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 Post subject: Yet more Bach...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:52 pm 
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Three more Orgelbuchlein items recorded today and last wednesday. First two are re-recordings as those up the site were quite awful.

The third (BWV 611) is one of these unfathomably deep pieces that get me all religious about Bach. A most remarkable piece in that it is 4-voiced with the chorale melody in the Alto voice. I might never have noticed that if good old JS had not written it above the score. Enjoy (hopefully).

Bach - Orgelbüchlein - BWV 605 - Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich
Bach - Orgelbüchlein - BWV 606 - Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her
Bach - Orgelbüchlein - BWV 611 - Christum wir sollen loben schon

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 6:39 pm 
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I really enjoyed that, Chris. It's just what I needed to relax from a week of hectic practicing. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:28 pm 
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Yeah, just what the doctor ordered isn't it ? :P

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:11 pm 
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It's better than Limoncello.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:16 pm 
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I listened to only the third piece, because I did go to church today and had my fill of organ music for the day. I finally figured out that I can transfer files that are on the internet to my Edirol and then I can hear better. So I listened three times and still could not pick out the alto chorale voice, but I guess since you only knew of it from the notation in the score, then I don't feel bad.

I did like the gentleness of the piece - the way you played it. It wasn't as jarring to my nerves as some of those crazy, excited pieces.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 10:00 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
pianolady wrote:
because I did go to church today and had my fill of organ music for the day.


Ah yes, Mrs. Monica, one can never have enough organ music! (Except if it is an electronic organ and not a pipe organ with all the bells and whistles, no pun intended). The power! I told Mr. Chris this, "the power behind a grand pipe organ is like holding a hand canon :P "


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:09 am 
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pianolady wrote:
So I listened three times and still could not pick out the alto chorale voice, but I guess since you only knew of it from the notation in the score, then I don't feel bad.

Nope, you should not. It is not a very distinctive theme, it's pretty well hidden between the other voices, and it does not have its own register (this must necessarily be played on one clavier, at least by me, because the hands regularly need to take over from each other).

But here is an opportunity for some contrapuntal listening, and to marvel at Bach's peerless ingenuity even in the deepest of music. I have attached the 1-page score, and it may be a nice excercise to follow it and try to pick out any errors I may have made. The chorale theme is at the bottom of the upper stave. Interestingly, this public domain edition does not say 'Chorale in Alto", but my scholarly Urtext luckily does. Maybe old Bach did not write it and took it for granted that people would find out. Wouldn't put that beyond him....

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Last edited by techneut on Mon Jan 15, 2007 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:59 am 
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Yes, it's much easier to hear it now. (when you see it). Strange how that happens. I didn't hear any of it before. I detected no errors.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:55 pm 
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Indeed wonderful pieces all of them. Perhaps I should enter the organ one day ;).

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 Post subject: Re: Yet more Bach...
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:05 am 
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techneut wrote:
Three more Orgelbuchlein items recorded today and last wednesday. First two are re-recordings as those up the site were quite awful.


No, if the first two were really awful I would have protested earlier :twisted:

To the BWV605: Very good played, I like your tempo, registration and everything. Personally I like a tiny bit more breathing after the fermates. At the end there is a connection to the choral the people sing, one can maybe discuss whether it is a loose or strong connection. Nobody sings the next line before breathing. But let's remain our different opinions on that, since we spoke already about that.
It differs a bit from the score, did you used an alternative version (I am only referring to the attached sheet, not my Henle Urtext I have at home)? A tiny slip in the last but one bar, but that is nothing for this piece I have deep respect for. Need to play it too anytime.

I like too BWV606, did not hear any slips or wrong notes.

techneut wrote:
The third (BWV 611) is one of these unfathomably deep pieces that get me all religious about Bach. A most remarkable piece in that it is 4-voiced with the chorale melody in the Alto voice. I might never have noticed that if good old JS had not written it above the score. Enjoy (hopefully).


Yep! I enjoyed! I think it is not too difficult to recognize the leading voice. It is more or less in all pieces the same in the Orgelbüchlein. It is the voice at which the note lengths are the longest (beside some 2 manual pieces with much ornaments in the leading voice). This gives during the organ playing the impression that it is the loudest automatically, even on those pieces which are played on one manual only for both hands (+pedal of course). I agree, if it is the soprano voice it is nethertheless easier to recognize as this voice stands on top already from the pitch, not only note length.

