Bach-Liszt – Organ Prelude in A Minor, BWV 543. Detailed Piano Tutorial and Real-Time Practice

 

bach-prelude-pianocareer03Hi guys! Are you up for a challenge? :P

Today’s video lesson is dedicated to an amazing black-belt masterpiece for the advanced level (one of my all-time favorites!) – Liszt’s transcription of Bach’s Organ Prelude in A Minor (from the Prelude & Fugue cycle BWV 543) 8).

Besides being a detailed tutorial that will help you to analyze, practice and master the Prelude – this video is also a part of a new project that I recently launched for the members of my Piano Coaching Program at PianoCareerAcademy.com.

This project is entitled Real-Time Practice – and its purpose is to take you ‘behind the curtain’ and offer you a realistic insight into how professional pianists practice (and you’ll find out more by watching the video below)!

In today’s tutorial, we will:

  • analyze the artistic concept, characters and dramaturgy of the Prelude;
  • set and bring out important expressive tasks – dynamics, phrasing, voicing, articulation, tempo etc.;
  • ‘decode’ all the polyphonic puzzles;
  • conquer the many technical challenges;

…and, since this is also a Real-Time Practice video, you will find step-by-step practice tips for each and every phrase! ;)

Part I of this tutorial (focused on bars 1-35 from the Prelude) is available here on PianoCareer.com (and also on my YouTube channel).

Part II (dedicated to the final section of the Prelude) is available only in the Members Area of PianoCareerAcademy.com (and there you can also download the edited score of the Prelude, with my detailed dynamic/tempo/voicing/character recommendations).

Before watching the video, you can download the unedited score of the complete Prelude & Fugue in A Minor – by clicking on the link below:
Bach-Liszt – Prelude & Fugue in A Minor, BWV 543

And now let’s get started! ;)

Bach-Liszt – Organ Prelude in A Minor, BWV 543.
Detailed Tutorial and Real-Time Practice
.

 Part I: Practicing bars 1-35.

Video highlights:

00:02. Introduction. On our menu today…
01:12. Real-Time Practice – a new project on PianoCareerAcademy.com!

01:51. The Prelude in A Minor – a short overview.
02:19. The artistic concept and main expressive tasks of the Prelude.

02:52. The Introduction (bars 1-9). The 1st phrase. Avoiding a ‘mechanical’ character. The organ and the violin. Voicing and phrasing.
05:54. The 2nd phrase [with triplets]. Step-by-step practice tips.
09:00. Pedaling. Underlying harmonies.
11:34. The 3rd phrase. Voicing and phrasing.

14:43. The section starting in bar 10 and its dramaturgy. Creating the gradual (and horizontal) dramatic increase leading to the culmination. Phrasing and dynamics.
16:46. Creating a ’rounded phrase shape’ for the the first couple of phrases of this section. Conquering the technical challenges. Practicing without pedal.
21:00. Practice tips for bar 20 (where we have hand crossings).
21:26. Voicing tips for this section (bars 10-21).
22:17. Connecting this section.

23:43. The culminating fragment (bars 22-25). Practice tips for the RH passage and the trill. The importance of horizontal thinking.
26:37. Pedaling recommendations for keeping the A ‘organ point’ in the LH sounding for as long as possible.
27:43. Bar 24. Practicing the LH octaves.
29:50. Reaching ff in the beginning of bar 25. Playing with a very powerful yet non-percussive sound. RH practice for this bar.

31:40. The section starting in the 2nd half of bar 25: the presentation of the Theme in the low register. Dramaturgy, character, dynamics, voicing.
33:19. Practicing the ‘layered’ polyphonic structure from bar 29.
37:00. Dynamic recommendations.
38:50. Always imagine how a phrase/motif/spot should sound before playing it!
39:22. Pedaling ‘research’ for bars 30-31.
40:41. Creating little dynamic ‘waves’ with each ‘rise and fall’ of the melodic layout.
42:08. Practicing the phrase with 32 notes (starting in bar 33).

48:12. Conclusion.

Get access to PART II of this tutorial (a step-by-step Practice Guide for the final section of Bach’s Organ Prelude in A Minor) by becoming a member of my Piano Coaching Program at PianoCareerAcademy.com! 😉

In the Private Members Area you will also discover many hundreds of other exclusive tutorials for ALL levels (including step-by-step courses and interactive projects) that reveal the professional secrets of the Russian piano school, helping you to acquire a whole new perspective on piano playing, to develop and transform your technical & expressive skills so that you can play freely, confidently and brilliantly! 8)

One more important thing: when leaning a new piece, don’t forget to listen to recordings of great pianists!

