Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Fugue in E flat Major

  1. #1
    Apprentice, Piano
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    7
    Post Thanks / Like

    Fugue in E flat Major

    I wonder which tempo I should play Bach's Fugue in E flat Major BWV 552. My teacher in organ said I should play the third parts in the same tempo. I hesitates on that. What do you think about the tempo?

  2. #2
    Captain of Water Music Thomas Dressler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    373
    Post Thanks / Like
    This is a question I have struggled with over the years, and I still am not sure I know a definitive answer. One of my favorite fugues is the double fugue in F (BWV 540), which presents similar difficulties. I've studied with teachers (including one famous one) who insisted that the tempos should be the same for both fugues. On the other hand, they also insisted when playing Rheinberger that the tempo should remain the same throughout a single movement. I could never get that to work, and finally realized through research that it is very likely that Rheinberger WOULD have varied tempos in a single movement. I know of no evidence proving that Bach would NOT have varied tempos, but I know of nothing proving that he DID, either. When I play BWV 540, I still go back and forth on how I do it, but the way I do it most often is with a slightly faster tempo for the second fugue. I have not performed BWV 552, so I can't say for sure, but I might consider a slight change of tempo. BUT I don't think it should be drastic. I think it should be a subtle change that the audience probably will not notice. If it's too noticeable, or a real "bump" I think it's probably too much. On the other hand, I would still experiment with trying to find the one consistent tempo that works. I still do that sometimes with BWV 540. It's possible that Bach did NOT want a tempo change, and that it's MY concept of how the sections should go that is wrong. We need to always consider this. But I cannot say that, at this point, I know which is "right."

  3. #3
    Apprentice, Piano Messiaen's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    EU
    Posts
    9
    Post Thanks / Like

    tempo of the three persons of the Trinity

    Each part of the fugue symbolize the three persons of the Trinity. I would play it in different tempo:

    First part:
    half note = 66

    Second part:
    dotted half note = 52/54

    Third part:
    dotted quarter note = 54

  4. #4
    Midshipman, Forte
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    25
    Post Thanks / Like
    It's clear, that now is impossible to find direct evidences, whether Bach practicised tempo changes or not. So, now it became case of performer's choise. As for me, I prefer to do tempo changes. And I find, that the requirement of constant tempo during the whole piece bears more teaching purpose, than aesthetic one.

  5. #5
    Captain of Water Music Thomas Dressler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    373
    Post Thanks / Like
    I just played the F major double fugue this weekend (BWV 540) and at this point I feel the need to play the first fugue at a broader tempo. I almost put a fermata on the last note of the first fugue and then start the second fugue at a livelier tempo. The times I have played it with a common tempo throughout have been experimental, it seems--always an attempt to see if I can find that one perfect tempo. I think I always compromise the first fugue when I do that, so at this point I weigh in favor of the tempo change.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •