blogmetrics, blogmetrics.org, classissima, classissima.org, Franz Josef Haydn, harpsichord, Haydn, Haydn Sonatas, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, pianist, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten

Haydn on the harpsichord or piano? (Competition interlude)

elaineshandshubbardScreen Shot 2015-06-27 at 5.07.40 PMElaine Comparone insists that playing Haydn’s works on the harpsichord stirs her “imagination to new heights.”

The harpsichordist’s upload of Haydn’s eloquent Sonata No. 52 in Eb Major ironically paralleled Reed Tetzloff’s piano performance in Moscow which introduces an aesthetic comparison or two.

Reed’s You Tube channel features the opening Allegro movement, https://youtu.be/q6l2qguKhik
while his complete sonata rendering can be replayed on Medici: Round one, XV Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. (Start at 6:30 in track: the second offering on the grid that follows his Bach selection)

http://tch15.medici.tv/en/performance/round-round-1-piano-2015-06-18-1550000300-great-ha

Elaine’s inspired performance of the towering late Haydn sonata is worth an attentive ear to detail in anticipation of her astute comments about playing the composer’s masterpiece on the harpsichord.

“In the late 18th century the pianoforte gradually replaced the harpsichord, but the original editions of almost all of Beethoven’s keyboard sonatas up to Opus 27 (1800-1801) bear the inscription: “Pour le Clavecin ou Pianoforte” (“For the Harpsichord or Piano”). Haydn prescribes harpsichord for his solo keyboard sonatas as late as his E minor Sonata (H. XVI: 34) first published in 1784. In letters from March and April of 1789 he refers to his C Major “Clavier” Sonata (“keyboard” sonata—a generic designation) and he includes a middle movement with the title “Adagio per Clavicembalo o Piano-Forte” (“Adagio for Harpsichord or Pianoforte”).

“All this shows that harpsichords were still widely used around 1800 and that music publishers were eager to accommodate the players and owners of the older instruments as well as those of the more modern ones. Haydn’s keyboard music is stylistically interchangeable between harpsichord and piano, except for the slight proliferation of dynamic directions absent in most harpsichord music. (Modern, non-urtext editions add many more dynamic markings than Haydn’s original ones.)

“Why not merely play and record these pieces on a piano? As a harpsichordist, my major argument is that it has been done many times in the “modern” era. Why not try a fresh approach? The harpsichord has a sound with unique acoustical qualities not shared by either modern or early pianos. I do not regard “early music” as the sole property of those who play antique instruments or modern replicas. Pianists who play modern grand pianos clearly share my opinion as is evidenced by their many performances and recordings of music by Bach. But, at the same time, their performances of Mozart, Haydn and even Beethoven are farther away from the aural imaginings of these composers than harpsichord performance might be. Harpsichord sound stirs my imagination as piano sound never did. That is why I try to play whatever music lends itself to the instrument. As long as it is idiomatic, I will play it!”

After listening to Elaine and Reed’s performances, make your own judgment about what is pleasing the ear and why.

Finally, I asked Maestra Comparone why she chose to “sit this one out,” since she’s well-known for standing at the harpsichord:

“Standing at the harpsichord was a pose requiring an audience.
#1. It added to the complexity of the harpsichord move.
#2. I had four sonatas to record. Standing requires more energy. I had to save energy, not to expend it needlessly.

“Standing was useful when I played LIVE with the entire QCB (Queen’s Chamber Band). Elevating the instrument aided in projection. My colleagues preferred to stand when possible so we all liked to be on the same level.

“In a recording session, the instrument didn’t have to be elevated to be better seen or heard. The camera and recording equipment took care of that. Also, if it had been elevated, it would have been next to impossible to accomplish overhead shots of the keyboard, so we all agreed that simplicity was the key to a smooth and successful recording session.”

