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“Listen to the Long Notes”

Five words resonated profoundly through a Masterclass given by Pianist, Andras Schiff at the Juilliard School. They framed a myriad of movements in Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras. Three students offered selections by Bach, Schubert and Schumann. (The event was Live-streamed) While Beethoven did not grace the program, Maestro Schiff's mentoring had far-reaching implications for… Continue reading “Listen to the Long Notes”

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Andras Schiff in recital at S.F. Davies Hall (Feb. 15, 2015)

Pianist, Andras Schiff delivered an uneven performance at San Francisco's Davies Hall yesterday afternoon. Those who expected the pianist to play his signature Bach program were pleasantly surprised by Schiff's insertions of self-imposed Baroque style ornaments in Mozart's "Drawing Room" Sonata, K. 545.(in particular) As whimsical as it might have seemed, the "improvisation" was out… Continue reading Andras Schiff in recital at S.F. Davies Hall (Feb. 15, 2015)

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Piano Instruction: Allemande from J.S. Bach French Suite no. 5 in G Major

Andras Schiff, known for playing Bach "purely" without pedal, encourages piano students to indulge J.S. as actors cultivate Shakespeare. It's our daily "bread," he insists. Regardless of his mixed metaphor, I concur that studying the works of Johann Sebastian Bach builds a solid foundation for exploring music of all historical eras. And to pore over… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Allemande from J.S. Bach French Suite no. 5 in G Major

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Comparing Interpretations of Bach Prelude in C minor, BWV 847 (Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1)

Over a year ago, I posted a tutorial about the harmonic rhythm of Bach's C minor Prelude (WTC I) to help myself and others navigate strings of 16th notes with an awareness of shape, direction, and resolution. This was my springboard to learning the composition and it remains a good reference. http://youtu.be/yAa8YcW7lMI However, my you… Continue reading Comparing Interpretations of Bach Prelude in C minor, BWV 847 (Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1)

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Playing Bach on the piano: pedal or no pedal

Decisions, decisions about whether to pedal through Bach's ethereal Prelude no. 1 in C Major, BWV 846 (The Well-Tempered Clavier)

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Angela Hewitt, pianist, plays J.S. Bach beautifully on a Fazioli

I must admit that when I journeyed to Piedmont Pianos before it moved out of downtown San Francisco, I wasn't taken by a huge, 10-foot plus Italian piano with extra keys that was the featured attraction. (The Giraffe piano at Peninsula in Palo Alto upstaged it) And the older, re-built Steinways on the S.F. premises… Continue reading Angela Hewitt, pianist, plays J.S. Bach beautifully on a Fazioli

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In this corner, the “Elephant in the Room Piano,” in a match-up with the Harpsichord

Should Bach be played on the harpsichord or piano? The discussion between fervent partisans can get ugly and come to blows! So let's go ringside!