Braving the Berkeley Apartment Terrain and Coming Out a You Tube Survivor!

Recording and apartment living can be at odds with each other.

Today was first, and I'll share a snippet from a trashed Mac video segment that preceded the one that made it to You Tube, with compensatory adjustments.

Living in an apartment has its down side, particularly if you're a musician needing some peace and quiet to record. (Garbage bins are within earshot)


I just happened to fall in love with Bach this week and craved a sacred silence to play into.

No such luck. First it was the adjacent laundry room whoosh sounds from the washer, then the drone of the dryer. Otherwise I shared one common wall with the Pizza place owner to my left.  (My landlord said, he "loved" good music and all)

So into the 25th NEW PROJECT mouse click on my Mac, I activated the internal camera eye hoping this would be the final take of J.S. Bach's Little Prelude in G minor, BWV 929--

A scad of interruptions had been the rule.

The upscale Day Care over the fence produced screaming kids, chimes every 20 minutes to mark activity changes; snacks, lunch, naps, and parent pick-ups. A toddler named "Nehru" and another, "Ashkenazy" kvetched for three hours straight! Enough!

Yet miraculously, out of nowhere I was blessed with a rare silence – my cue to take a deep breath, hoping my 1:05 miniature would make it to the final cadence (for the benefit of a Skype student in Bangladesh)

At that precise moment, I recalled my hero, Pablo Casals (cellist) saying that a musician could turn a phrase in a unique way.. Like with a crescendo, he could do the opposite, in a such a manner that it was awe-inspiring. In a masterclass he had demonstrated his ideas with Bach's music that was nearly bare of phrase markings in its original manuscript.

So I took my cue from Don Pablo, and found myself dreaming the imitative counterpoint in a way that indulged the muse of inspiration.

Add in my understanding of the violin and cello, where the bow created subtleties in phrasing and dynamics, I related the sense of "feel" and weight transfer into the keys.

Some pianists mapped out everything they played to the last detail so that nothing could be left to chance though I believed that an extra bit of spontaneity made the piece a new discovery, in the way that a child experienced a first sunset.

In this trance-like state, my recording played out:


And in the cutting room, here's what ensued:


P.S. Note the amazing counterpoint between soprano, alto, and bass. I believe the pianist or keyboardist should make the listener aware of three independent voices, each with its own "color."

Bonus videos: Two additional Little Preludes that found their way to You Tube without a hitch: (after hours)

BWV 939 in C Major


BWV 926 in D minor


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