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BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

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BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

Postby Christian Liu » Thu May 19, 2016 9:26 pm

Image
Image

Just like above: There's a dashed line between the big chord of the end of Passacaglia and the first note at the beginning of Fugue, connecting "do" and "sol", who are obviously the first two notes of the Passacaglia theme. Does that mean that I must play it continuously without any pause? Can I pause for some seconds before playing Fugue?
For I'd like to use TUTTI to play the big chord, then a very quiet registration for the beginning of Fugue. (May be on St. Maximin or Zwolle sample-set). If I play them continuously, the great and sudden change of volume, the prolonged reverb tail, and the mechanical noises of many stops moving... may not be good at all...

So, If I play them "seperately",then:
1) Should the Fugue begin with "do" or "sol"?
2)Should the big chord at the end of Passacaglia contain that "do"?

Many thanks to you all!!

Best Regards
Christian Liu
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Re: BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

Postby robsig » Thu May 19, 2016 11:12 pm

I do believe the two movements are meant to dovetail. The solution is to hold the c after you release the other notes on the loud manual, then pass to the same c on the other, quieter manual, in such a way that they overlap. It's best to do it in a precise rhythmic fashion, moving as quickly as possible to the second manual to make a c quarter note as the first note of the fugue. If the manuals are coupled the transition is made smooth by the same note included in the old and new registration. On Zwolle you can play the Passacaglia on the Hauptwerk and start the fugue on the Rückpositiv, leaving the detail stops set on the other two manuals. I transition from thumb to second finger as I release the other chord notes before I change manuals, then pass to the thumb on the other manual followed by the g in the right hand. Works just fine!

What a great piece and a total thrill to play it on Zwolle with its luminous principals and shimmering 8 and 2 combinations!
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Re: BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

Postby robsig » Thu May 19, 2016 11:22 pm

You can also slow in the last few sixteenth notes of the Passacaglia, hold the last chord but still consider it to be a quarter note in relationship to the fugue theme. The important thing is the continuity, letting the theme of the fugue emerge out of the climax of the Passacaglia.
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Re: BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

Postby Christian Liu » Thu May 19, 2016 11:28 pm

robsig wrote:You can also slow in the last few sixteenth notes of the Passacaglia, hold the last chord but still consider it to be a quarter note in relationship to the fugue theme. The important thing is the continuity, letting the theme of the fugue emerge out of the climax of the Passacaglia.


Thanks very much for your professional reply and suggestions!!
"letting the theme of the fugue emerge out of the climax of the Passacaglia." I see, so this may be what Bach's original opinion too, I'll pay attention to it!

Best Regards,
Christian Liu
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Re: BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

Postby Arp » Fri May 20, 2016 5:35 am

Helmut Walcha makes a two-second pause, as if they were two distinct elements.
I think that both interpretations are correct
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Re: BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

Postby robsig » Fri May 20, 2016 7:02 am

Arp, you are right, the performer makes the final decision on what he/she chooses to do. There is not one approach, and anything Helmut Walcha does is fine with me. I adore his playing.

Interestingly I looked up the score on IMSLP and found Bach's very carefully written autograph score. Here is the link. http://imslp.nl/imglnks/usimg/1/19/IMSL ... WV_582.pdf page 6.
Bach's final chord in the Passacaglia clearly does not include the middle c which is the first note of the theme! Bach has indicated a 5 part chord (4 manual plus pedal). There are two c's in the chord, the pedal note and the lowest manual note one octave higher. Of course with plenum registration we would hear the c at many pitches simultaneously.

I had formed my opinion from the edition I was using, which was a Kalmus reprint of the Bach-Gesellschaft edition of 1867. Most modern editions derive from this edition, where the chord in question is now expanded to 8 parts including the middle c of the theme.

Perhaps there are other Bach autographs indicating a different treatment? Here there is no double bar between the sections and no fermata, and no line joining the chord of the Passacaglia to the fugue.

Fascinating!
With Hauptwerk, IMSLP and Contrebombarde/YouTube we are so lucky!
It's a great time to be alive!
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Re: BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

Postby adrianw » Fri May 20, 2016 9:38 am

Interestingly I looked up the score on IMSLP and found Bach's very carefully written autograph score.


