Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bach recording (sigh)

I've been working on the Bach prelude and fugue in A major from Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, for six months now. For some reason this piece has been especially difficult for me. Sometimes I have thought that it doesn't engage me much emotionally, so my mind wanders while I'm playing it. (I find myself thinking all kinds of things -- some very far afield!) I have a vague mental picture of the prelude being something pastoral and the fugue being something along the lines of a hunting song, or a jig (or should I say "gigue"?), but I couldn't seem to get deeply into it.

Anyway, I told myself I'd work on it until I could produce a reasonably okay recording and then move on. About a month ago, I made a recording that sort of met that criterion. In fact, the fugue came out especially well. I wasn't satisfied with the prelude, though, so I figured I'd work on it a little more and maybe rerecord the prelude.

Time went by without my getting around to it, and in the interim, I had the piano tuned, so the possibility of joining the older recording of the fugue with a new recording of the prelude was less likely to be convincing (i.e., the latter was going to be significantly sharper than the former). I spent some frustrating hours trying to get a decent recording of both prelude and fugue, but nothing came up to the level of the version I recorded a month ago, so I decided in the interest of my sanity (or facsimile thereof) to throw this up here and call it a half year and move on:

Bach WTC I/19 in A major

I apologize in advance for a couple of oopsies in the prelude. This does have the virtue of having been recorded in one take, though!


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this very much. I was surprised how "harpsichordy" your piano sounded. The tone is just right for this type of music.

Harriet said...

Thank you! I just can't believe I had to work on it for so long to achieve this (shaky) level. If I spend six months on each one, it will take me another 20 years or so to learn them all ... if I even live that long.

Carol Dales said...

Hi Harriet- I just stumbled upon your blog, and am looking forward with excitement to reading all of your entries. In case you're wondering why I'm so fascinated, it's because I'm also a pianist; I've never played a string instrument, but I recently launched a group for pianists (, and to my surprise and delight, two cellists have joined! This unexpected development has already opened up wonderful collaborative opportunities for all of us. As I'm working with both cellists, I'm really interested in their thought processes, and also in how you arrived at your decision to return to the piano. I have to run now (closing up the library where I work), but I'll be back!

Harriet said...

Thank you for stopping by, Carol. Your meetup looks interesting.

I wouldn't say returning to the piano was exactly a decision -- it was more like a compulsion! I think I just have a need to play, and with the piano, because I can play whatever I want without having to take others into account, it's very freeing. The cello is much more dependent on collaboration.