By Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene (get free updates of new posts here)
The other day I was practicing Bach's Eb major prelude and fugue, BWV 552 preparing for our upcoming joint recital with Vidas and I thought not every episode gives me the same level of difficulty.
Strangely enough, I find the Prelude to be more demanding than the Fugue in general.
The episode A (the French Overture style Ritornellos) of the Prelude with its absolutely beautiful polyphony require quite a bit of a command of articulation.
On the contrary, the episode B (the echos) is much easier to play because of multiple repetitions and rather homophonic texture.
Vidas told me that the culminations of the fugato (section C) gives him the most trouble out of the Prelude. To me it's not so much. Maybe it's because we have different strengths when talking about the technique.
In the 1st of this triple fugue written in Style antico I struggle more only with the ending. The rest of it only has some serious work for ears.
Vidas said that for him the 2nd fugue (manualiter Courante) usually is very demanding technically. I'll have to check my previous recording about the tempo. Usually organists play it too fast.
Playing the 3rd fugue (the Gigue) gives me real joy. Yes, it's demanding physically and polyphonically but the pleasure surpasses the pain. Incidentally, if you add more ornamentation in the last few lines, then the climax feels stronger.
Here's how I practice BWV 552 at this stage - in a moderately slow tempo I play the easy episodes only once and repeatedly work on more difficult sections.
What are your impressions of this magnificent piece (listening and/or practicing)?
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