***

LINKS
ELAINE COMPARONE
http://www.harpsichord.org

https://www.youtube.com/user/ecomparone

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/aglow-with-creative-fire-my-nyc-visit-with-harpsichordist-elaine-comparone/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/a-visit-with-elaine-comparone-at-her-harpsichord-palace-in-new-york-city/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/the-harpsichord-has-a-new-lease-on-life-elaine-comparone-is-its-biggest-advocate/

REED TETZLOFF
You Tube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgfaN5SV7Wq5Mgb37khY7ZQ

Tetzloff REPLAYS Round 2 (Tchaikovsky Competition)

http://tch15.medici.tv/en/performance/round-round-2-piano-2015-06-21-1630000300-great-ha

http://tch15.medici.tv/en/performance/round-round-2-piano-2015-06-24-1830000300-great-ha

Elaine Comparone, J.S. Bach, Ornaments in the Baroque, piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video, youtube.com

Baroque Ornaments, execution, style, context and taste: A Conversation with Elaine Comparone

IMG_2350-2

On a rainy Saturday morning in New York City, I packed my tripod, camcorder, battery chargers, and Henle Urtext edition of J.S. Bach's French Suite No. 5 in G, and headed for Elaine Comparone's gorgeous harpsichord and piano sanctuary on Manhattan's West side.IMG_2354-2 We'd planned to discuss ornaments in the Baroque using the springboard Sarabande, though wide-eyed and inspired Elaine wove in the Loure with a bedazzling reading framed by a Harvard Dictionary introduction.

A two-part exchange, in an impromptu spirit captured the essence of "improvisation" in the Baroque period, and found expression in harpsichord and piano renderings.

A big Thank You goes to Elaine Comparone for her illuminating words and profoundly beautiful music-making!

Loure rendered on the Piano

Updated rendering by Elaine Comparone on the harpsichord:

***

Elaine Comparone teaches harpsichord and piano on Manhattan’s West side with a Baroque period emphasis.

http://www.harpsichord.org

LINKS TO FORMER VISITS with ELAINE COMPARONE

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/my-side-by-side-harpsichordpiano-chat-with-elaine-comparone-in-her-nyc-sanctuary/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/aglow-with-creative-fire-my-nyc-visit-with-harpsichordist-elaine-comparone/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/a-visit-with-elaine-comparone-at-her-harpsichord-palace-in-new-york-city/

OTHER:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/the-harpsichord-has-a-new-lease-on-life-elaine-comparone-is-its-biggest-advocate/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/vibrant-music-making-at-rest-or-at-play/

Bach with Pluck on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Pluck-Vol-2/dp/B00000083N/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1370197321&sr=1-2&keywords=bach+with+pluck

classissima.com

She plays “red-blooded” harpsichord!

It’s well-known to a wide audience of admirers that Elaine Comparone has a commanding presence at the harpsichord. And while she sits this one out in a bedazzling reading of Bach’s D minor concerto, she’s made headlines standing before her beloved as Queen of a Chamber Band that’s produced reams of high quality performances.

Comparone, in royal fashion, continues to champion the harpsichord as a front and center player among its keyboard kin. In solo and ensemble appearances, her resonant Dowd or Hubbard make a profoundly audible impression to final cadence, leaving an entranced audience with an insatiable appetite for more.

What better way to showcase the impeccable artistry of Maestra Comparone than to post her most recent gift to a growing league of You Tube fans and subscribers: an inspired recording session at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in New York City.

J.S. Bach Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052

Elaine’s music can be found virtually everywhere, starting at Arabesque:

http://www.arabesquerecords.com/artists/classical_solo/comparone/

Comparone’s You Tube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/ecomparone

OTHER LINKS:

http://www.harpsichord.org

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/aglow-with-creative-fire-my-nyc-visit-with-harpsichordist-elaine-comparone/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/the-harpsichord-has-a-new-lease-on-life-elaine-comparone-is-its-biggest-advocate/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/my-side-by-side-harpsichordpiano-chat-with-elaine-comparone-in-her-nyc-sanctuary/

