Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

A few years ago a short sketch for a Bagatelle from 1826 was identified among Beethoven's sketches for his last stringquartett. On this beautiful melancholic theme with an harmonically interesting bassline I wrote 8 variations for piano. Besides bars 9-12 the first 16 bars are from Beethoven.

What do you think ...?

http://gerdprengel.de/var_bagatelle.mp3

http://gerdprengel.de/var_bagatelle.pdf

Gerd

Views: 85

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

This is a very fascinating, creative, original and ambitious idea and project!

I'll make a start with some observations or suggestions, which are more structural, rather than musical, I suppose.

I listened half way through initially and started to notice, that I was not really sure about the progressions of variations. For example I wondered, how it would feel for the listener, if you were to swap variation 2 and 1 around - to allow a more gradual expansion of options (variation one is rather busy and surprising; rhythmically, it reminded me of the Jazz standard "Take Five", or Dave Brubeck's "Unsquare Dance" - or both! Perhaps this would even be a choice as the last or second-to last variation).

On the other hand of a more gentle start, perhaps it could be useful to introduce a variation with a key change earlier as currently, to mix up the relatively repetitive sound of the first musical phrase more. 

I liked the Cantabile variation a lot. The fugato is clever; I wonder if the right hand in bar 200 and 207 is (unecessarily) tricky (I am not pianist as such, I should say). The piece looks challenging overall, but, probably quite rewarding. A great effort!

Dear Tillerich, thank you for your thoughtful considerations. I wrote 7 variations already a few years ago and only this first variation ("cantabile ed agitato") came to me just last week and I was wondering where to put it. Maybe I should indeed put it as a 2nd variation I will try and present this solution if it fits ...  I am glad you like it :-)  I will also consider to make the mentioned 2 bars from the fugato easier...

Gerd

As long as you can play the bars okay - it will be fine (solange Du diese Takte problemlos spielen kannst, dann ist doch alles in Ordnung...!).

Gerd Prengel said:

Dear Tillerich, thank you for your thoughtful considerations. I wrote 7 variations already a few years ago and only this first variation ("cantabile ed agitato") came to me just last week and I was wondering where to put it. Maybe I should indeed put it as a 2nd variation I will try and present this solution if it fits ...  I am glad you like it :-)  I will also consider to make the mentioned 2 bars from the fugato easier...

Gerd

Dear Tillerich, I followed your proposal and changed the sequence of the first 2 variations and I think it is indeed better now! Former Var 2 is now Var 1. Danke!

Great job here, Gerd!

I immensely enjoyed the carefully contrived variations! They were cleverly done and you deserve a big thumbs-up for them.

As a pianist, I do have a couple of suggestions. There are some unseemly jumps, notably m34-37, that may prove unnecessarily difficult, depending on the tempo. I also take issue with the dyads in the left hand throughout the Cantabile variation. It again produces some difficulty without adding much musical reward (at least in my opinion). The Fugato looks fun to play and I don't think the passage Tillerich pointed out is problematic. But that's just my opinion.

Thanks for sharing!

Thank you, Jörfi, for your encouraging words! But what do you exactly mean with " dyads in the left hand throughout the Cantabile variation. It again produces some difficulty". Are the jumps too difficult? What do you suggest?

Gerd 

Beautiful.

Where do you find these sketches?

Hi Gerd,

Quite an accomplishment again here! It is a very serious piece of work in a not so easy harmonization. I like all the variations a lot, but most the Cantabile, which bares to my ears the finest musicality.

What strikes me somehow is the bass line. It doesn't sound classical, mainly because of the frequent use of the 6th in the bass. From your introduction I've noticed that the first bars where written by Beethoven (except 9-12). In the following bars I noticed some parallelles in the voices which normally wouldn't occur in classical music. The opening chord looks a bit strange as well, although it sounds 'unexpectedly' good. Since I didn't see the sketch, I can't judge anything correctly, but some things in the bass line seem strange. Sometimes it's unclear where the tone center is and the 6ths are misleading. They are normally used with a purpose (changing tone center, harmonic tension, unexpected turns, first inversion...). In classicism and early romanticism one would expect a more traditional harmonization with ground bass on stressed tacts (unless certain effects are to be created of course). Therefore my question: is this the actual bass line or just one of the voices? It could be some annotations for further elaboration in the quartet, to be assigned to one of the inner voices...

But apart of my considerations, you did a great job and deserve all respect for it!

Many congratulations,

Jos

The jumps aren't too bad. It's the double notes that must be hit in rapid succession that increase the difficulty.

Gerd Prengel said:

Thank you, Jörfi, for your encouraging words! But what do you exactly mean with " dyads in the left hand throughout the Cantabile variation. It again produces some difficulty". Are the jumps too difficult? What do you suggest?

Gerd 

Thank you, Jos, for your remarks. The bassline is indeed from Beethoven. Here some explanations:

https://www.pianostreet.com/blog/piano-news/beethovens-last-piano-p...

and the notes:  https://www.pianostreet.com/beethoven_bagatelle_f-minor_pse.pdf

But i don't understand your reference to the "6th" in the bass. The 6th in F-Minor is Db, isn't it? And this not not frequently used in the bassline... Dominantly it is however indeed in the melody as its first note and with an A in the bass which is indeed unsusual (and beautiful!), also the Ab in the melody with an E in the bass.

Gerd

Hi Gerd,

Obviously we talk about different harmony approaches here. There are indeed two systems to indicate the chords in classical harmony: the bass note system and the ground note system. In the first system you count from the written bass note to the top (see your first cord A written, top note Db in the chord of F minor), so the distance is a 6th. In the ground note system, you always count from the fundamental chord bass note (which would here be an F). I was already surprised to see the piece opening with an altered chord, but yes, Beethoven was experimenting a lot and therefore this is not so surprising.

I hope I could make myself clear, it is rather difficult in English... (Not our mother tongue)

Ah, now I understand your point :-)

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Sign up info

Read before you sign up to find out what the requirements are!

Store

© 2021   Created by Gav Brown.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service