Chopin – Complete Nocturnes (Brigitte Engerer)
Born in Tunis, French Tunisia, Engerer started piano lessons at the age of four, and by the age of six was performing in public. When she was 11 her family moved to France and she entered the Paris Conservatoire to study under Lucette Descaves. In 1968, aged 15, she was unanimously awarded a first prize in piano, and the following year she won the Concours International Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud. Engerer was subsequently invited to undertake further training at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory where she joined the class of Stanislav Neuhaus, who said she was “one of the most brilliant and most original pianists of her generation”; though her scholarship was originally for one year, she loved Russia so much that she studied there for nine years.
In 1980, her career took a decisive turn when Herbert von Karajan invited her to play with the Berlin Philharmonic. She subsequently received engagements with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris under Daniel Barenboim, and she was a favourite of conductors such as Mstislav Rostropovich and Zubin Mehta. Her subsequent career was divided between giving recitals and teaching at the Paris Conservatoire. Her last recital (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, 12 June 2012), featured the work of Schumann.
She was married to the writer Yann Queffélec, with whom she had a daughter, Leonore. She later married Xavier Fourteau, and together they had a son, Harold Fourteau. She died of cancer in Paris in 2012.
Sarah Chang (Korean: 장영주; born Young Joo Chang; December 10, 1980) is an American classical violinist. Recognized as a child prodigy, she first played as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1989. She enrolled at Juilliard School to study music, graduated in 1999, and continued university studies. Especially during the 1990s and 2000s, Chang had major roles as a soloist with many of the world’s major orchestras.
In the documentary The Secrets of the Violin, we see the seedy underbelly of the market for the world’s most treasured violins laid bare. We visit a no man’s land of wheeling and dealing, lying and betrayal, where money is always king, and rare instruments by Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 1737) and Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesu” (1698 – 1744) sell for up to 20 million euros a piece. Watch part three of the documentary: The Stradivarius Effect.
For centuries, violins, violas and cellos have been highly sought-after commodities, valued as sophisticated musical instruments, cultural status symbols and moneymaking opportunities. Their admirers have included a colorful cast of characters: millionaires, Russian oligarchs, violin virtuosos, serious art dealers and crooks. In part one of the documentary, Daniel Hope takes a look at Dietmar Machold, one the most important dealers of Stradivarius, arrested for embezzlement and fraud in 2011. Daniel Hope investigates this thrilling true story, interviewing Machold in prison, who tells his side of things.
Star violinist Daniel Hope knows the elite violin market like no one else. He grew up around the precious violins in Yehudi Menuhin’s house, and plays now the Guarneri violin “Ex-Lipinski”, a maker whose instruments have surpass those of his teacher Stradivari to become the most expensive and coveted today. Together with Daniel Hope, we discover the world of the super-rich collectors and superstar violinists, learning about the secrets history of string-instruments.
Beethoven Violin Concerto – Hilary Hahn
1. Allegro ma non troppo – The first movement is cast in standard sonata form, but with plenty of inventive touches, beginning at the very outset – a novel opening of five bare soft timpani strokes that is far more than a mere introductory gesture – Stowell shows that in various guises it appears in over half of the 535 measures that follow and serves to unify the entire movement, both rhythmically and as a melodic fragment. David Johnson calls it “five blocks of granite” and “a foundation from which the whole structure arises.” Hopkins, for one, claims that this was the first use of timpani freed from their traditional role of underlining rhythm, but that really isn’t so – a 1780s Symphony for Eight Timpani and Orchestra by Johann Carl Christian Fischer and a 1790s Concerto for Six Timpani and Orchestra by Georg Druschetzky both featured sets of drums tuned to a C-major scale that were used melodically and even in lengthy cadenzas, although their inability to retune foreclosed accidentals and thus limited harmonic modulation to A-minor. (A fascinating concert video of the Druschetzky concerto with soloist Naomi Endres and the Anchorage Civic Orchestra is on YouTube.) Even so, the opening certainly remains notable both for providing a pervasive rhythm and for setting the serious but sensitive tone of all that follows. It also provides an early clue that Beethoven was not beholden to convention – although the timpani are tuned predictably to the tonic (D) and dominant (A), the strings disrupt the harmonic stability by echoing the timpani phrase on a bare and seemingly dissonant D-sharp. After an extensive orchestral section that introduces four exceptional themes rich for development, the violin enters with a bold flourish that displays its full range and then proceeds to address and embellish each of the orchestral themes. Johnson notes that all the themes seem to soar above the timpani base and that the violin, lodged in the stratosphere, comments upon them from on high, caresses them and decorates them with fantastic garlands of ornamentation. Anne-Louise Coldicott adds that much of the solo part has such a relaxed feeling that it sounds like an improvisation.