Bach D minor Harpsichord Concerto, Baroque music, classissima, classissima.com, Elaine Comparone, Elaine Comparone Harpsichord, harpsichord, Harpsichord Unlimited, J.S. Bach, piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, youtube.com

Comparone plays Bach on the harpsichord with a palette of emotions

Elaine CD cover best

I must admit that I usually experience the “minor” key with poignant intensity, but when I heard Elaine Comparone’s most recent performance of J.S.Bach’s celebrated D minor concerto, I felt her inner smile radiate through ripples and waves of luscious phrases even as a tragic dimension blanketed the work. Comparone’s tapestry of moods, feelings and affect, made the reading more than one dimensional.

The performance fueled my desire to import a collection of photos I’d taken at Elaine’s harpsichord palace, for her CD soundtrack. (first movement)

Finally, the Maestra provided an enticing dessert in encore comments about Bach’s monumental composition, her relationship to it, and matters of interpretation.

Elaine Comparone

“I first played the d minor concerto in my senior recital at Brandeis University almost 50 years ago. It was a disaster! I hadn’t memorized it at that point.

“Once I began my professional career in my early 20s, I decided it was important for me to memorize solo pieces and concertos, just as most pianists do! Some harpsichordists feel exempt from this particular requirement. For me it is a sine qua non that enables me to internalize a piece and probe its depths.

“Memorization was tough, almost painful, but it was necessary for me to hear everything that goes on. Unlike other concertos of J.S. and certainly anyone else’s, this one is perfectly complete without the string parts. Sure, the strings add to it, but you could play it without strings for someone who hadn’t heard it and they wouldn’t miss a thing. Everything’s there! There’s a certain amount of doubling of the harpsi-part by the strings in the tutti passages, which makes the piece sound HUGE! I had fun rehearsing with the string players separately. It helped me to hear all the lines along with my own. In particular, I’ve rehearsed it a lot with Veronica the violist over the years. Johann Sebastian probably played viola in the first performance of this piece with one of his sons as soloist. It’s a fantastic part. As in all his works, the line is complete and self-contained from beginning to end. This particular immersion resulted in our recognizing and making audible more subtleties than we had before.

“For instance, to outline the structure of the middle movement, I added new dynamic contrasts to the first statement of the bass line theme that my left hand, cello and bass continue throughout the piece. No other interpretation that I have heard treats the line this way.

“In the first movement cadenza I added new stresses (in the form of time stretches) to several spots that, again, recognize and reinforce the harmonic structure. In the first and second movements especially, I stretch some phrases for expressive purposes in addition to structural ones, but always maintain the basic beat.

“In choosing tempi for the recording, I opted for a slightly broader tempo for the first movement than one usually hears from period instrument ensembles. I wanted to convey the tragic nature of the first movement which gives it its singular power. It is not a light, dancing piece and should not be played too quickly nor flippantly. The last movement can dance and should fly!!

“The middle movement in my mind reflects Bach’s response to the tragedies he experienced in his life, from the deaths of his parents when he was quite young, to the discovery of his wife’s having died while he was away traveling, to the deaths of a number of beloved children. This man intimately knew sorrow, but was able to channel his life experiences through music into the creation of this magnificent and moving work.”

***

Elaine in a relaxed, unguarded moment:

Elaine and dog

LINKS

http://www.harpsichord.org

Vibrant Music-making at Rest or at Play
https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/vibrant-music-making-at-rest-or-at-play/

Bach with Pluck played by Elaine Comparone and Dusan Bogdanovic, Dusan Bogdanovic guitarist, Elaine Comparone, harpsichord, Harpsichord.org, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube.com

Bach with and without Pluck

images-1Elaine Comparone and Dusan Bogdanovic produced a stunning CD, combining harpsichord and guitar in their J.S Bach Inventions and Sinfonias collaboration.

Both musicians have firmly established reputations as fine performers and recording artists so their get-together has surely been a treat for listeners far and wide.

