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Johann Sebastian Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias, better known as two- and three-part inventions, were an integral part of the teaching repertoire used in the composer's piano lessons. And they still are! For piano pupils, there is no getting away from them, for their basic demands, that is 'to learn to play in tune' and 'to achieve to play in a cantabile style', are still valid. The new edition of the Wiener Urtext Edition follows consistently Bach's autograph fair copy. Ornamented versions from copies by Bach's pupils providing an insight into Bach's ornamentation have been printed separately; any mixing of the different versions has been deliberately avoided. A suggestion has been made, by means of an example, for the realization of the ornament signs of Sinfonia No. 5. The notes on interpretation and the critical remarks provide information on further aspects of the performance practice. They are to be considered as suggestions and encouragement to study works the execution of which had not been laid down to the last detail, thus opening up a wide range of creative possibilities for teaching.
A new edition of pieces as universally available as Bach's Two- and Three-part Inventions may appear unnecessary but in this state-of-the art offering, Ulrich Leisinger's editorial and interpretive notes provide a wealth of new information. In addition to the fascinating background on Bach's career and speculation over his decision to relaunch these well-loved works (possibly to prove his professional skills to new employees at St Thomas's in 1723), there are practical suggestions over ornamentation, articulation and tempo. Particularly useful is the inclusion of ornamented realisations taken from copies of these pieces that belonged to Bach's pupils. In total there are ornamented versions of seven pieces (Invention 7 and Sinfonias 3,4,7,9,11 and 13) in addition to a fascinating 'rhythmic realisation' of Sinfonia 5. Most novel of all is the insertion of a later version of the opening C major Invention BWV772a, complete with triplets in literally every bar! (…). International Piano 01/02/2008 (Murray McLachlan)
Shop shelves may already be laden with rival editions of the Bach Two- and Three-Part Inventions (their alternative title), but scholars and players still searching need look no further than this new Wiener Urtext. Even experienced players should find something new amid the excellent notes on history and interpretation (like the answer to 'why write sometimes in 318 time and elsewhere in 3/4?'). Stave-allocation is player-friendly, even switching clefs in midstream for easier sight-reading (not all Urtexts do this), and fingering is discreet and ingenious (as in the Invention No 4, marked to start with 2 1). No editorial phrasing or dynamics, of course, but a generous slab of text, including two versions each of Inventions Nos 1 and 7, Sinfonias Nos 3,4,7,9,11 and 13 a ferocious-looking ornamental realisation of Sinfonia No 5 - all except the last printed in a big and bold typeface, a blessing to anyone with failing eyesight - and two pages of facsimile with which the adventurous can practice reading soprano clef. Music Teacher 05/2008 (Michael Round)