2. Larghetto – Hopkins describes the second movement as sounding like an extemporaneous creation and so utterly serene that it seems to make time itself stand still, but in fact it is a complex set of variations on a lengthy (16 bar) theme notable for its silences that are destined to be filled in by the soloist. Maynard Solomon describes the ensuing development as a lyrical exchange between agreeable conversationalists. The sense of tranquil stability is enhanced by the strings playing with mutes and a persistent lack of modulation, remaining in G major until the very end, when sharp orchestral chords rouse the dominant to lead without pause right into the rollicking finale. The notion of physically joining two or more movements was innovative. Beethoven himself would do so again in his 1808 “Pastoral” Symphony, his 1810 “Archduke” Trio and his late quartets, and paved the way for Berlioz and others to extend the practice to direct (rather than mere thematic) connections among movements.
3. Rondo: Allegro – Although the structure of the finale is a symmetrical A-B-A-C-A-B-A-Coda, commentators note that it departs from strict rondo form by incorporating the harmonic structure of a sonata movement, and enhances unity both by repeating the first “B” episode in lieu of a new independent one and by crafting the “C” episode as a variant of “B.” Lewis Lockwood considers this the finest of Beethoven’s rondos in 6/8 time as the energy of the opening and recurring “A” theme contrasts nicely with the soloist’s episodes, and especially the middle “C” section that provides a striking change of mood in g-minor without altering the pace. Caldicott notes that the coda is unusually lengthy but sustains our interest by not resolving the dominant key of A directly back into the tonic, as would be expected, but rather by launching into the remote key of A-flat, which then entails a long and complex series of modululations to reach the home key. The conclusion is sublime, as the violin’s final solo is marked pianissimo to highlight the sting of the two final swift fortissimo orchestral chords (although as Hopkins notes, in practice the effect often is undercut, as few soloists can resist a final opportunity to impress their audience with an emphatic flourish of their own).
I. Bach’s Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 826
Historical Background Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is regarded as perhaps the greatest composer of all time. He was better known during his lifetime as an organist, rather than as a composer as we now think of him. His contributions to the world of music are so numerous that it is hard to find one single attribute to highlight. Bach can be credited for the development of polyphony in the masterful and vigorous compositions in almost every musical form extant in the Baroque period. However, had it not been for the recognition and revival of this genius composer’s output by Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann in the nineteenth century, the significance of Bach’s contributions to music might have been diminished or perhaps lost forever. Bach’s keyboard suites have occupied a significant position in keyboard literature for almost three centuries.1 The Partitas have remained prominent in the mainstream of keyboard performance. It is widely noted that the six Partitas constitute Bach’s first published work. They were written at the rate of one partita per year, starting in 1726. In 1731, the partitas were gathered together for a publication that formed the first part of the Clavier-Übung. The words In 1Eric Michael Hicks, “A Historical Perspective on Unity in the Keyboard Partitas of Johann Sebastian Bach” (DMA diss., University of Texas at Austin, 1993), vi. 3 Verlegung des Autoris (published by the author) and the designation “Opus 1” appear on the title page.2 The title Clavier-Übung is believed to have been inspired by the works of Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722), Bach’s immediate predecessor at Thomaskirche in Leipzig. Also, the term partita was borrowed: Kuhnau and others used it to identify a succession of dance movements. In 1689 and 1692, Kuhnau produced compilations of suites collectively entitled Clavier-Übung and the called each individual suite a partita.3 Bach’s use of these terminologies may be seen as a gesture of his respect toward his older colleague. Bach’s keyboard suites include six English Suites (BWV 806-11, before 1720), six French Suites (BWV 812-17, 1722-1725), six Partitas (BWV 825-30, 1726-1731), and Ouvertüre nach französischer Art (BWV 835, 1735). All three sets of suites followed the traditional format to be found in most of the dance suites of the period and thus contain Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue, arranged in that order. Bach applied some optional dance movements before and after the Sarabande. These optional movements include: the triple meter dances— minuet, passepied, polonaise; and the duple meter dances—bourrée, loure, and gavotte. As in the English Suites, each Partita begins with a large-scale introductory movement, each differently titled and each in a different style. According to Eric Michael Hicks, the Partitas do not have “consistency in either structural approach or in their use of traditional dance models,”4 which the English and French suites do. Perhaps these represent “Bach’s desire to be different by willfully 2 Christoph Wolff, et al, “Bach.