Just today, I broke out my Bach with Pluck!, and dashed off a few emails to Elaine about my reaction to the disk, piece by piece.

images

It was an overwhelming thumbs up, but the thought popped into my head to post a side-by-side acoustic piano rendering of the first offering, Invention 1 in C.

LINKS:

Harpsichord.org

http://www.harpsichord.org

The Harpsichord has a new lease on life

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/the-harpsichord-has-a-new-lease-on-life-elaine-comparone-is-its-biggest-advocate/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/a-visit-with-elaine-comparone-at-her-harpsichord-palace-in-new-york-city/

Dusan Bogdanovic
WIKI
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dušan_Bogdanović

Bach, Bach Little Fugue in C major BWV 952, Baroque form fugue, classissima, classissima.com, Elaine Comparone, fugue form analysis, J.S. Bach BWV 952 in C Major, J.S. Bach Fugue form, Jan Karman, Lance Walton, piano instruction, piano lessons, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Theory, Theory and piano lessons, whole body listening, whole body music listening, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video, you tube.com, yout tube, youtube.com

Piano Instruction: Can we over-analyze a Bach fugue?

One of my Europe-based students bestowed the gift of J.S. Bach Fugue in C, BWV 952. He regarded it as a good springboard to learn the Baroque form. (The composition was not from the Well-Tempered Clavier, but it was one of the composer’s “LITTLE FUGUES.”)

For purposes of I.D., here’s Glenn Gould’s performance:

I had come to this FUGUE in a state of ignorance, though I’d been previously saturated with an excellent ONLINE analysis of WTC’s BWV 847 in C minor. (Jose Rodriguez Alvira)

http://www.teoria.com/articulos/analysis/BWV847/index.htm

And naturally, I expected to find an equivalent nit-picking probe of BWV 952 through a Google-driven search.

To my pleasant surprise, I found one produced by “Lance Walton,” an admitted “amateur,” that devoted a complete page to piecing out the Fugue, and in addition, had a PDF score link that led in scope to Alvira’s undertaking.

Only the standard FUGUE “vocabulary,” as I knew it, was modified, in places. (“Double Exposition” was a NEW term of art) And I didn’t see Counter-subject 1 and 2, or indications of Inversion, Augmentation etc. Well maybe they didn’t apply here. I was not prepared for any form departures.

Here’s the website and direct link to the PDF analysis.

http://www.stateofflow.com/journal/84/analysis-of-a-bach-fugue-bwv-952

The first three pages of six in living color:

Bach 942 revised p 1

bach 952 revised p 2

revised bwv952 p 3

I sent this Analysis to Jan Karman, a LINKED IN BACH GROUP member/composer/harpsichordist, for his response:

“Shirley, analysis is always arbitrary, and at any rate after the creation.

“The analysis is rarely the way a piece was composed.
One could carefully strip the theme from passing and changing notes and see
what remains.

“It’s also interesting to look at what types of changing note patterns Bach
is using, depending on which note the next accent would fall.

“In this rather simple fugue you may easily find the occurrences of the theme,
but also the sentences and even the motives, the latter of which Bach made
frequent use. E.g. there’s no mirrored or inverted theme, or complicated
modulations – the occurrences of the theme are mostly in neighboring keys.

“I think, as you stated in your previous mail, the flow in accordance
with the view and feeling of the performer, is very important, if not the only one
to hang on.”

Jan’s note was a wake up call. Though I knew myself to be obsessively preoccupied with form and structure as they applied to all the masterworks, and perhaps having been knee deep in BWV 847, I was looking for the same frame of reference in BWV 952: i.e. SUBJECT, COUNTER-SUBJECT 1 and 2, Inversions of, Augmentation, Diminution, and the rest.

