Because It's Hard

Ludwig Milde's tenth concert study for bassoon is a cantankerous, twisty little piece in C# minor. It is awkward and uncomfortable to play, and it is difficult to make the notes speak with the required rapidity. It is, in other words, Not Fun to practice.

I mention this specific étude not because it is unique in Milde's output for its difficulty, but because it's the one I happened to be working on when I was doing college visits my junior year of high school. On one such visit, I played for George Sakakeeny at Oberlin Conservatory. After working on some techniques specific to various problem spots, he asked why Milde hadn't written the thing a half-step lower in C minor. It would make everything much easier to play, and would probably sound better given the natural resonances of the bassoon after all. The answer he was looking for, and the only answer I find satisfactory, is that he wrote it where he did because it's hard.

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This is probably not what Bach intended.

I'm going to be uploading the next movement of the third cello suite next Friday, and it's going to be . . . a little different. It'll still be very recognizably Bach, but I'm taking liberties with it, many more than I have in the other movements, and many more also than I'd take if I were playing the piece in an audition for judges who would doubtless know the score. Normally I'd just put it out there as-is with minimal comment, but this touches on a larger issue that I have a lot of thoughts about, so I'm going to take this post to justify what iI've done with the Sarabande.

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