Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Keeping my hand in, part 2.

My wife's project for my musical development is continuing: I play, she listens and sometimes comments. Joan is a terrific piano teacher and I greatly value her encouragement.

We have now worked through:
Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas
Mozart's 18 piano sonatas
Tchaikovsky's Seasons [all 12 of them ...]
Mussorgsky's Pictures from an Exhibition
Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias
Bach's English and French Suites
Chopin's Waltzes.

And I am now playing through Haydn's Sonatas and Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier volume 1. The early Haydn Sonatas are not as well-known and are much easier than Mozart and Beethoven's: more like their sonatinas, but maybe easier still for the first few in volume 1 of the Henle edition. Bach's WTC vol 1 is still a challenge, though I have played through them before.

This is a sight-reading exercise, by the way: not at all polished performing!

Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier

Tim Smith has done a ton of work in creating this superb site, which features oodles of information on this wonderful body of Bach keyboard music. One of the best features is Tim's Macromedia Flash movies which scroll through Bach's WTC fugues in real-time to David Korevaar's sensitive perormances, while presenting a real-time analysis. It has to be seen and heard to be appreciated. [You will need a fast-speed broadband setup to be able to make use of the Macromedia movies.]

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

from newsgroup alt:quotations

Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.
W B Yeats (1865-1939)

I like it.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A little nonsense now and then

Playing Bach fugues is hard work. Anything to introduce a bit of humour into the situation should be welcome, I reckon. This web page gives Ebenezer Prout's lyrics for all of the Bach fugue subjects, including words for the countersubjects.

I have created a pdf file of the fugues from the first book of the Well Tempered Clavier, which shows how the words fit with the music of the subjects. I hope you enjoy it.

The lyrics Prout wrote are light-hearted but do serve a serious purpose, because they show exactly where the subjects begin and end, and were written as amusing musical memory aids.