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/40023pg10.html (accessed February 21, 2015). 3 Stewart Gordon, A History of Keyboard Literature: Music for the Piano and Its Forerunners (Belmont, CA: Schirmer, 1996), 49. 4Hicks, 88. 4 manipulating the organization of the set and the treatment of the dances.”5 It may be concluded that the Partitas on the whole contain more overtly melodic writing, are less geared toward contrapuntal devices, and adhere less strictly to the formalities imposed by the dance models. It is evident that as Bach matures, he depends less upon imitation of existing models, and allows himself liberties, which mark his maturity. Structural and Thematic Analysis of C Minor Partita The second Partita is unique among Bach’s keyboard suites because of the unusual structure of its introductory movement. Moreover, Bach marked the last movement Capriccio rather than Gigue, the only such example within his three sets of suites. Originally, the word sinfonia was applied to designate an introductory instrumental movement that served as a prelude to an opera or operatic scene.6 By the middle of the seventeenth century, sinfonia was used as a title for the introductory movement to an orchestral suite.7 In the Sinfonia of this suite, however, Bach applied the word to the opening movement of a suite. The Sinfonia is divided into three sections, the first two have tempo markings (Grave adagio and Andante) and are in common time, while the final fugal section has no tempo indication but changes the meter to 3/4. The tempo marking of the opening section of the Sinfonia indicates its slow, weighty and serious character. The feeling is strengthened by the dotted rhythm that creates the atmosphere of the French Overture. In the Andante section, the flowing right hand is accompanied by a walking bass line in the left hand. It ends with a cadenza-like passage, which resolves to the dominant by 5 Ibid, 88. 6J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout, and Claude V. Palisca, A History of Western Music, 8th ed. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010), 314. 7 Ibid, 314. 5 an ornamented half cadence with the use of a dotted eighth-sixteenth rhythm, leading to the faster fugal section. In the lively closing section Bach completes the movement with a two-voice structure. A recall of the opening dotted chordal manner of the movement is found in the dramatic ending cadence, thus providing unity and cohesion across the disparate sections. In Hicks’s analysis, he states that: “The structural planning of the Sinfonia is carried through as the pace quickens to a dramatic climax at its close.”8 Hicks describes Luethi’s involvement “the impression made by this movement is described by Luethi. ‘…The resulting composition is a dramatic melding of contrasting elements, as the components seem to build on one another, increasing in speed and complexity on [sic] an intense ending.’”9 The allemande is a French term indicating a German dance that originated in the middle of the sixteenth century (known as the Deutscher Tanz). It spread to other countries, and for the next two hundred years proceeded through a complex evolution which was largely a result of various national influences (mainly from Germany, France, Italy, and England). By the Baroque period, the allemande had become one of the core (or fixed) movements of the Baroque suite. In Bach’s works, the commonalities of the allemande include: well-constructed harmony, standard patterns of upbeats, binary form, almost constant sixteenths, motivic development, variety in texture, and 4/4 meter. In this Partita, the Allemande is highly organized motivically. The initial motive is used extensively in various degrees of alteration as the basic material of this movement. The instances of the motivic development (with or without modification) can be found in the upper 8Hicks, 186. 9Geraldine Luethi, J. S. Bach Solo Piano Literature: A Comprehensive Guide, ed. Carolyn Maxwell (Boulder, CO: Maxwell Music Evaluation, 1989), 273, quoted in Eric M. Hicks, “A Historical Perspective on Unity in the Keyboard Partitas of Johann Sebastian Bach” (DMA’s diss., University of Texas at Austin, 1993), 186. 