To be initially immersed in a NEW landscape, without a specific mapping before I had embarked upon my journey with LITTLE FUGUE in C made me feel like I was walking in the wilderness. (Ridiculous, of course, since I’d been previously primed in my exploration of BWV 847 in C minor, WTC I)

Lance Walton’s own comments harmonized with Karman’s:

“Part of what this and other analyses have taught me is that Bach’s idea of a fugue was much richer than the textbooks. But that is always the case. We see the same attempts to systematize sonata form by theorists after the composers have been developing the ideas for a hundred years. I think it’s precisely the deviations from the theoretical standard that give us an insight into the thoughts of the masters.”

Elaine Comparone, world famous harpsichordist, chimed in:

“This kind of paper analysis may be useful for a “school fugue” but JS Bach fugues’ do not always fit into that kind of analysis. Basically, you want to HEAR the play of lines.” She’d made it a point to applaud Karman and Walton’s responses.

Here’s my second day READ of the Little Fugue in C with analytical commentary.

And what I had initially scribbled in the score: (excuse the illegible entries on page 1)

bwv952 fugue p 1

Bach bwv952 p2

***

When all is said and done, analyzing a Bach Fugue to the end of the earth is insufficient to render an aesthetically beautiful performance, though, not to be underestimated, are insights about how a composition is put together. A baby-step learning journey inevitably winds its way to a spiritual awakening through a sensitive process that has many creative ingredients.

Above all, we owe it to our students to be PREPARED to teach a composition if we expect our contributions to be of educational value.

LINKS: (as apply to Fugue in C minor BWV 847)

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/revisiting-bachs-fugue-form-bwv-847-in-c-minor/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/piano-lesson-more-intensive-work-on-j-s-bach-fugue-in-c-minor-bwv-847-phrase-shaping-voice-balancing-and-formtheory-analysis/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/j-s-bach-fuguepiano-lesson-in-progress-bwv-847-in-c-minor-plus-aiden-cat-begs-for-affection-feeling-left-out-videos/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/piano-lesson-in-progress-fugue-in-c-minor-bwv-847-video/

OTHER:

http://www.harpsichord.org

JAN KARMAN

Website:
http://www.ganuenta.com

Music page:

http://www.ganuenta.com/comp.htm


Profile LinkedIn:

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=36996681&trk=tab_

chamber music, classissima, classissima.com, Dietrich Fischer-Diskau, Elaine Comparone, harpsichord, Irina Morozova, Irina Morozova pianist, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Kremer violinist, pianists as collaborator, piano, salas violist, Shirley Kirsten, shirley kirsten pianist, Sviatoslav Richter, word press, wordpress.com, you tube video, you tube.com, yout tube, youtube.com

A pianist is a COLLABORATOR NOT an “accompanist”

The “A” word is officially banished from my vocabulary, even if its residual usage in books, newspapers, old reviews, can’t be controlled.

To boot, anyone who’s been handed a stack of music by the High School vocal teacher to ready for the mid-year Christmas program and a few others in between Thanksgiving and semester break, knows that practicing sonatas, etudes, nocturnes and preludes is ON HOLD for a term of “ancillary” musical service.

NO not ancillary! according to Merriam-Webster
1: subordinate, subsidiary 2: auxiliary, supplementary

Purge this “A” word from the music-related vocabulary!

I must confide that the original verboten “A” word slipped into an e-mail I’d sent to a NY Times editor. And it ruffled the feathers of a world-class soloist and COLLABORATOR who received my prompt apology.

***

Now here’s a supreme collaborator in a Brahms Piano Quartet performance.

***

Those of us who’ve “COLLABORATED” know the practicing requirements. They upend family obligations at times, and turn our lives inside out and upside down if you factor in practicing prep, rehearsal schedules and performances.

Take the Beethoven “Spring” Sonata, for example, scored for violin and piano. It’s glaring that the interactive counterpoint between players, precludes thinking of the composition as placing the violinist in a starring role. The SOLOIST domain days are over!

And while pianists may be sitting, THEY WILL INEVITABLY also SIT-IN for proper recognition.

Same for harpsichordists, one of whom stands, gaining long-delayed attention– Elaine Comparone has championed harpsichord rights, erecting a “Brooklyn Bridge” to lift the spirits of her instrument, though she remains a superb collaborator.