You really didn't. Bach's autograph manuscript is now lost. The MS on IMSLP is from C A Hartung [1723–1800] and not reliable. The earliest MS we have is the copy by JSB's brother Johann Christoph about 1713 (normally known as the Andreas Bach book) but this seems to be an early version.

Mendelssohn may conceivably have seen Bach's autograph MS of a late version, and his corrected version in the Bodleian is essentially identical to Griepenkerl's, so this is normally regarded as today's principal source.

All reliable sources seem to show the double fugue proceeding from the passacaglia without a break.

- Adrian.
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Re: BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

Postby ajongbloed » Fri May 20, 2016 1:49 pm

adrianw wrote:Mendelssohn may conceivably have seen Bach's autograph MS of a late version


How does one "conceive" that? On what basis does one think Mendelsohn may have seen Bach's autograph of the Passacaglia?
It's an intruiging notion. Where or when did it get lost?
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Re: BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

Postby adrianw » Fri May 20, 2016 4:03 pm

On what basis does one think Mendelsohn may have seen Bach's autograph of the Passacaglia?


It is certainly speculative. However, one clue may be that Mendelssohn wrote his own Passacaglia in 1823 which is believed to be based on a manuscript source. He presumably had it in his possession for quite a time to be able to study and copy it. We do not know which MS this was, although Georg Polchau, August Grasnick and Eduard Grell all are known or believed to have had MS copies and were all friends or acquaintances of the (very well-connected) Mendelssohn family.

Another clue (mentioned by Zehnder in his introduction to the recent Breitkopf edition) is that Griepenkerl wrote that his Peters edition is based on an MS coped by Gleichauf of Frankfurt from an autograph owned by Carl Wilhelm Ferdinand Guhr [1787-1848], Kapellmeister in Frankfurt. Mendelssohn wrote in 1839 that Guhr presented him with two Bach autograph manuscripts, the Orgelbuchlein and the Passacaglia and asked him to choose one of them as a gift. Unfortunately Mendelssohn choose the Orgelbuchlein, which is not now believed to actually be an autograph MS.

Where or when did it get lost?


We don't know. There must have been one! However, it is easy now to forget that prior to the 19th century revival (for which, of course, Mendelssohn himself can take much credit), Bach was not particularly highly regarded and so his manuscripts were not quite the treasures they later became. Also, the octave transposition differences between surviving MSS have led some to suggest that the autograph may have been written in tablature notation, which would have made it much less likely to have been recognised.

- Adrian.
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Re: BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

Postby johnstump_organist » Fri May 20, 2016 7:39 pm

adrianw wrote:
Bach was not particularly highly regarded and so his manuscripts were not quite the treasures they later became.
- Adrian.

I don't think that is entirely true, he had his critics, but he was generally recognized as a true genius, especially at organ performance and composition, and was referred to as a true virtuoso many times in his own life time. If you read the relatively new Wolf biography, you get the impression that he was well respected and quite famous for his time.
I think the greater problem is that until the 19th Century, the idea of preserving music for the future was quite foreign to most people. Most composers wrote music to be performed in whatever position they held and after they died, the new guy took over writing music to be performed and did not use the old guy's music. People did not play music by the "old masters" (they sometimes had copies to study and learn from) until the 19th Century. The Mendelssohn Bach revival is one of the first examples of that. That is a complaint of modern composers, everybody is so busy playing or wanting to hear the "classics" that no one has room to perform new music.
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Re: BWV582, Can I divide it into two?

Postby adrianw » Sat May 21, 2016 4:48 am

I don't think that is entirely true, he had his critics, but he was generally recognized as a true genius, especially at organ performance and composition, and was referred to as a true virtuoso many times in his own life time. If you read the relatively new Wolf biography, you get the impression that he was well respected and quite famous for his time.



A virtuoso keyboard performer, certainly. A composer of pedagogic keyboard works, yes. But less celebrated than, say, Telemann by the time of his death and deeply unfashionable in the half century following. As Wolf makes clear, his music library was not considered to have any monetary value at the time of his death and (unlike his instruments which were valued and listed for probate) did not form part of his legal estate, being informally passed on to family members. And those family members that tried to sell them they were mostly disappointed. So artistic treasures, yes, but not worldly treasures.

- Adrian.
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