6 voices in mm. 1-2, 11-12, 17-18, and 19-20; and in the bass line in mm. 1-4, 11-12, 17-18, and 27-28. This motive also occurs in altered versions, such as in the upper linemm. 3-4, 13-14, 23-26 and in the bassmm. 19-20, 29-30, which applies the fragments of the motive as the fundamental material. This Allemande illustrates the melodic return as well as the motivic design and unity. The second section begins with an altered structural melodic return of the first section. There is another structural return over the last six measures of the two sections (mm. 11-16 and 27-32). The latter one modifies the structure by switching the voices. In mm. 13-14 and 29-30, the motive starts on the downbeat, while the rest of the motives begin on the upbeat. The Courante in this Partita is composed in the French rather than the Italian style (corrente). The courante was the most popular of all dances in the seventeenth-century French keyboard suite. It is characterized by a slow tempo and a meter of 3/2 with hemiolas (alternating 3/2 and 6/4) in the final measures of each binary section. The application of a keyboard style known as notes inégales10 is perhaps required for most of the piece, and the upbeat figures and cadences require clear articulation. Descriptions of it from the eighteenth century range from “serious and solemn”11 to “noble and grand”12, “majestic”13 and “earnest”14 . 10 Notes inégales is a performance practice during the Baroque and Classical periods where equal value rhythms are performed with unequal durations, normally alternating long and then short. 11Pierre Dupont, Musique (Paris, 1713), 43; Charles Masson, Traité, 2nd ed. (New York: Da Capo, 1967), 7; Johann Gottfried Walther, Lexicon (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1953), quoted in Meredith Little and Natalie Jenne, Dance and the Music of J. S. Bach: Expanded Edition (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001), 114. 12P. Rameau, maître (New York: Broude Bros., 1967), Chapter XXVI; Charles Compan, Dictionnaire (Paris, 1787), quoted in Little and Jenne 2001, 115. 13Johann Joachim Quantz, Versuch (Berlin, 1952), 291, quoted in Little and Jenne 2001, 115. 14Daniel Gottlob Türk, Clavierschule (Leipzig and Halle, 1789), 400, quoted in Little and Jenne 2001, 115. 7 This Courante features a three-voice contrapuntal texture, and the use of extensive embellishment, which includes written-out ornaments. The four-sixteenth-note motive appears in every measure, as either a tirata15 figure or a turn. According to Meredith Little and Natalie Jenne, “consecutive phrases or phrase segments always have different lengths.”16 Here, for instance, the music falls into the 6+6 and 4+3+5 measure structure. The second half starts with the inversion of the theme in the first section. In performing this movement, the final measure of each section should be articulate and heard very clearly since it includes a hemiola shift in 6/4. From its origins in Spain, the sarabande passed through seventeenth century Italy, and became one of the classic French court dances of the early eighteenth century. The choreographies for the sarabande describe a dance that is “calm, serious and sometimes tender, but ordered, balanced and sustained.”17 Other descriptions of it from Bach’s time refer to it as “grave, ceremonious”18, “melancholy”19, but all accounts attest to its serious nature. Written in a slow three beats to the measure, the phrases are usually four or eight measures long, both halves balancing one another usually exactly. This Sarabande is one of the more flowing movements of its type in Bach’s keyboard works, built on steadily moving arpeggios instead of solid chords. The phrases are consistently four measures long, and the harmonic rhythm generally accents the second beat, as one would expect in a sarabande. Therefore, performers who wish to emphasize the passion in this characteristic phrase may hold up the rhythm for a moment, then make up for the time loss 15(It.) Term for an ornament consisting of a scale-like passage passing between two notes in a melodic line. 16Meredith Little and Natalie Jenne, Dance and the Music of J. S. Bach: Expanded Edition (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001), 121. 17Little and Jenne, 92. 18Charles Masson, Traité, 2nd ed. (New York: Da Capo, 1967): 7, quoted in Little and Jenne 2001,94 19Remond de Saint-Mard, Reflexions, quoted in Little and Jenne 2001,94. 