Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 4 – Samuel Feinberg
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Two of the chorales offer us the chance to compare Feinberg’s transcriptions with those of Busoni: BWV665 in E minor, and BWV659 in G minor. In the latter piece we find a large number of different choices in the two versions. The tempo is Adagio in Busoni’s transcription, followed by numerous character indications, and Largo in Feinberg’s, and this qualified only by the word espressivo. As for dynamics, Busoni marks the whole piece piano (with the suggestion to play una corda except during the cantus firmus passages), while Feinberg suggests a basic pianissimo dynamic with numerous small crescendi and decrescendi. In terms of musical ‘breathing’, Busoni insists that there should be no rallentando at the entry of the cantus firmus; Feinberg suggests one not there but instead at the end of each sequence. As for phrasing and articulation, Busoni suggests very little: a simple legato, albeit with indications of pedal; Feinberg insists on a constant legatissimo with numerous phrase markings but no pedal. The two transcribers thus seem to have envisaged widely divergent scenarios. Despite this, however, there are other aspects in which the composers are much closer together.
from notes by Christophe Sirodeau © 2004
English: Andrew Barnett