Monday, March 25, 2013

Haydn Points to Bach

After many years of reluctance to play Bach on the piano the Two-Part Inventions are pulling me back with increasing force.  They epitomize all that has been wrong with the notion of playing Bach on the modern piano, as the emphasis in teaching the piano to young learners (to anyone, actually) has been technique--not at all the same as music.

As soon as the ear is actively engaged touch becomes an extension of the imagination, not the product of muscular coordination.  Muscular coordination is instructed by the inner ear directing line and impulse, singing through the finger tips almost literally. 

Bach's music, so often identified with order and procedure, is as lively as music gets.  A look at the B-flat Partita (No. 1 of Part I of the Clavieruebung) has me planning a move in that direction.

I thank Haydn for it--not that he was directly influenced by J.S. B., but because his piano writing yields insight into the difference between modern approaches to the instrument and those of the 18th century.