8 leading to a cadential point (tempo rubato). The slow, moody melody modulates to the relative major E-flat at the end of the first half. At the end of the second half (mm. 21-22), Bach applies the canonic technique between two voices to create a conversational effect, and to lead to the climax at the final cadence. Traditionally, “the rondeau uses the sequence of the refrains and contrasting couplets proceeding in a predictable manner [such] as A B A C A D, etc.”20 However, in the present movement, Bach “exceeds the scope of its seventeenth-century identity”21 by varying and developing the refrain on a different rhythmic pattern for the last two of its recurrences (mm. 65- 80 and 97-12) which are like variations of the original refrain. The last statement of the refrain is in constant sixteenth-notes and with a strong impulse on the downbeat in each measure that is fortified by the bass line. “This helps to drive the music to its dramatic chordal ending cadence.”22 In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the capriccio was a fugal type of musical composition in continuous imitative counterpoint. According to Lambert, the Capriccio in the C minor Partita is related to the works of Frescobaldi and Froberger, in which the fugal characteristics were lighter and freer than the strict fugue.23 Thus, the placement of this movement at the end of a suite brings to mind its kinship to the gigue,” which is [thus] not a radical departure from the regular scheme.”24 Bach treats this movement as he would a Gigue. For instance, the two binary halves are exactly equal in length and establish the tonality of the dominant at mid-point, and driving back 20 Burkholder, Grout, and Palisca, 372. 21Hicks, 188. 22Ibid, 189. 23 Arthur Adams Lambert, “The Keyboard Partitas of J. S. Bach: A Study of Background, Text, and Interpretation” (PhD diss., State University of Iowa, 1961), 120. 24Ibid, 120. 9 to the tonic during the second half. The subject in the second half is inverted. It is written in an imitative three-voice texture, with a relatively fast tempo, and the lively, sprightly and skipping type of effect one redolent of the gigue style. The subject returns in its original form in measure 87 (bass voice) in the second half brings the music to a “rollicking”25 and dramatic ending. Performance Practice The aim of this study is not only to provide an historical and compositional analysis, but also to assist in solving questions related to performance and interpretation. Fortunately, a book by Fernando Valenti, A Performer’s Guide to the Keyboard Partitas of J. S. Bach26 discusses all of Bach’s keyboard Partitas. Valenti states, “the Partitas can serve as a key to many aspects of Bach performance.”27 The following pages make frequent reference to this book. Bach’s notated modifications to tempo very rarely, and the rhythm was expected to be steady. However, there was a large degree of freedom in which the “rubato, pauses, breaks, and thematic dovetailing run counter to the beat.”28 For instance, in the Sinfonia, the cadenza-like passage (mm. 28-29) should lend itself to a broad ritardando to emphasize the ending of the Andante. “The speed will have to flex momentarily at the fermata on the first note of measure 28; a slight but tasteful broadening can mark the resumption of motion afterwards.”29 And then, the speed must return to the appropriate pulse after the first eighth note of measure 30. “In 25Lederer, 94. 26 Fernando Valenti, A Performer’s Guide to the Keyboard Partitas of J. S. Bach (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989). 27 Valenti, 3. 28Paul Badura-Skoda, Interpreting Bach at the Keyboard, trans. Alfred Clayton (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 17. 29 Valenti, 26. 10 cadential passages such as these, a performer is wise to acknowledge that most of the desired variation in pulse is provided for by the notes themselves.”30 Moreover, Bach applies the rhythmic alternation by interrupting the meter in his polyphonic pieces, such as the hemiola shifts in the Courante (mm. 11-12 and 23-24), in which the rhythmic patterns of three groups of two beats (2+2+2) alternate with (and against) two groups of three beats (3+3). Ornamentation is musical embellishment, which should be beautiful and pleasing. Bach provided an ornamentation table in his Notebook for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach that explained how to play certain ornaments properly.31 Such indications can be applied in the Allemande, where the trills occurring in measures 9-10 should be executed to begin on the beat, as well as on the upper neighbor note. Furthermore, to add even more expressive beauty, performers might add longer trills to a single note that functions as a leading tone to the final note. For example, at the end of each section of the Courante (mm. 11 and 23), one can add a longer trill on the A-natural and D-flat to create a more dramatic resolution. The same use may be applied in the Sinfonia as well. Bach rarely provided articulation marks in his keyboard music. A simple rule of Bach’s articulation is that, “stepwise passages should on the whole be played legato, whereas larger intervals and leaps should be detached.”32 However, there are various kinds of exceptions dictated by the different affections. For instance, the walking bass in the Andante of the Sinfonia 30 Ibid, 27. 