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Bach Weimar Prelude In C 545


abennett
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Hi,

 

I tried this in a different thread, but didn't get a reply so I'll try a new one!

 

I'm currently learning the Prelude and Fugue in C 545. I've heard people say that it is easy like a Grade 5 piece and others say it is hardish i.e Grade 8/ DipABRSM.

 

Whats the verdict?

 

I certainly feel that the Prelude is harder, which I have now mastered so am looking forward to the fugue!

 

Thanks

 

Andy

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abennett said:
Hi,

 

I tried this in a different thread, but didn't get a reply so I'll try a new one!

 

I'm currently learning the Prelude and Fugue in C 545. I've heard people say that it is easy like a Grade 5 piece and others say it is hardish i.e Grade 8/ DipABRSM.

 

Whats the verdict?

 

I certainly feel that the Prelude is harder, which I have now mastered so am looking forward to the fugue!

 

Thanks

 

Andy

 

 

 

 

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Hi,

 

I tried this in a different thread, but didn't get a reply so I'll try a new one!

 

I'm currently learning the Prelude and Fugue in C 545. I've heard people say that it is easy like a Grade 5 piece and others say it is hardish i.e Grade 8/ DipABRSM.

 

Whats the verdict?

 

I certainly feel that the Prelude is harder, which I have now mastered so am looking forward to the fugue!

 

Thanks

 

Andy

 

It's a very fine work, well worth anyone's effort.

it is virile, succinct and easy to register, being essentially Organo Pleno throughout.

 

If you like the piece, don't let anything put you off, there are no terrible secret surprises.

I think it is rather easier than some of the longer Preludes, Toccatas and Fugues, but it is no less a quality. Excellent choice if you're building a repertoire or a strong programme!

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For anyone wondering, it's this piece: https://ks4.imslp.net/files/imglnks/usimg/8/83/IMSLP01330-BWV0545.pdf

 

I think I would put the fugue at around grade 6 standard, but the prelude is harder - grade 7 or even grade 8. However a lot depends on how you play it and how secure your pedal aim is in the first three and last three bars. Played at mach Hurford the prelude is decidedly tricky, but I have a recording of Robert Clark doing it at Naumburg, on which he takes the prelude at a very sedate pace and it sounds tremendous! Played majestically it is obviously going to be that much easier.

Both interpretations work very well on their own terms, though I wouldn't put much faith in examiners appreciating the Clark approach. Less Clark, more Clarkson, perhaps... :P

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Guest Barry Williams

The link to the score is helpful and interesting. I have never seen the mordents in the pedal line before. This must give some indication that a breakneck speed is not, perhaps, intended.

 

It is a fine piece and unjustly neglected.

 

Barry Williams

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The link to the score is helpful and interesting. I have never seen the mordents in the pedal line before.

I may be wrong, but I believe the file linked above is reproduced from the old (nineteenth century) Bach-Gesellschaft. The pedal ornaments also appear in the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, so can be assumed to have withstood critical scrutiny.

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  • 12 years later...

(Forgive me for resurrecting an extremely old thread, but as it’s about the same piece I thought I would append my questions here.)
 

What are your opinions on the tempo relationship between the prelude and fugue? Regardless of how fast you play it, I feel that crotchet in the prelude should approximately equal minim in the fugue. Does this seems sensible or does anyone have any other suggestions?

Also, does anyone actually play the pedal ornaments in bars 24-31 of the prelude? They are not in the new Breitkopf & Härtel edition as they are not found in manuscript (Vogler) used as principal source for that edition.

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18 hours ago, David Surtees said:

Also, does anyone actually play the pedal ornaments in bars 24-31 of the prelude? They are not in the new Breitkopf & Härtel edition as they are not found in manuscript (Vogler) used as principal source for that edition.

I may be wrong but I understood that some sources that were available to the Bach Gesellschaft and Edition Peters were destroyed or lost during WW2 meaning that more modern urtext editions don’t have access to them. This might explain the discrepancy.

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1 hour ago, innate said:

I may be wrong but I understood that some sources that were available to the Bach Gesellschaft and Edition Peters were destroyed or lost during WW2 meaning that more modern urtext editions don’t have access to them. This might explain the discrepancy.

