FORUM

Welcome to our forum. A Message To Our New and Prospective Members . Check out our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Editing Bach
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
October 16, 2019 - 9:00 pm
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 779
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
I'm discovering some interesting things about editing Bach.
Maybe someone who knows more about musicology can point me in the right direction?
I'll probably plaster this across multiple forums, so, I apologise if you read it more than once.
I was listening to Rostropovitch and Tortelier playing the BWV 1007 prelude, and I preferred Tortelier. Rostropovitch seemed to go more for détaché with a scrapiness to it, and I felt that it should be more legato. So I found three editions online.
 
Baerenreiter according to amazon
https://images-na.ssl-images-a.....kLqanL.jpg
 
Samwise (never heard of them). Here perhaps the prelude is poor evidence, as some of the rest is perhaps over-edited. (you'll need to look inside at the preview)
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-.....038;sr=8-7
 
And Anna Magdalena Bach's transcription from IMSLP.
http://ks4.imslp.net/files/img....._P_269.pdf
 
And it all seems to be about interpreting her obviously abbreviated slurs - literal/slightly abbreviated (as in the Baerenreiter) or very abbreviated (as in the Samwise).
Baerenreiter have a huge reputation, but I'd go for Samwise initially, cross-referencing with IMSLP. And I'd be very interested to chase up all the other original MSS to see where other things may be more abbreviated than people realise (there's the famous bourée for example from Suzuki 3, which has some disputed bowings, if we can judge from the online pdf that's floating around)

Andrew

Avatar
Pete_Violin
Utah
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
October 16, 2019 - 10:02 pm
Member Since: March 25, 2018
Forum Posts: 456
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@Gordon Shumway 

I am not exactly sure what you are meaning by "editing Bach".  Are you looking for music interpretations or analyzing them?  Are you seeking the most literal forms of the music? 

It is useful to me to know some of the history and setting for the piece and the composer to really understand the interpretation. 

Bach, as you know, composed in the baroque era which predates classical form, or even the romantic era (16th and 17th centuries).  During that time, many forms, expressions and renovation/invention of instruments were taking place.  For example, the harpsichord was being replaced by piano; a significant transformation of instrumentation and, also, which allowed an expansion of many musical expressions because of how much more the instrument brings to the orchestra.  Even the violin and viola were becoming much more popular and used extensively in that era.  Only 100 years old now, the design of the violin, which remained the standard to present day, changed how expressive music was becoming. 

So Bach was a leader in expressive music at the time, experimenting and composing for new forms, like the cantata, the sonata, and the concerto.  Forms that brought in a new era of music... Baroque.

I personally love to hear performers who look for the composer's original intent and expression.  I am not as much a fan of music that strays too far from this (Joshua Bell, Lindsey Sterling).  I guess I am what you might call a traditionalist. 

I don't know if my thoughts on your post are even closely related to where you are going or not.

- Pete -

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
October 16, 2019 - 10:29 pm
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 559
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

Pete_Violin said
@Gordon Shumway 

I am not exactly sure what you are meaning by "editing Bach".  Are you looking for music interpretations or analyzing them?  Are you seeking the most literal forms of the music? 

It is useful to me to know some of the history and setting for the piece and the composer to really understand the interpretation. 

Bach, as you know, composed in the baroque era which predates classical form, or even the romantic era (16th and 17th centuries).  During that time, many forms, expressions and renovation/invention of instruments were taking place.  For example, the harpsichord was being replaced by piano; a significant transformation of instrumentation and, also, which allowed an expansion of many musical expressions because of how much more the instrument brings to the orchestra.  Even the violin and viola were becoming much more popular and used extensively in that era.  Only 100 years old now, the design of the violin, which remained the standard to present day, changed how expressive music was becoming. 

So Bach was a leader in expressive music at the time, experimenting and composing for new forms, like the cantata, the sonata, and the concerto.  Forms that brought in a new era of music... Baroque.

I personally love to hear performers who look for the composer's original intent and expression.  I am not as much a fan of music that strays too far from this (Joshua Bell, Lindsey Sterling).  I guess I am what you might call a traditionalist. 