31 Kenneth Kreitner, et al, “Ornaments.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/49928pg8.html (accessed February 21, 2015). 32Badura-Skoda, 96. 11 is a typical feature of Baroque music, and should be played slightly detached.33 C. P. E. Bach wrote: “notes which are neither detached, connected, nor fully held are sounded for half their value, unless the abbreviation Ten. (hold/tenuto) is written over them, in which case they must be held fully. Crotchets and quavers in moderate and slow tempos are usually performed in this semi-detached manner. They must not be played weakly, but with fire and a slight accentuation.”34 On the other hand, the articulation should also depend on the mood and the characteristics of the music. For instance, the upper line of the Andante in the Sinfonia, the Allemande, and the Sarabande should sound very legato. One thing might become obvious here: these legato pieces alternate with the less legato movements which are the fugal sections in the Sinfonia, the Courante, the Rondeau, and the Capriccio. The alternation of the moods and the articulations was Bach’s intent for this Partita. There are some challenges in playing this work. One is the Grave adagio section in the Sinfonia. Some of the chords should be arpeggiated. In measure 1, for instance, in rolling the first chords, “the top voice must remain clear or the subsequent figure in the right hand will appear to have come from nowhere.”35 Also, “the silences (rests) between the various spurts of motion”36 need to be projected. The rests and pedaling are as important as the notes. Another challenge is the accurate execution of the leaping motion scattered throughout the Capriccio movement (first appearance in measure 3). In performing these large interval 33Ibid, 98. 34 C. P. E. Bach, Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments, trans. and ed. William J. Mitchell (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1949), 157. 35 Valenti, 28. 36 Ibid, 28. 12 leaps, the performer should play with a “rebounding action”37a movement of the forearm transferring the hand from one note to another. The performer must be aware of where the hand is before the leap. Undoubtedly, the composer who had the greatest effect on the Baroque music was J. S. Bach. In terms of his keyboard music, Bach is best-known and most revered for his Das Wohltemperirte Clavier (The Well-Tempered Clavier) and keyboard suites. Partita No. 2 in C Minor exemplifies Bach’s inexhaustible aptitude for inventiveness and development of this genre, while still maintaining the sense of traditional coherence treasured by the Baroque generation. 37 Ibid, 45. 13 II. Haydn’s Fantasia in C Major, Hob. XVII: 4 Historical Background Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), is one of the eminent composers of the Classical period. “He is best known for his symphonies and string quartets, which established standards of quality, style, content, form, and expressivity that other composers emulated.”38 Haydn spent most of his career serving the Esterházy family (1761-90), which isolated him from the music world, but forced him to become original, as he himself wrote. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788) greatly influenced Haydn. He was fascinated by the expressive style of C. P. E. Bach, and adopted its passionate quality. The majority of Haydn’s keyboard compositions are sonatas. His other keyboard works include piano trios, theme and variations, dances, fantasias, and capriccios. Haydn composed the Fantasia in C, Hob. XVII:4 in 1789, during what Karl Geiringer calls the “maturity period” (1779-90),39 in which he was working primarily for the Prince Esterházy. The Fantasia was “perhaps stimulated by C. P. E. Bach’s Fantasia in C Major (H. 291/W61, 6) from ClavierSonaten … für Kenner und Liebhaber (1787).”40 Thematic and Rhythmic Analysis The fantasia is an instrumental composition with an improvisatory character, lacking any strict formal boundaries. The Fantasia in C is a significant independent keyboard piece. Its 38 Burkholder, Grout, and Palisca, 527. 39 Karl Geiringer, Haydn: A Creative Life in Music (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1982), 279. 40 James Webster and Georg Feder, “Haydn, Joseph.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/44593pg12.html(accessed February 20, 2015). 