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Thread: Bach Partitas and Sonatas

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    Junior Member grixxviolist's Avatar
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    Question Bach Partitas and Sonatas

    What can you say about these compositions of Bach?
    I'm working on D minor Partita No. 2 right now and I want to seek advice from people who have played Bach's Partitas and Sonatas or are currently studying them (like me).
    I've read books about them but I haven't found how they should be interpreted..
    Does the interpretation stick to the Baroque feel or can it be freer, depending on the player?
    music=home.

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    I love a good historically informed performance, but yes I also believe in a more "free" interpretation if you're playing the six solos for violin on a modern instrument.

    Is this thread strictly about BWV1001-1006 or can it be about any of the suites, partitas and sonatas for all the stringed instruments that Bach wrote for? I've played excerpts from BWV995, 996, 997 on guitar and 1007 on viola.

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    Junior Member grixxviolist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    Is this thread strictly about BWV1001-1006 or can it be about any of the suites, partitas and sonatas for all the stringed instruments that Bach wrote for? I've played excerpts from BWV995, 996, 997 on guitar and 1007 on viola.
    nope, anything that is greatly related is most welcome!
    music=home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grixxviolist View Post
    nope, anything that is greatly related is most welcome!
    Alright then. What's your opinion on the lute suites? Do they sound better on theorbo, lute-harpsichord or modern classical guitar?

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    Senior Member GoneBaroque's Avatar
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    I will have to opt for the Lute. I have not heard them on the therobo or lute-harpsichord but that could be interesting.

    Pablo Casals was once asked how one should play the music of Bach. The great man replied "Exactly as one should play Schubert".
    Rob

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    In general terms, there are three ways to approach the sonatas and partitas.

    1) Cool precision - the Heifetz way. difficult, because you will be judged on those terms.

    2) Grace and smoothness - the Suk way. Making them seem much less difficult than they are. The difficulty in doing that is ... obvious.

    3) Enthusiasm but not abandon - the Francescatti way. A subset of that approach is Tanenbaum's, who adds a gypsy-like flair. I don't know how difficult that approach is technically, but I'm pretty sure it can't be successfully faked.

    The above opinions are offered with a complete lack of expertise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoneBaroque View Post
    I will have to opt for the Lute. I have not heard them on the therobo or lute-harpsichord but that could be interesting.

    Pablo Casals was once asked how one should play the music of Bach. The great man replied "Exactly as one should play Schubert".
    Well Pablo Casals fell for the trap and got it wrong. Bach should be played like Bach. Bach was not Schubert. When I play Bach on the viola or guitar I usually try play the ornamentation, phrasing and rubato etc. as close to they would have been performed in Bach's time as possible. There is a HUGE difference to a trill from the 1720s and a trill from the 1820s.

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    Senior Member Taneyev's Avatar
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    There is another way to play those works: perfectly. (Szeryng).

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    Well Pablo Casals fell for the trap and got it wrong. Bach should be played like Bach. Bach was not Schubert. When I play Bach on the viola or guitar I usually try play the ornamentation, phrasing and rubato etc. as close to they would have been performed in Bach's time as possible. There is a HUGE difference to a trill from the 1720s and a trill from the 1820s.
    That sounds right, but I suppose it ain't necessarily so. If one of those sonatas is played in an 1820s fashion, is the result a clashing hodgepodge, dismayingly anachronistic... what?

    BTW, my heroine Mela Tenenbaum made several recordings playing viola; have you heard her?
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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odnoposoff View Post
    There is another way to play those works: perfectly. (Szeryng).
    His modus operandi was a modification of the Suk; a bit less smooth, a bit more 'feeling'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    That sounds right, but I suppose it ain't necessarily so. If one of those sonatas is played in an 1820s fashion, is the result a clashing hodgepodge, dismayingly anachronistic... what?

    BTW, my heroine Mela Tenenbaum made several recordings playing viola; have you heard her?
    I haven't actually. I'll have to check them out.

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    Leo Brouwer plays Bach's BWV 1004 Chaconne
    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQbH6G8GPoM[/YT]


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    If you want all your points on an exam, you have to be somewhat historically informed. This leaves room for ornamentation, probably less so on the violin, however... That being said, if you play like a Perlman record, i'm sure the judges will be pleased.

    My preferred instruments for the chamber works vary greatly. I do actually enjoy the Bach 2000 recordings for the lute works:

    JS Bach Suite BWV 997 Pianca Lute & Barchi Lute Harpsichord
    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=undPLx9UJJg[/YT]

    I also like them on solo lute (Nigel North), but i always find myself going back to the John Williams guitar recordings.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    If you want all your points on an exam, you have to be somewhat historically informed. This leaves room for ornamentation, probably less so on the violin, however... That being said, if you play like a Perlman record, i'm sure the judges will be pleased.

    My preferred instruments for the chamber works vary greatly. I do actually enjoy the Bach 2000 recordings for the lute works:

    JS Bach Suite BWV 997 Pianca Lute & Barchi Lute Harpsichord
    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=undPLx9UJJg[/YT]
    That's a beautiful instrument. Playing it gives up the fine control possible with a lute - or archlute - I'm guessing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    That's a beautiful instrument. Playing it gives up the fine control possible with a lute - or archlute - I'm guessing.
    Yes. I love the lute-harpsichord...

    J. S. Bach - Suite in E minor BWV 996 (1/2) - Robert Hill, Lautenwerk
    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7as40yNkhlA[/YT]

    J. S. Bach - Prelude, Fugue & Allegro in E-Flat major BWV 998 (2/3) - Robert Hill, Lautenwerk
    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbxixgWDXis[/YT]

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