Author Topic: A classical conundrum  (Read 938 times)

Wowbagger

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A classical conundrum
« on: October 07, 2017, 09:55:27 am »
I think I have solved a conundrum which has been puzzling classical music scholars for many years. Any music buffs care to comment?

http://peter.chesspod.com/music/k574.html

Here's Andras Schiff (who else?) playing the Mozart Gigue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a1phByRPKo

And the Bach Prelude & Fugue. The fugue starts at 4' 39".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh4E3bSVwY0

The two works sound totally contrasting, but that's down to the tempo and time signature.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: A classical conundrum
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2017, 07:57:22 pm »
Fascinating, Peter!  I am not a pianist but I can read (and hear) ok.  It's definitely the sort of stunt that Wolfie could have pulled.  Think of his transcription from memory of the Allegri  Miserere.  If we can believe that, we can certainly consider your suggestion.  It happens all the time in popular music, both intentionally and otherwise.  I'm inclined to think (from a position of great academic weakness) that we can believe Mozart knew exactly what he was doing.  He was to my mind the most incredible composer - even outstripping Bach in his genius.  Well done!

Peter

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Re: A classical conundrum
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 06:26:13 pm »
With your permission, Wow, I will copy that post as a message to my big bro, who is a composer/arranger by profession and get his opinionionionion...
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Wowbagger

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Re: A classical conundrum
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 01:25:15 am »
With your permission, Wow, I will copy that post as a message to my big bro, who is a composer/arranger by profession and get his opinionionionion...

Please do! I'm trying to find a way of making contact with Andras Schiff himself but the internet is too full of references to him
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Wowbagger

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Re: A classical conundrum
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2017, 08:19:02 am »
Fascinating, Peter!  I am not a pianist but I can read (and hear) ok.  It's definitely the sort of stunt that Wolfie could have pulled.  Think of his transcription from memory of the Allegri  Miserere.  If we can believe that, we can certainly consider your suggestion.  It happens all the time in popular music, both intentionally and otherwise.  I'm inclined to think (from a position of great academic weakness) that we can believe Mozart knew exactly what he was doing.  He was to my mind the most incredible composer - even outstripping Bach in his genius.  Well done!

Peter

That's the point, isn't it? It's exactly what one would have expected Mozart to have done under the circumstances, especially taking a tune which in its original setting is grand, slow and ponderous and then totally changing its character without making that many alterations to the notes themselves - certainly no more than Bach did during various returns of the fugue's subject. That's what makes me so surprised that no-one appears to have spotted it before, especially with two composers so extensively studied as Mozart and Bach.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Wowbagger

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Re: A classical conundrum
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 12:05:27 am »
It seems that Mozart visited Leipzig twice during the spring of 1789,  the out and back trips to Berlin. He played the organ at Thomaskirche, on the way up I think. I have been trying to find out what he played but all I can come up wth is "Improvisations". Messing around with other people's music, in other words. Since it was Bach's home patch I would be most surprised if Bach's music wasn't the chief subject of the improvisations. I have an idea, which isn't too fanciful given the circumstances, that the gigue in G was part of the improvisation based on the B minor fugue. If I had been court organist and heard Mozart putting on a dazzling display, I think I might well ask him to write a snippet down for me. Of course, that's my imagination extending what I've already found out.

I have no doubt that the gigue was a complete send-up of the B minor fugue. The bit I find hard to come to terms with is that people who made a name for themselves knowing a lot about Mozart's music seem to have missed the joke to the extent that I can't find any other reference to this. Am I really the first person in 228 years to get Mozart's joke? Or at least, to write it down? That seems impossible.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Wowbagger

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Re: A classical conundrum
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 05:50:46 pm »
Thread resurrection.

Last week I spent a couple of hours being given a thorough lesson in pianistic performance. Colin, who is our choir's conductor, came round and we played Mozart duets. He is light years ahead of me in sight reading and in some passages I was totally stumped as he played on and I joined in where I could.

I had already mentioned to him some time ago about this gigue, during the tea break at our choir practices, and he was polite but non-committal. He suggested some further reading, which I did, and I have expanded the piece I wrote in 2017 based upon this. However, when I asked him whether he had ever looked at the Mozart gigue he said that he hadn't, but also commented that there are lots of similarities in music where people read things that are not really there into stuff. I'm absolutely certain about the Mozart/Bach link in this, so I sent him the revised piece. After last night's choir practice he pulled me to one side and asked if I had analysed any of the harmonies in the two pieces to compare them. I said that I hadn't, but he said that this really needs further research. It seems that Colin has found similarities that I have overlooked, so I think I have convinced him. I shall go back to the two scores and see if I can find the parallels he is referring to. I don't think I have done any harmonic analysis since my A levels (1972), or possibly my LGSM (1981) so I'll have to get my thinking hat on!

I still haven't found any evidence other references to the link between the two, so I suppose I really could be the first person since the piece was composed to link the two. That's really a rather eery thought.

As it happens, Tchaikowski based the first movement from his "Mozartiana" suite on K574.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTHBbiq8_RY

Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.