Thursday, February 19, 2009

Alternate Inperpretation of Bach's Prelude in E Major

Isn't music wonderful?! It is a form of art that is so dynamic - so living! As an artist works to interpret a piece of music he/she makes it their own. The music breathes and comes to life in a different way for each performer. This is one of the greatest joys in music - the endless depth and wonder that each composition holds.

I recently posted a recording of Bach's Prelude No. 9 in E Major. As I was learning this piece, I played it a hundred different ways and found that (like most music) it had some wonderful offerings despite drastically varied interpretations. Bach seldom indicated tempo and dynamics in his keyboard works and so it is left largely to the artist to decide. Obviously the experts of our day (and times past) have contributed their knowledge and opinions of how Bach's music should be played - but still, the artist is free to wander multiple paths.

To demonstrate how varied the interpretation of a piece can be I recorded an alternate version of the aforementioned prelude. One is very slow and legato, while the other is more upbeat and incorporates much more staccato into the music. Which one do you prefer and why :) ?

First version (download here):

Alternate version (download here):


Jonathan said...

Holy smokes! what variety! they both work, although I will always hear this piece as your first version- a pure, quiet, inner joy. I wish people would explore more like this. Baroque music is especially full of possibilites. Its too bad that we tend to limit our interpretations to what is deemed "stylistically correct".

Jeremiah Jones said...

The world of classical music is certainly full of professors, adjudicators, and critics who all seem to feel that "their" way of seeing things is the only correct way. Of course, I am not discounting those opinions - for they are highly educated and tremendously experienced opinions; and I am certainly in no position to claim that I know better! I only wish that great artists would be more open about breaking some of the rules - just for fun :)

i.e. When somebody like me breaks a rule is it most likely out of ignorance and inexperience; but when somebody like you, or other talented, educated pianists consciously choose to alter the style of a piece - it should be revered as a true work of art.

My music is "different" not because I'm bold enough to challenge the rules of style, but because I'm too dumb to know any better :) There is no glory in that!