Saturday, April 09, 2022

suites à suivre

Plague Year(s) Bach Project, 17th month
(resuming after a 9-month interval from July 2021 to March 2022)

As of the beginning of April, my shoulder has improved to the extent that I can practice Bach suites for one hour, which I think is the amount I need to make meaningful progress. So, here we go again (and the pandemic is still going strong, thanks to the unwavering support of the death eaters in government).

For this month, I am tackling the Courante from the 4th suite. Part of the idea is that I really need to get my head around the geography of Eb major on the cello, because key signatures with 3 flats or more are holding me back in my orchestral adventures (which relaunched last September).

I also really like this Courante, and with its 64 bars it will likely keep me busy for two months.

As usual, I am picking up useful hints and tips from Inbal Segev.

Loving this performance by Emanuelle Bertrand so much that I won't be looking for any other. (Very artsy video, too, involving shadow play and a mirror, which can be a bit confusing when she seems to be playing with the wrong hand.) I also have Inbal Segev's and Rostropovich's recordings on CD.

In terms of the movements I learned until June last year, I can still play 1.3-1.6 and 3.5 from memory. Will take some time to recover the movements I learned from the 2nd suite. I'll resume the list once I have something to add, rather than to substract.

In other Bach-related news:

  • I read Steven Isserlis's companion to the suites, see my review here. While he was writing the book, he also recorded suites 1 and 3 in this lovely cafe performance (he mentions his work on the book in the intro).
  • Now reading: Friedemann Bach by Albert Emil Brachvogel, a novel about JS Bach's oldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, alleged to bear very little resemblance to his real life.
  • Spending more time with my other instruments, I'm also looking at a flute adaptation of Bach's partita No. 2 for violin in D minor (I have the entire partita for flute on my revision list, it's kind of the motor that drives me to keep the revision schedule going!).
  • when I have a really ambitious day I also try playing bits of the Brandenburg concerto in F on my alto recorder. A solo adaptation of this happens to be in the big Altblockflöten-Solobuch by Barbara Hintermeier and Birgit Baude. Just give me a few years for that one.
  • I'm now building a twitter thread for the #PlagueYearBachProject, one tweet for each movement tackled.

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