I will be eternally grateful if you could help me.

Yours for the asking. smile

But now you may wish to edit your post and remove the email addresses. If any questions, feel free to respond via my email.

Cheers,


Jason
#496409 - 05/13/08 08:52 AM Re: Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue, and Variations  
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pianovirus Offline
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I got in love with the piece after this thread brought it to my attention and now would like to start working on it (piano transcription). So I thought rather than opening a new thread I'd append to the old one.

Has anyone compared the four transcriptions by Bauer, Friedman, Demus, and Mortensen and could comment on their characteristics/differences? What are the major differences? Which one do you prefer? Maurice Hinson mentions both Bauer and Friedman as "eminently pianistic" and "highly recommended" which is not much help for choosing among them smile

Any opinions? And please don't tell me I'm lazy (and should compare on my own). Of course I am... smile

Thanks,
virus.

Edit: By the way, I just saw this interesting thread has been given 1 star (as some other good threads). To me the anonymous thread rating does not seem to work well. Maybe it would be worthwhile to disable rating and just encourage people to share their opinion using words rather than stars.


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