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Stephen  Fine

Live Performance of Bach Suite No. 3 on Viola (4/1/17)

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So, I've been pretty timid about posting recordings of myself online.  And posting solo Bach is especially scary, but this past weekend, I finally went ahead with it.

 

BTW- It's about 10 seconds in that I realize I didn't tighten my bow enough. (whoops)  And I'm dedicated to my attaca Allemande, so it isn't until the Courante that I tighten it.

And by the time I start playing the Sarabande, my top two strings (gut) are thoroughly out of tune. I should've stopped to tune sooner than I did (just before the bourrees).

Live performance...

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Woohoo!  Excellent!  And oopsies are part of every live performance.  I think they add personality!

Bravo! :D

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5 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

So, I've been pretty timid about posting recordings of myself online.  And posting solo Bach is especially scary, but this past weekend, I finally went ahead with it.

 

I LOVED it. Breath of fresh air. That's how a live , alive, free and engaging performance should sound like.  Excellent instrument by the way....  That's exactly the kind of viola sound I like. 

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Well done and courageous to put the video up, Stephen.

I might argue about some of the detached bowing decisions in the opening prelude and intonation is a challenge always in that cross-string middle section of the same opening movement in a higher position.

You really nailed the tempo and dance spirit of the Allemande.  Courante is much quicker than I might have attempted but you can get away with in on a viola if not a cello.The gut strings seem to serve you and the music well.

The second Bourree is very expressive. The Gigue is suitable exuberant! Bravo!

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Thanks, everyone.

Herman- for that Sarabande what I really need to do is write out my ornaments.  That moment you liked so much was me very nearly getting lost for a second because my ornamenting skills are severely lacking.

Omobono- yeah... that intonation moment in the first movement... I'm not sure why I didn't practice it harder.  It was foolish.  I told myself that it was gonna go how it was gonna go, but that's ridiculous.  It's hard, but not that hard, and I should've prioritized it.  Next time!  You learn something every time you perform.

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1 hour ago, Stephen Fine said:

Herman- for that Sarabande what I really need to do is write out my ornaments.  That moment you liked so much was me very nearly getting lost for a second because my ornamenting skills are severely lacking.

I know, but risk is part of the beauty of performing music live.

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Wonderful playing Stephen.

On the topic of the Bach suites, any violists have a favorite edition?  I have the Primrose, but can't say I'm a huge fan.  If I had to say why, it's probably that I end up scratching my head at some of the fingerings and bowings.  They don't seem logical to me.  In contrast I have the Szeryng edition of the Bach violin sonatas & partitas and have learned so much from his fingerings and feel like I'm a better player for having studied it.  Would love to find an edition like that for the viola (cello) suites.

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Hi, LvB.

I think Simon Roland-Jones' edition (Peters) is the current go-to for most people.

If you're interested in a really good weird one, check out Anner Bylsma's bowings in Bach: The Fencing Master.  Anyone who can master those bowings is well in control of their Bach.  (According to Bylsma, they are his attempt to faithfully reproduce Anna Magdalena's bowings.)

It's also well-worth picking up the fancy Barenreiter edition that comes with Anna Magdalena's and Johann Kellner's copies.  Only in bass clef though.

I've been meaning to order Christine Rutledge's edition from Linnet Press too.  3 vols. comes with a blank part for writing in your own bowings.

The Hofmeister edition is written on two staves throughout.  The top staff is edited, the bottom staff is Anna Magdalena's urtext; makes for easy comparison.

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On 4/5/2017 at 11:26 PM, Stephen Fine said:

Thanks, Omobono- yeah... that intonation moment in the first movement... I'm not sure why I didn't practice it harder.  It was foolish.  I told myself that it was gonna go how it was gonna go, but that's ridiculous.  It's hard, but not that hard, and I should've prioritized it.  Next time!  You learn something every time you perform.

Hey! Don't should on yourself so much.... :o

It was a good, convincing very 'listenable' performance. Much better than I could manage in my dotage.

(I too use the Simon Roland-Jones' edition along with the reference to the Ricordi Bruno Giuranna edition which i also like.)

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On 4/8/2017 at 8:29 PM, Omobono said:

Hey! Don't should on yourself so much.... :o

It was a good, convincing very 'listenable' performance. Much better than I could manage in my dotage.

Thanks.  Yeah... I try to avoid regret.  You're right. :) It went well overall, and the audience and the concert organizers loved it.

But, then again, if I don't focus on what went wrong and how I can avoid it next time, I won't continue to improve.

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