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Thread: Bach: Well-tempered Piano II for Orchestra

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    Default Bach: Well-tempered Piano II for Orchestra


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    Senior Member shirime's Avatar
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    Quite a few things to consider:

    - Be careful you don't go out of range in some instruments. There are some some low As in the oboe parts that can't be played, for example
    - Be careful how you balance extremes of registers. The flute in its top octave can be very bright and easily penetrate the texture, and it's extremely difficult and not really idiomatic to play softly up there.
    - Look out for inconsistently slurred passages, and you might want to double check how you wish to write slurs in the string parts because usually a slur would indicate the player play all those notes under one bow stroke. Many slurs are probably too long and would cause confusion for the string players.
    - There are some really delightful moments in some of the woodwind passages, particularly in the g minor fugue, but unfortunately it's quite possible that the contrasting colours and characters of the different woodwind instruments and registers of them are swallowed up by the very consistent string section. It's nice to see you've given them a rest by bar 67.
    - At other times some of the more idiosyncratic characteristics of woodwind registers are balanced in a rather cumbersome way, like low register oboe (loud and honky) playing a countermelody against middle register flute (delicate and lyrical) in a legato passage. Also, be careful when it comes to writing loud dynamics in the break of the clarinet as it's very unstable there and can sound more strangled than anything.
    - What are you wishing to achieve in the tutti passages? Are there more effective ways you can balance fewer instruments to still give those sections some oomph but also a better sense of timbral contrast?
    - What is the actual role of the string section in terms of timbre in relation to other parts of the orchestra? A lot of the time it doubles really interesting woodwind writing, potentially detracting from those little moments of colour rather than adding to it.
    - Have you considered splitting phrases across more than one instrument to explore the potential of really colouring the melodies themselves instrumentally?
    - What articulations do you think you can explore beyond a general legato and a general non legato style? What about techniques like pizzicato, flutter tonguing, mutes etc?

    Webern's orchestration of Ricercar a 6 from Ein Musikalisches Opfer is worth checking out if you haven't studied it already:



    Looking forward to some more orchestrations.

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    Thank you, shirime, for your many observations. I try to consider them in the future!
    The "splitting phrases across more than one instrument to explore the potential of really colouring the melodies themselves instrumentally" I usually try to do that, especially in my orchestration of Beethoven's piano sonata op. 110, but in my Barock arrangements I often don't find it so fitting. The Webern orchestration, I must admit, does not speak to me at all...

    Here is another one:
    http://www.gerdprengel.de/Bach-Wellt...Major_Orch.mp3
    Last edited by gprengel; Oct-30-2018 at 01:40.

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