14 significance is established not only by its length (467 measures) but also by its structure and spirit. It is composed in open, free form, indicated by the lack of repeat signs and a written-out recapitulation. The primary theme with its 8 + 8 period construction is suitable for motivic fragmentation. The returns in measures 124, 255, and in the coda are guides to the form, which is derived from a disintegrated sonata-form structure. Each recurrence is altered melodically and/or harmonically, including for the last appearance (m. 405), which is in the unexpected key of F major. The secondary theme, first heard in measure 70, is derived from measures 5-6 of the first theme. This secondary theme returns in measures 195 and 305, each recurrence of which is played note for note in exactly the same shape but marked poco ritard., which causes the theme to fade. The tonal adventures of this piece are remarkable for the number of different keys arrived at, the distance of these keys from C major, and most importantly, for the method of arrival at certain keys which is achieved through unexpected semitone shifts. For example, the dominant of A major is followed by B-flat major (mm. 191-195); a section that is enharmonically notated in C-flat major (written as B major) is followed by the semitone C major, enharmonically Ddouble-flat major (mm. 301-304). “Expect the unexpected” is certainly an apt mental disposition for listening to Haydn’s music.41 The listener frequently cannot guess the next step in the key structure or the motivic presentation, although on the surface the rhythm and tempo preserve the characteristics of a wellconstructed, classical, and logical form. Wandering from one key to another, always establishing the new key by a statement of all or part of the primary theme, and wandering from one style to 41 Wolfgang Fuhrmann, “Originality as Market-Value: Remarks on the Fantasia in C Hob. XVII: 4 and Haydn as Musical Entrepreneur,” Studia Musicologica 51, no. 3-4 (2010), 313. 15 another, sometimes with several variations in rhythm, figuration, counterpoint, and texture, all create an unpredictability that forms the basic characteristic of this work and represents Haydn’s musical humor rife with surprises. Rhythmic chicane and deception represent one of Haydn’s many humorous characteristics. The work is written in 3/8 throughout, but there are many passages in the music, that would suggest another meter. The first rhythmic trick is in measures 17-20, which the rhythm alters between 3/8 (2+2+2) and 6/16 (3+3), providing an accent on the fourth sixteenth-note (mm. 18 and 20). This rhythmic pattern recurs in measures 22-27, shifts to 9/16 (3+3+3), with the beat falling on the following notes of the right hand (Example 2.2.1). This passage is notated in 9/16 in order to delineate the outlining rhythmic patterns embedded in the actual 3/8 time signature. Example 2.2.1, Haydn, Fantasia in C Major, mm. 22-27. The meter shift slows down the original beat, from a three-eighth-note pattern to a three-dottedeighth-note pattern. In measure 28, Haydn provides a fermata to let the performer prepare for the restoration of the original quicker beat. The first 40 measures are phrased in two or four groups, but measures 41-46 are two groups of three. The first group forms a C-sharp half-diminished harmonic suspension that resolves to the second group. 16 Measure 87 contains another of Haydn’s recuperative pauses (fermata), and he takes a new direction using it. The following music not only in a new rhythm (18/16, six dotted-halfnotes), but in a completely new key (Example 2.2.2). It is as though he is extending the joke by carrying it to an extreme: Example 2.2.2, Haydn, Fantasia in C Major, mm. 88-93. The Type of Instrument Intended for the Fantasia The period (1755-96) during which Haydn composed keyboard works was an era in which the harpsichord, the clavichord, and the fortepiano coexisted. The choice of a given instrument depended on the desires of the composer and publisher. Although Artaria in Vienna published this work with the indication of “for harpsichord or fortepiano” on the title page of the works,42 the dynamic notations in Haydn’s Fantasy indicate that the instrument he was writing for was the fortepiano, because the harpsichord does not possess a great dynamic range as does the fortepiano. The Fantasia reveals some of Haydn’s capricious and unexpected music characteristics. He intermingles the sonata form with the improvisatory character of the fantasia, an extraordinary procedure. His humor is represented in the suspension of the cadences that 42 László Somfai, The keyboard sonatas of Joseph Haydn: Instruments and performance practice, genres and styles, trans. Charlotte Greenspan (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 26. 17 confuse an audiences’ formal expectations, his manipulations of thematic and rhythmic fragmentations made more unique by being contained in a framework of an almost monothematic environment. The hand-crossings, arpeggios, and the distribution of passages between hands also exemplify his sophisticated virtuosic writing. All of this is made even more remarkable by the fact that Haydn was not a trained pianist as were so many of his contemporaries.
