Bach in March WEEK 1: Practice Updates

Dear Pianists,

Welcome again to Bach in March! Bach is the composer closest to me and I can't wait to share this March with you in practicing Bach. This is the thread where we'll all be posting our biweekly updates for this month's community challenge.

For those who have been here before - you may post video or audio updates just as you did in Discovering Schubert Month! And for those who are new - uploading a video to youtube is often the best way to go! You can then post the youtube link to your video, or embed it directly in your reply.

The introduction and welcome to Bach in March will give you  orientation for the community challenge activities, and provide you with a schedule of relevant livestreams, performance opportunities, and repertoire suggestions.

I'm always curious to hear about your practice experience and encourage you to write replies. If you can't think of where to start, here are some questions to jog your mind:

  • What piece did you choose? How did you learn about it?
  • What's a favorite passage of yours in the piece?
  • What's one musical or technical decision you made while practicing your piece?

Feel free to make these updates as short or long as you wish!

Happy Bach Sounds!

Hilda

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  • Hi everyone,

    I thought I would look at the ending of the Goldberg Variations, from No. 27 Canone alla Nona, No. 28 with the inner and outer trills, No.29 with the toccata style passages, No. 30 quodlibet with the combination of at least two folk songs and the finally the Aria from the beginning of the work which is so exquisite.

    Plenty to keep the fingers occupied!

    Like 2
  • I am working on Bach Partita 2. Love the Sifonia opening (reminds me of a later Beethoven sonata). Andante part is my favorite. Some faster passages are the main focus of practice these days. I am working on bringing levity and yet intensity in those faster areas. 

    Like 2
      • Hilda HuangTeam
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Shaw-Jiun Wang Can't wait to hear you play it!! Maybe I'll post a video of that myself!!

      Like 1
    • Hilda Huang I would love that. Is there a separate thread for signing up for the Bach community concert?

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      • Hilda HuangTeam
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Shaw-Jiun Wang Yes! When that event is published on the live calendar, you'll receive an email notification inviting you to sign up on the reply thread to the event. 

      Like 1
    • MTpiano
    • MTpiano
    • 3 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I will work on Sinfonia 2 in C Minor, and prelude and fugue d minor if I could find additional time.

    Like 1
  • I am working on the Partita No 2, the Capriccio and Rondeaux. Trying to use as little pedal as possible and working on accuracy as I build up speed.

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      • Hilda HuangTeam
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Teresa McGlone Awesome... I think I'm going to work on that Partita this month too :)

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    • Teresa McGlone Me too. I love that piece!

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    • Teresa McGlone I love that Partita! Who do you like that plays this piece? So many different ways to play it. I can't wait to hear your interpretation! Personally, I enjoy Martha Argerich :) xx

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    • Brother Will Green Argerich is my favorite for the 2nd Partita. She is so free and jazzy in the Capriccio! I also like Yulianna Avdeeva's interpretation...very different from Argerich, and Andras Schiff's more traditional version. I recently heard an old live radio recording on YouTube of Argerich playing the c minor toccata that has me intrigued...I think I may have to learn that toccata.  

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    • Teresa McGlone I fell in love with that Capriccio decades ago when I heard someone in a practice room playing it on the harpsichord. Those tenths! Especially measures 81-86 - something special about that passage. Been meaning to get serious about learning it - glad you are. 

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  • I was happy to hear Hilda’s suggestion to brush up an old piece and also challenge yourself to learn a new one. I have some ideas for both categories, so in the next day or two I will narrow it down to one of each. 


    Update: I have decided for the new piece to learn “Sheep May Safely Graze” Bach - Petri. For the previously learned selection, I am torn between bringing back something from the French Suite V which I learned about 12 years ago and haven’t played since, or finishing the Prelude from English Suite 3 which I started a decade ago and was only playing through slowly when I got pulled away to other pieces.

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    • Susan Rogers Looking forward!!

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    • Brother Will Green I can’t wait to hear your Bach as well!

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      • Hilda HuangTeam
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Susan Rogers I LOVE sheep may safely graze... it brings me so much peace. Did you play the whole french suite 5? what movement are you thinking of bringing back?

      Like 1
    • Hilda Huang Yes, exactly! I chose “Sheep” so I could practice a peaceful piece right now.

      When I learned the French Suite 5 - I played the Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and the Gigue. I was thinking of Allemande because it’s first, or Sarabande because it’s lovely, or Gigue because it’s happy. Perhaps Gigue to have a fast and a slow to practice. That was why I had actually changed my mind and started English Suite 3 Prelude instead of bringing back French, but maybe there’s not enough time for that. It’s tough to choose! 

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  • Hi Hilda,

    I really appreciate this corner of Tonebase now having been recently "introduced" to the Schubert Challenge of last month. That was so much fun. Thank you for doing Bach this month!

    The piece I've chosen in Bach's Sinfonia no. 15 in b minor. I learned about this piece on another piano thread, this being the demarcation test piece for level 4... Got pumped to learn it as it sight-reading the piece perfectly was a challenge. 

    The one technical decision was to practice hands separate. https://youtu.be/uZKsDTuxug4

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      • Brett Gilbert
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • brett_gilbert
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Rudelle Gaje This is fun piece to play, one of my favorites from the Sinfonias.  Looking forward to seeing the progress!

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert Thanks so much, Brett! I appreciate it. What piece are you working on?Brett Gilbert 

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    • Hi Brett, just saw that you’re working on the BWV 992…Wow. Looking forward to it!

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      • Hilda HuangTeam
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Rudelle Gaje Hi Rudelle, I'm so glad you're enjoying it. I think it's a lot of fun for everyone - and rewarding too. This is such a fun sinfonia. Actually when I learned it I remember that my piano teacher gave me a recording of the Glenn Gould recording and told me, don't play like him! 😂

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert
    • Piano and classical guitar
    • brett_gilbert
    • 3 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi fellow tonebase pianists.  I had to take a break for a few months due to a sprained finger but excited to participate in the new challenge this month with my favorite composer.  I'm going to work on an earlier and rather unique Bach piece, the Capriccio BWV 992Before my injury I was working on Goldbergs but there's a separate thread for that where I hope to post my progress as well since that's a long term project.

    BWV 992 is interesting because it is a programmatic piece with a story and descriptive text associated with each movement.  I hope to post the first movement within a day or two.  Looking forward to seeing everyone's submissions.

    Like 4
    • Brett Gilbert Looking forward to hearing it!!

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      • Hilda HuangTeam
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert I'm really glad your finger's health has improved. It's really such a privilege to play... and what a great choice of piece. Who have you heard play it before? How did you come to know of it?

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