I don't know if my thoughts on your post are even closely related to where you are going or not.

  

It often takes a lot of work to determine what the original intention is, especially with old handwritten manuscripts. This is especially true of Bach bowings, because Bach clearly wrote slurs into his manuscripts but it isn't always clear where they begin and end.

In the case of the cello suites, it is even more difficult, because there is no manuscript in J.S. Bach's hand. There are at least three contemporary copies, whose bowings are inconsistent. All appear to contain errors. In some places, even the notes differ.

My general preference is for Urtext editions, because they typically use either footnotes or gray print to distinguish original markings from editor's markings. The editor's markings are often best guess at the composer's intent based on scholarship. But in the case of the cello suites, there is no Urtext edition because there is no original manuscript to work from.

Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
October 17, 2019 - 3:32 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 779
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Pete_Violin said

Bach, as you know, composed in the baroque era which predates classical form, or even the romantic era (16th and 17th centuries).  

Bach's dates were 1685-1750. He probably died of diabetes, which was also probably what made him go blind (as a kid I was told he went blind by working so hard by candlelight!)

AndrewH said

In the case of the cello suites, it is even more difficult, 

I didn't realise the cello suites were a special case.

Andrew

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
October 17, 2019 - 5:49 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 559
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

Yep. They're one of the unfortunate cases where the original manuscript has been lost. The most recent critical editions (including Baerenreiter's two most recent editions published in 2000 and 2017) examine five different sources: the three copies made during Bach's lifetime and two more that date from shortly after his death. There are numerous passages where literally all five sources differ from one another.

The 1950 Baerenreiter edition you've found is the August Wenzinger edition, based almost entirely on the Anna Magdalena Bach copy.

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
October 17, 2019 - 5:53 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 559
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

If you are going for authenticity, please ignore all Suzuki editions. Suzuki liberally edited the bowings and articulations in many pieces for pedagogical rather than musical reasons.

In addition, because of the era in which he developed his method, he used as a starting point early 20th century editions whose editors had often already taken great liberties to begin with.

I would go so far as to say a Suzuki edition should never be used for performance outside of student recitals.

Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
October 17, 2019 - 6:23 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 779
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I didn't mean to imply that I placed any weight at all on Suzuki, it's just that I had noticed that every pdf of volume 3 online was from the same paper copy which had had all its bowings altered from the ones Suzuki recommended.

Andrew

Avatar
Pete_Violin
Utah
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
October 17, 2019 - 6:44 am
Member Since: March 25, 2018
Forum Posts: 456
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Suzuki is no different than all other student methods regarding the excerpts of compositions.  The goal is to present theory or technique.  The extent to which the original work is modified, simplified and dissected depends on the level of playing taught.

To date, I have yet to play any of the great composers' original pieces, although I have supposedly played Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Vivaldi, Debussy, Pachelbel, Wohlfahrt and others. (Nothing by Mendelssohn, much to my dismay LOL!).

I do not claim to actually have played anything from these great composers.

- Pete -

Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
October 17, 2019 - 6:55 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 779
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

AndrewH said
The 1950 Baerenreiter edition you've found is the August Wenzinger edition, based almost entirely on the Anna Magdalena Bach copy. 

The point I wanted to make, though, was that Anna Magdalena's copy is possibly not wrong, but has just been misread.

And I did look at the IMSLP Bourrée a while back to try to find something better than Suzuki, and I remember that the slurs were just as cursory. I'll be able to look at them again with fresh eyes, I hope.

Andrew

Avatar
cid
October 17, 2019 - 7:17 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 1410
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I recently did the Bach Suite I, BWV Minuet I for my lesson. Not very well, but I really liked it. We used, Bach Six Suites for Violincello solo, BWV 1007-1012, Bärenreiter, edited by August Wenzinger, copyright 1950 by Bärenreiter-Verlag Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co. KG, Kassel, 30th Printing 2017. It is a lovely produced book.

It stays with the manuscript as much as possible. The slurs and bowing marks that agree are marked as regular slur lines. Any slurs that are added because they believe they were there, or are added for “taste” are dotted slurs.

