WTC -- Technical concepts

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WTC -- Technical concepts

Post by 12tone » Sat Jul 30, 2005 5:15 pm

Hey everyone! It's me again (formerly 10tone, if you remember) introduction is in the other forum.

Anyway, I just recently got the WTC books I and II.

WTC 1-

London -- Andras Schiff


Sony Classical -- Glenn Gould

I know some people from GMG were talking about it and how deep it is. No doubt that much if not all Bach's work is deep. But for these two books I was interested to see if anyone here knows anything at all about how these two books work technically -- what all goes on in them and why they're special. I know they also talked about at least WTC I going through every complete key (all 24). What other hidden treasures are there? What's the concept / idea behind both books.

I'm enjoying them quite.

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Post by Ralph » Sat Jul 30, 2005 8:00 pm

Congratulations on your two-tone promotion!

Thanks for joining us - hope you post often.

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Post by markhedm » Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:43 am

I have Anthony Newman's recording of Book 2. He plays on the harpsichord, clavichord, and organ. I like the variety of instruments.
For the past month, I've been playing through all the Inventions every day. A few years ago, I sightread through WTC 1 and 2.

There is great scholarly material on the WTC on the web:

Here is an entire book online on WTC 1 and 2:

all the subjects of WTC1 and 2: ... jects.html ... jects.html

lyrics for the subjects of the fugues:

Somewhere on the web, there is a demonstration of how the music of Book 2 is related to Book 1, but I can't find it now.

Mark H.

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Post by oisfetz » Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:48 am

I always thought that WTC means watercloset :? :?

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Jul 31, 2005 12:45 pm

I thought it was World Trade Center, and I was about to move the thread! :oops:
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Post by Lance » Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:36 pm

oisfetz wrote:I always thought that WTC means watercloset :? :?
I grinned with this one, Oisfetz. Actually, "WC" means watercloset! Some people I guess feel that Bach's WTC belongs in the WC. I don't believe that since it is one of staple items in the literature in developing our musicality in so many ways. If we could all play the WTC coupled with Chopin's 24 Etudes, we might all become superb pianists. But at least we can work at it!
Lance G. Hill

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]


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Post by 12tone » Mon Aug 01, 2005 7:59 am

Lance, with your post I'm going to use it as material for a new thread :)


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Post by markhedm » Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:53 am
Casals worshipped Bach as the supreme god of music, a creator of unmatched diversity and profundity, and began every day by playing several Bach preludes and fugues (from the Well-Tempered Clavier) on the piano. ... dicine.htm
The following story illustrates how the power of music assists people in transcending the constraints of the physical body into other states of

Just before his 90th birthday, Pablo Casals, well known cello virtuoso, was visited by his long-time friend, Norman Cousins, at his home in Puerto Rico. Early in the morning, Casals’ wife would assist Casals in rising from his bed and beginning the day. Casals was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis as well as emphysema. The combination of these infirmaries made it very difficult for Casals to care for himself. After dressing, Casals made his way to the piano. He shuffled across the floor with his head bent forward, and his swollen hands reached for the piano bench. Cousins recalls that he was not prepared for the miracle that came next. Casals reached up and clenched his fingers together. As he unclenched his hands and moved his fingers toward the keyboard, it was as though a bud was unfurling toward the sunlight. His back began to straighten and his breathing became more relaxed and free.
Casals began to play Bach’s "Wohltemperierte Klavier" with the same skill and proficiency for which he had become so famous with the cello. He hummed as he played, and remarked that Bach had "spoken to him". As he moved into playing a Brahms Concerto, his fingers became extremely agile as they flew across the keyboard. His whole body became fluid and moved with the music.
When he finished the piece, and rose to go to the breakfast table, Don Pablo was several inches taller than when he sat down to play. As he moved across the floor, the shuffle had disappeared and his breathing was barely audible. After a hearty breakfast, Casals and Cousins went for a long walk on the beach.

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Post by markhedm » Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:12 pm ... chiff.html
Schiff: That's natural, since I'm very influenced by Bach, and haven't played, and don't play, any other composer as frequently as Bach. I do it every day. I play other composers very frequently, too. Some also every day, some not. But I play Bach every day.
Fidelio: So, you do exactly what Pablo Casals did? He also played Bach every day.
Schiff: Yes, I've indirectly learned, or ascribe that to Casals. To be sure, you have to have an urge for it, too. A spiritual, but above all an intellectual—yes, even a physical urge. I do it instead of pianistic exercises and scales, which bore me to death.
Bach was, for Myra Hess (1890-1965), her standard bearer. Each morning she began her work by playing Preludes and Fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier. (The Preludes and Fugues have begun the day of many musicians: Casals and Stravinsky made it a life long practice to play through a group on the piano each morning.) Hess gave credit to her renowned teacher Tobias Matthay who deepened Bach's impact on her. In her biography of Hess, Marian McKenna quotes from a 1931 interview that gives us an insight into Bach's importance for her: "One should begin to study Bach at an early age. I was brought up on Bach (before I was out of smocks.) As a student I often played for three hours at a stretch, going through most of the 48 Preludes and Fugues."
The composer Robert Schumann wrote about Bach:
"Let The Well-Tempered Clavier be your daily bread. Then you will certainly become a solid musician."
(Translation from The New Bach Reader, p.501) ... for_.shtml
Feltsman is perhaps best known for his performance of J.S. Bach. From 1992 to 1996, he gave an acclaimed series of Bach recitals in New York, and he has recorded virtually all the composer's keyboard works.
"I never get tired of this music, or bored with it. This is my daily bread," he said.
"When you deal with Bach, there is unavoidably a very profound impact on you as an artist, a personality, a musician. As a human being, I would say. The effect is very positive. You're learning through Bach a lesson which you cannot learn through any other composer. But that lesson is universal in its nature, so it could be applied to any music that you play."


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