***

In the chamber music venue, I played the Brandenburg Concerto 5 at the Merrywood Music Camp, and my part in the Gigue movement, was no small task. I was “conversing,” overlapping, chattering, through a quick-paced reading with an instrumental group of equals. If I failed, which I did at one point, the music crumbled like a house of cards.

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/a-breathtaking-music-camp-finale/

And this whole chatter-boxing dimension of interactive, collaborative performance, brings up the subject of Deborah Tannen’s Book, That’s Not What I Meant.

Collaborators have the challenge of saying what they mean in a musically harmonious fashion.

I remember reading about how Dietrich Fischer-Diskau, with his “strong personality” asked Sviatoslav Richter to tone it down more. And Richter having a robust persona, perhaps didn’t always agree that his contribution should be diminished.. (not literally, of course)

How many times have we heard one collaborator drown out the other, unsettling a balance between them, especially where one of the two had a riveting passage that needed fleshing out.

***

Naturally, the ART of making musical decisions is pivotal to a convincing performance and begs for good interpersonal communication skills. (consult again, Deborah Tannen, That’s Not What I Meant, You Just Don’t Understand, and I Only Say This because I Love You)

Now back to the High School or Middle School venue.

I remember hauling a stack of albums home, and grimacing at the very thought of practicing a medley of Christmas Carols. Being paid $9 per hour at the time (while holding a Master’s Degree) my classification was “associate.”

Oops, that’s my cue to EXPUNGE still another “A” word from the language! For heaven sakes, NO ASSOCIATE practices for HOURS, DAYS, WEEKS having a back-up pile of spirituals and movie themes to plow through.

And what about navigating those first, second, third and fourth endings sandwiched between dal segnos. DC al Fine–not to mention sifting through slash marks, revisions, and last-minute cuts made by the conductor.

Case in point–On the day of the BIG Holiday performance, the music director did the UNTHINKABLE!

He slashed 4/4 to 2/2 without a word of warning and sent us all hurtling into musical space at break speed tempo!! (I watched his index finger rise and fall like his twitching nose)

Luckily, we made it in one PIECE to the final cadence amidst earth-shattering applause.

Sadly, this death-defying effort, sealed my retirement as a secondary school collaborator! Kaput! Finished! I was off and running back to the serious practice room where I bathed myself in Bach, Brahms and Beethoven.

Fortunately, earlier opportunities, outside the public school venue, were heaven sent by comparison! And these are enumerated:

Mozart G minor Piano Quartet (Appel Farm Arts Camp, Elmer NJ)
Brandenburg 5–Gigue (Merrywood Music Camp–Lenox, MA)
The Beethoven “Ghost” Trio–Fresno CA
Beethoven: Trio for Clarinet, Cello & Piano in B flat major, Op. 11 (with NYC HS of Performing Arts alums–I recall cellist, Marcia Patelson Popowitz)
Schubert Fantasie in D minor.. 4 hands, one piano (with a student)
Beethoven “Ghost” trio again, 92nd Street Y (Yuval Waldman, violin) don’t remember cellist.
Diabelli duets with my cousin Gregory.. 4 hands, one piano
Bach Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor, BWV1060 (My cousin Greg played the oboe, alongside Uncle Joe on violin)
Bach Double Concerto (I played violin) so I was still collaborating.
Mozart Concerto K. 453 (collaborating in the orchestra) before stepping out as a “soloist” do I dare say!

Shall we ban the word “soloist” from the musical UNIVERSE!!! !

I think there’s movement in this direction!

And speaking of the soloist venue, here’s Morozova playing the very concerto I performed at the New York City High School of Performing Arts Winter Concert.

We can all agree that Mozart in this orchestration, IS chamber music. (Even the pooches heard in the distance were willing “collaborators”)

LINKS:

The Collaborator Blog Spot

http://collaborativepiano.blogspot.com/

Harpsichord.org
http://www.harpsichord.org