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Bach/Brahms - Chaconne

Posted By: fnork

Bach/Brahms - Chaconne - 02/19/13 09:50 PM

Getting this piece ready for a masterclass in a few days. Not an easy transcription to do justice...

Posted By: boo1234

Re: Bach/Brahms - Chaconne - 02/19/13 10:55 PM

what's that muffled thumping sort of noise in the background? Pedal?
Posted By: fnork

Re: Bach/Brahms - Chaconne - 02/19/13 11:06 PM

I'm afraid so. The disadvantage of miking too closely, at least with these instruments where the pedal noise is more audible.
Posted By: Tim Adrianson

Re: Bach/Brahms - Chaconne - 02/21/13 04:41 PM

fnork, thanks for posting this -- as I mentioned to Orange Soda King in another thread, I really prefer this realization of the Chaconne quite a lot to that of Busoni's -- and OSK I thought really posted a convincing performance of Busoni's more familiar realization. In general, I think Busoni has a strong tendency to overstate the case regarding Bach, and several pianists I've heard tend to exacerbate this by emphasizing the virtuoso implications -- IMO, effectively burying it in spectacular effects.

Your conception of how the Bach/Brahms "moves" is VERY similar to my own, up to the final section where the glorious variations in the major key reverts back to minor. I always approached the finishing variations more, well, virtuosically -- but I liked the return to a more contemplative, introverted approach; it mirrors the initial variations quite satisfyingly. As you said, I could smell the gas fumes of an exhausted motor towards the end, but it really was an enjoyable presentation. Thanks for sharing this!
Posted By: Orange Soda King

Re: Bach/Brahms - Chaconne - 02/22/13 12:09 AM

Beautifully done!! I need to learn this one, too. Overall it's performed well, and I'm sure you'll clean things up with slow practice. Also, based on some of those 10ths that you block, it seems like your hands are much larger than mine, hahaha!

Keep up the good work, fnork. I like your posts smile
Posted By: Pogorelich.

Re: Bach/Brahms - Chaconne - 02/22/13 02:01 PM

I too prefer this version to the Busoni, and I think you did a fine job. I think you are very very musical!
The trouble with this piece, or the difficulty, is to think more horizontally as it tends to be vertical (in line and sound)... it's hard, because we're not string players. But I only felt that a little bit in the beginning really. Later on, you do a beautiful job. Basically whenever it rises in dynamic, it gets difficult to play more horizontal, I think.
Posted By: Louis Podesta

Re: Bach/Brahms - Chaconne - 02/22/13 04:12 PM


First, the piano sounds beautiful, an excellent instrument.

Second, I have played this piece for awhile, and lately I have come back to it with a totally different mindset, re arpeggiation, which you use extensively. However, one thing puzzles me.

I have two recordings, Fleisher, whose version is 16 min 38 sec, and Idil Biret, whose version is 17 min 35 sec. Your recording comes in at a little over 14 minutes.

Compression is compression but coming in 2 minutes under one, and over three minutes under another, says something.

Next, I have heard the original version of this played on the violin, many times. And, what I always noticed is that there was always a certain amount of verve and fire that was maintained throughout.

You have a habit of suddenly slowing down for what results in a romantic sounding effect. Even though Brahms phrasing is known for its elasticity, one still has to maintain a forward moving line.

When teaching the concept of rubato, my late piano teacher Robert Weaver used a big red rubber band that they used to wrap the lettuce with at the grocery store. He would take his two forefingers and gently stretch the rubber band, and then let it relax slowy back, with the goal being to constantly maintain the tension and never let it go limp.

Finally, you have an enormous amount of musicality within you, which is exemplified throughout this rendering. As long as you can keep the tempo, even with this piece's ebb and flow, going along, you will have made great music.
Posted By: Orange Soda King

Re: Bach/Brahms - Chaconne - 02/22/13 05:14 PM

Louis, it's interesting that you bring up the total time it takes to play this piece. Let's take a couple more recordings into consideration:
Krystian Zimerman, around 14 and a half https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91KBiPlit-Y
Sokolov, around 14 and a half https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsylKLNXo9w
Some university student, around 14 and a half (there is extra time with no playing before and after the video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iELkeKkd2_I

Also, I've heard the original violin version played much shorter than 14 minutes, and also much longer than 14 minutes. This seems to be a piece where the total time varies a lot (same with the Busoni arrangement that I played; you can hear it just a few threads down in the forum from this one).
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