The Breitkopf edition mentions only one lost source: a copy described by Rust in 1867 as a fair autograph then in the possession of "Herr Consul Clauss zu Leipzig", though whether it really was an autograph is open to question. An English version of the commentary to the Breitkopf volume, with an assessment of the sources, is available here:
https://www.breitkopf.com/bach-edirom/apps/breitkopf-bach-band-1/EB_8801.pdf

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44 minutes ago, Vox Humana said:

The Breitkopf edition mentions only one lost source: a copy described by Rust in 1867 as a fair autograph then in the possession of "Herr Consul Clauss zu Leipzig", though whether it really was an autograph is open to question. An English version of the commentary to the Breitkopf volume, with an assessment of the sources, is available here:
https://www.breitkopf.com/bach-edirom/apps/breitkopf-bach-band-1/EB_8801.pdf

I don’t have access to the NBA Kritischer Bericht, but the NBA does seem to follow Clauss, as far as I can tell, though there are other extant manuscripts that also contain similar readings.

It would be nice if the KB were available online somewhere. I used to have a reference card to a university library which had a set, but since Covid, access is restricted to their students only – and my uni library only has the music volumes of the NBA. 

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On 06/12/2020 at 17:31, David Surtees said:

What are your opinions on the tempo relationship between the prelude and fugue? Regardless of how fast you play it, I feel that crotchet in the prelude should approximately equal minim in the fugue. Does this seems sensible or does anyone have any other suggestions?

Since there are three-movement versions of this work (i.e. BWV 529ii placed before the Fugue), and Preludes are not usually 'umbilically' attached to their Fugues in some sources, I regard them (rightly or wrongly) as discrete entities and don't attempt a tempo relationship between the two.

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1 hour ago, wolsey said:

Since there are three-movement versions of this work (i.e. BWV 529ii placed before the Fugue), and Preludes are not usually 'umbilically' attached to their Fugues in some sources, I regard them (rightly or wrongly) as discrete entities and don't attempt a tempo relationship between the two.

You make a very good point. At the moment I am just playing the P&F as is customary, but I have considered learning the trio movement as well, as I quite like it when it is played with the other two movements. The argument that Bach would have removed the trio from BWV 545 when he added it to the C major sonata, seems to me to be unlikely, as if one movement could not live in two different places at the same time, so to speak.

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On 07/12/2020 at 19:22, David Surtees said:

[...]The argument that Bach would have removed the trio from BWV 545 when he added it to the C major sonata, seems to me to be unlikely, as if one movement could not live in two different places at the same time, so to speak.

Peter Williams' 1980 commentary should be your first point of reference. There are no autographs of the two- and three-movement versions, only copies, and some of them of course are variants. This particular work has a complex history which Williams explains, but it's important to note that it's Vogler, not Bach, who interpolates the trio movement; Walther places it after the fugue.

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I happened to be consulting Williams about B.W.V. 531 and he notes that a manuscript of that work owned by W.H. Pachelbel c.1740 has “Segue l’Fuga un piu Largo”, which implies that there is not an exact relationship between the tempo of prelude and fugue.

Of course, this is a different piece and the instruction does not (necessarily) originate with the composer or reflect his practice, but it comes from the right milieu (all those connexions between the Pachelbel and Bach families) and from within J.S. Bach’s lifetime.

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The principle of exact proportional relationships was a medieval one and died out well before Bach. It had begun to crumble at least by the end of the Renaissance and probably before, given the differing views that were current concerning some of the signs.  One can still indulge in exact tempo relationships if one wants to, of course, if they are musically effective.  It seems unlikely that Bach intended the fugue of BWV 582 to be performed at a different speed to the Passacaglia, given that he conceived the work as a single movement.

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On 10/12/2020 at 10:11, Dafydd y Garreg Wen said:

I happened to be consulting Williams about B.W.V. 531 and he notes that a manuscript of that work owned by W.H. Pachelbel c.1740 has “Segue l’Fuga un piu Largo”, which implies that there is not an exact relationship between the tempo of prelude and fugue.

Of course, this is a different piece and the instruction does not (necessarily) originate with the composer or reflect his practice, but it comes from the right milieu (all those connexions between the Pachelbel and Bach families) and from within J.S. Bach’s lifetime.

That is a very interesting observation. I haven’t had cause to look up BWV 531 in Williams, so hadn’t noticed that. On it’s own it means very little, apart from proof that some organists in Bach’s time didn’t observe strict tempo relationships. It would be interesting to know how common such markings were. Often one is tempted to ignore non-autograph tempo indications, but they can contain valuable information. 

 

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9 hours ago, petergunstone said:

The Prelude was an ABRSM Grade 5 piece in 1993. I know because I played it in that exam!

That’s interesting to hear. In many ways it’s not that technically challenging, so I can see why it might be set for Grade V. However it requires a very good spatial awareness of the pedalboard, something that I definitely  didn’t have when I sat my grade V. (My list A piece was “Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag” from the Orgelbüchlein.)

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