The only thing I niggle a bit is the following. It is an adagio piece, that means slow tempo. However it is written in 4/4 clock. What I feel in your playing is however an 8/8 groove. That is just another thing and turns the mood of the piece to something else. I can imagine that the Alto voice comes out even better in a 4/4 groove, that means slightly faster (not necessarily), but more important, with the groove (accents) at quarters instead eigth notes.
It is really a great piece I agree, and beside this (subjective) mentioned thing it sounds very persuasive to me!

How do you come so fast through that Orgelbüchlein? As if you would not play other things beside organ. Really impressive!

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 Post subject: Re: Yet more Bach...
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:29 am 
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MindenBlues wrote:
No, if the first two were really awful I would have protested earlier :twisted:

Awful or not, they were impossibly slow and lumbering, with far too many errors.

MindenBlues wrote:
To the BWV605: It differs a bit from the score, did you used an alternative version (I am only referring to the attached sheet, not my Henle Urtext I have at home)?

I have the Wiener Urtext from Universal Edition, and apart from the slip I play exactly what'w written there. Could be the Henle has some different details.

MindenBlues wrote:
(BWV 611)I think it is not too difficult to recognize the leading voice. It is more or less in all pieces the same in the Orgelbüchlein.

But having the melody in the Alto voice, without a separate register, is very unusual for Bach, my teacher said this morning. It can only be made to stand out by perfectly observing the note values (as in all organ music, really). One has to be so incredibly precise on this instrument.

MindenBlues wrote:
The only thing I niggle a bit is the following. It is an adagio piece, that means slow tempo. However it is written in 4/4 clock. What I feel in your playing is however an 8/8 groove. That is just another thing and turns the mood of the piece to something else. I can imagine that the Alto voice comes out even better in a 4/4 groove, that means slightly faster (not necessarily), but more important, with the groove (accents) at quarters instead eigth notes.

That could be a good point. Teacher said this morning it could be a little faster, but the did not mention the 8/8 beat. I'll keep it in mind, thanks.

MindenBlues wrote:
How do you come so fast through that Orgelbüchlein? As if you would not play other things beside organ. Really impressive!

For my feeling, these pieces take an awful long time to get decently recorded... Two hours or more for one minute/page of music seems a long time and I must have played these many dozens of times in a row before being reasonably satisfied. Seems to be worth the effort though. Did you notice the splice halfway the BWV 605 ? It sounds just a little jarring to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Yet more Bach...
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:02 am 
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techneut wrote:
For my feeling, these pieces take an awful long time to get decently recorded... Two hours or more for one minute/page of music seems a long time and I must have played these many dozens of times in a row before being reasonably satisfied. Seems to be worth the effort though. Did you notice the splice halfway the BWV 605 ? It sounds just a little jarring to me.


It takes me more than 5 times you need, for a single page of the Orgelbüchlein, at least 10 hours, rather more than less. I have the feeling I have to change something in my practising approach so it seems.
Regarding BWV605, no I did not notice a splice, neither from composition nor from the recording - did you put it together from 2 takes or what?

Regarding alto voice, of course you are right that it is very unusual to have the cantus firmus in this voice.

I have read somewhere that it is possible to play the alto voice on a separate manual. Maybe I find the book again. One needs to play with one hand on both manuals simultaneously, one finger on the one manual, another finger on the other manual. Sometimes with the right, sometimes the left hand. Can be wrong that it is this piece what was meant, but it was one of the one manual pieces from the Orgelbüchlein. I will check it later.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 9:21 am 
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Ok, in the german book "Bachs Orgelwerke" by H. Keller (editor of the Peters scores) he wrote (I try to translate):

"Only good players may dare the attempt to play the Alto voice on a separate manual".

There were no additional hints how to do it, and this book is from 1949, so full of the old fashioned romantique style with lots of register and manual changes.

I don't know whether it is really truely possible, to do it that way nor if it is desirable. On one manual the alto voice is so lovely interweaved in the other voices, one would rob it a bit.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 9:35 am 
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My teacher says that some organists do this, but it is extremely awkward and difficult as you must actually sometimes play two keyboards with one hand (there are just too many voices to do otherwise). You'd probably need Rach sized hands for it.

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