According to the preface, the editor knows his editing is one of many possibilities. Because there is no complete written copy from Bach. It was done to get the cellist’s interest in pursuing Bach’s suites. What can be better than that?

I don’t think there is a right or wrong. There is no complete copy of how Bach did it.

It is also, baroque. They did not use the same bow we use. My instructor showed me how a baroque bow is held with his bow, as much as he could. I doubt that even if you had Bach’s actual copy that you could duplicate it with the cellos and bows of today, unless you had the instrument and bow from that time, and even then, you could not duplicate it without sounding somewhat mechanical because the feeling that Bach had when writing it was INSIDE Bach. It is only an opinion, I have no music education and am going by what I have been told, read, and believe “art” is - to me it is interpretation to get your and others’ juices flowing. A way for the originator to express his or herself, knowing others may take it further because you got their juices flowing. I don’t think there is a right or wrong in art. I think that art, in any form, is the one “activity” done by humans that should be stress free.

I don’t know exactly what Gordon was asking in his original post, but I think it was was about playing the suites as written by Bach. I think that even if you had the exact written copy by Bach, you would not be able to duplicate it. Your bowing may duplicate the slurs, up strokes and down strokes, etc as Bach did them, but you are not Bach. There are nuances to his bowing, and your bowing that will make it different. I think that if a cellist tries to “duplicate” another, it comes out as forced. I have Yo Yo Ma playing all the suites on CD. He is a great cellist, is it an exact duplicate of Bach? No, can’t be. But, why is it great? Because Yo Yo Ma is playing them the way he can. I also have them being done by violist, Lillian Fuchs. It is very interesting.

I think when there is a different editing done, it is because it is what that person is feeling, (s)he feels the slur at that moment, based on how Bach is making her or him feel. Is that wrong? No. Art is emotion and that emotion(s) is what Bach brought to that editor or performer. Art, in any form, reaches out to people. It reaches out and affects that person. That affect differs for each person enjoying, or not enjoying that art. That creates the interpretation.

I see no problem with editing a piece of Bach to make it easier for a student, or someone who has peeked, to be able to play and enjoy his work. I doubt Bach or any composer would object to their pieces being edited so others who are not as advanced to be able to play it as written, can enjoy it and play it.

Since there is no full written copy by Bach, nobody can really say what was right or wrong. Any edited copy that is said to be Bach’s version is, at best, that editor’s interpretation. Even if there was a written copy, how many pieces, not only Bach, have been edited to meet someone else’s taste?

I am not sure if any of this is what Gordon was asking, exactly, but this is what I thought, as a non-music educated person, when reading the original post. It was funny it came up shortly after we finished the Bach Minuet I from the the Suite BWV 1007.

I would say not to be concerned about whether it is exactly as Bach intended. Nobody knows exactly what Bach intended, 100%.

I don’t want to change the direction of Gordon’s original post, so, @Gordon Shumway, feel free to reply with a direction change. You just got me to thinking.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

Forum Timezone: America/New_York
Most Users Ever Online: 424
Currently Online: AndrewH
171
Guest(s)
Currently Browsing this Page:
2 Guest(s)
Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today Christine (moonlitday)
Upcoming kevoxyde, Freq, Ginnysg, lakelivr, happyjet, 8r4d
Top Posters:
Mad_Wed: 2849
Barry: 2675
Fiddlestix: 2647
Oliver: 2439
DanielB: 2379
Kevin M.: 1971
damfino: 1944
cdennyb: 1814
TerryT: 1726
Ferret: 1575
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 3
Members: 27033
Moderators: 0
Admins: 7
Forum Stats:
Groups: 16
Forums: 55
Topics: 8136
Posts: 101235
Newest Members:
BowNoob, Louizey777, Bill-testing, McG, james5848, alberd
Administrators: Fiddlerman: 14766, KindaScratchy: 1737, coolpinkone: 4174, BillyG: 3062, MrsFiddlerman: 1, Jimmie Bjorling: 0, cid: 1410