1. Prelude in C Major 1:06, Fugue in C Major 2:48 (BWV 846) 2. Prelude in C Minor 4:40, Fugue in C Minor 6:20 (BWV 847) 3. Prelude in C-Sharp Major 7:58, Fugue in C-Sharp Major 9:30 (BWV 848) 4. Prelude in C-Sharp Minor 11:59, Fugue in C-Sharp Minor 14:23 (BWV 849) 5. Prelude in D Major 18:34, Fugue in D Major 19:56 (BWV 850) 6. Prelude in D Minor 21:37, Fugue in D Minor 23:50 (BWV 851) 7. Prelude in E-Flat Major 26:15, Fugue in E-Flat Major 29:58 (BWV 852) 8. Prelude in E-Sharp Minor 31:38, Fugue in D-Sharp Minor 35:03 (BWV 853) 9. Prelude in E Major 39:48, Fugue in E Major 41:06 (BWV 854) 10. Prelude in E Minor 42:11, Fugue in E Minor 44:24 (BWV 855) 11. Prelude in F Major 45:29, Fugue in F Major 46:27 (BWV 856) 12. Prelude in F Minor 47:47, Fugue in F Minor 49:49 (BWV 857) 13. Prelude in F-Sharp Major 54:17, Fugue in F-Sharp Major 55:51 (BWV 858) 14. Prelude in F-Sharp Minor 57:42, Fugue in F-Sharp Minor 58:38 (BWV 859) 15. Prelude in G Major 1:01:23, Fugue in G Major 1:02:17 (BWV 860) 16. Prelude in G Minor 1:05:20, Fugue in G Minor 1:07:28 (BWV 861) 17. Prelude in A-Flat Major 1:09:03, Fugue in A-Flat Major 1:10:21 (BWV 862) 18. Prelude in G-Sharp Minor 1:12:36, Fugue in G-Sharp Minor 1:14:04 (BWV 863) 19. Prelude in A Major 1:16:07, Fugue in A Major 1:17:18 (BWV 864) 20. Prelude in A Minor 1:19:35, Fugue in A Minor 1:20:31 (BWV 865) 21. Prelude in B-Flat Major 1:24:24, Fugue in B-Flat Major 1:25:44 (BWV 866) 22. Prelude in B-Flat Minor 1:27:24, Fugue in B-Flat Minor 1:30:03 (BWV 867) 23. Prelude in B Major 1:32:58, Fugue in B Major 1:33:59 (BWV 868) 24. Prelude in B Minor 1:36:12, Fugue in B Minor 1:41:01 (BWV 869)
If you know Bach’s Goldberg Variations only through the eternally best-selling recordings by Glenn Gould, you have not really heard the work. Gould was a brilliant but idiosyncratic player whose approach to Bach might be compared to Laurence Olivier’s renditions of Shakespeare: the art can obscure the matter. Furthermore, the Goldbergs drastically change character when they are transferred from the harpsichord, for which they were written, to the piano. The equal-tempered tuning of the modern piano is markedly different from tuning systems of the early eighteenth century, and the instrument’s opulent sonorities cast a Romantic blur over Bach’s harmony and counterpoint. To avoid muddying the texture, pianists rely on a clean, detached style, and as a result the music too often sounds subdued, fastidious, even soporific.
This is not to say that presenting Bach on the piano is any sort of categorical mistake. The composer took an interest in new instruments, including the fortepiano, and his music should not be confined to the technologies of his time. When a pianist on the order of Murray Perahia or András Schiff undertakes the Goldbergs, it is hardly an inauthentic experience. Nor does the use of a harpsichord guarantee historical accuracy; no one knows for certain how these pieces should go. Even so, Bach on a harpsichord sounds clearer, brighter, more incisive—curiously, more modern. When Virgil Thomson heard the pioneering harpsichord revivalist Wanda Landowska play the Goldbergs in 1942, he spoke of “pungency and high relief.” The mechanism of the piano bops strings with felt-covered hammers. That of the harpsichord plucks the strings; notes pierce the ear more than they stroke it. Up close, the harpsichord can be a wild, prickly beast.
[By Alex Ross ]