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Old 03-09-2006, 10:47 PM
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Sylvia Sylvia is offline
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Originally Posted by gonrol
This discussion can be found on several sites. It is a discussion about if it is correct to play Bach on PianoForte considering the fact that while Bach was alive, what we today know as the Piano had not been invented yet.

What is your opinion on this subject?
What words can be used to identify the difference of playing Bach with harpsichord and PianoForte?

Best Regards


I personally think that it is not correct to play Bach's pieces on the piano. The reason why people do this is because nowadays pianos are much more common to play and to find than harpsichords are.

If Bach supposedly had a piano, he certainly would have composed pieces that expressed to the sublime all of the piano characteristics. For example, he would have accented the legato, and the dolcemente, not the staccato, that is wonderful and completely achievable on the harpsichord itself.
I would not want to hear the Brandeburg concerts on a piano, they already sound magnificient on the harpsichord.

All of the Well Tempered Klavier was written specifically for harpsichord (even the name suggests it), and it would sound almost shallow on a piano. Furthermore, on the Well Tempered Klavier transcriptions for piano, there is a frequent problem of hands overlapping their selves. Obviously, this happens becuase the harpsichord has more registers.

If we want to hear some masterpieces for piano, let's not disfigure Bach's harpsichord (and organ, for that matter) compositions. Let's turn our attention to Beethoven, Liszt, Mozart or Chopin; that lived in when piano had already been invented, and that have written wonderful piano concertos, nocturnes, preludes, sonatas, rond˛s, canons... .

In respect to the composer, his compositions should be played as he wanted for it to be played. A musician should be faithful to the directions of the composer.
Some composers instead, like Tschaikowky, left very few directions to the director, leaving great space to individuality. For instance, Piotr's marvellous sixth symphony, was directed by many directors, but Karajan's one will differ greatly from Bernstein's, since Lenny took a much more personal interpretation, that was wonderful, but not very accurate in respecting the few directions Tschaikowsky left.

Following this reasoning, it is obvious that the compositions directed by the composer itself, sound the best they could ever sound. For instance, when Bernstein directed the West Side Story, or Pietro Mascagni the Cavalleria Rusticana, or Gershwin his rhapsody in blue. These modern composers have left us recordings of them directing. I wish there were digital recorders in Bach time...

I must admit that some of Bach's pieces do sound quite pleasant on the piano, but not as much as if he had written expressly for this instrument.

This is my opinion, I'd be glad to discuss it with anyone interested.

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