Out of all the recordings I could find on YouTube, my favorite at the moment is by Lise de la Salle. I also encourage you to listen to some other recordings as well (for having a deeper understanding of the expressive potential of this music) – such as Alexis Weissenberg’s.

Practice with love and inspiration,
Ilinca

P.S. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or (and now also on Pinterest!) to get instant updates, support and motivation! ;)

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2 Responses to “Bach-Liszt – Organ Prelude in A Minor, BWV 543. Detailed Piano Tutorial and Real-Time Practice”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Don Porter says:

    Hi Ilinca,

    I wish to join pianocareer.com, as I recently finished up with my regular piano teacher. Many of your free video tutorials are a level or two higher than my current ability. You also have a big focus on chopin and romantic period works. Do you have many tuturials catering to early intermediate to intermediate level material? Do you also specialise in Baroque and classical period works? It would be really useful if you had a full alphabetical list of all of your video tutorials for prospective students. One last question. How would I maximise or align what I learn from you with an exam program in Australia? I wish to do exams but often find it hard to reconcile offerings on online educational sites with my list of exam pieces.

    Many thanks,

    Don.

    • Ilinca says:

      Hi Don,

      This is Natalia, Ilinca Vartic’s assistant at PianoCareerAcademy.com (PCA). Thank you for your message!

      Please find my inserted answers below each one of your questions:

      Many of your free video tutorials are a level or two higher than my current ability. You also have a big focus on chopin and romantic period works. Do you have many tuturials catering to early intermediate to intermediate level material?

      Yes, absolutely! Most of the tutorials available on PianoCareerAcademy.com are addressed to the beginner and intermediate levels. Our free tutorials are a grain of sand as compared to what you can find in the Members Area. The free videos are focused on romantic/advanced works because this is what our YouTube subscribers prefer – but in the Members Area, things are very different: everything is structured in a step-by-step manner, and a lot of emphasis is put on building all the fundamentals correctly (according to the progressive system used in the Russian piano school).

      Do you also specialise in Baroque and classical period works?

      Yes, of course! A professional teacher specializes in all academic styles – baroque, classical, romantic, post-romantic and impressionist. All these styles are covered in our tutorials, according to the balanced repertoire approach used in the Russian piano school (which you will be able to study once you join).

      It would be really useful if you had a full alphabetical list of all of your video tutorials for prospective students.

      We do have such a list – it is publicly available here on PianoCareer.com:
      Piano Career Academy – Complete List of Tutorials.

      Please note that this is not an alphabetical list. Instead, all our hundreds of tutorials are structure according to categories, projects and levels. Also, the pieces featured in a certain category are listed according to eras and styles.

      How would I maximise or align what I learn from you with an exam program in Australia?

      Ilinca Vartic (the founder of PCA) graduated a Russian-style Conservatory, having a Masters degree in piano teaching and performance. Therefore, all her tutorials and courses (available for our members at PCA) are focused on the professional principles of the Russian piano school.

      The Russian piano system is more detailed and complex as compared to ABRSM, RCM and other musical systems used in US, UK and Australia. For this reason, it’s difficult to make an exact comparison between these different schools – or give you a step-by-step ‘transition plan’.

      So how does it work? By following Ilinca’s tutorials, you will acquire in-depth knowledge and professional-level skills that will help you to become a better pianist and musician (including important expressive/technical principles that are not even mentioned in Western curriculums). Then, it will be easy for you to apply this knowledge to any piece you practice – regardless of the curriculum it belongs to. Most of our students that do exams in UK, Australia or US find the requirements quite easy (as compared to what they study on our site).

      You can learn more about PianoCareerAcademy.com and its functionality by taking a look at our detailed FAQs – for example:
      No. 1-3: discover what PianoCareerAcademy is, how it works, what is included (and what is not included) in the membership (including our Complete List of Tutorials).
      No. 4-6: learn more about our membership options (monthly and yearly) – and how they work.
      No. 17: a detailed description of our Video Course for Beginners.
      No. 19: a detailed description of the Scale & Arpeggio Course.
      No. 35: about our curriculums and courses for different levels.
      No. 40: a description of our Sight-Reading Course.

      Also, please feel free to take a look at any other FAQ that might interest you, before registration.

      If you have other questions about the functionality of PianoCareerAcademy.com, please don’t hesitate to ask!

      I hope that my answer was helpful – and we’re looking forward to welcoming you to our community! 😉

      Sincerely,
      Natalia
      Customer Support
      PianoCareerAcademy.com

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