Bach’s Keyboard Counterpoint and the Aesthetics of Simultaneity: A Lecture Recital with Ben Laude

Bach’s Keyboard Counterpoint and the Aesthetics of Simultaneity: Finger Independence as the Bridge Between Technique and Expression

with pianist Ben Laude

This lecture-performance revisits a perennial technical problem for pianists, namely finger independence, as a way of addressing the aesthetic questions involved in interpreting musical works. I focus on Bach’s keyboard music as a privileged site for cultivating finger independence in a specifically musical way. That is, the technical feat of simultaneously performing unlike actions in different fingers is, at one and the same time, an aesthetic achievement. While the importance of differentiating contrapuntal voices in Bach is for the most part taken for granted, it is my claim that its significance is understated. Its value, not only to the performance of Bach but also to the interpretation of the rich and varied repertoire spawned after Bach (and largely under his influence), remains to be fully appreciated. Drawing from my own experience as a pedagogue, my training as a concert pianist, and my research into the history of piano performance practice, I hope to interrogate the technical challenge of finger independence as site for drawing broadly significant lessons for music making.

This event is free and open to the public
Pianist Benjamin Laude maintains a multifaceted career as a performer, writer, and teacher. His research interests include the legacy of early 19th Century German aesthetics in North America and its impact on two centuries of art music institutions, as well as the concept of musical autonomy in its relation to piano performance. He holds a DMA in Piano Performance from the Juilliard School. His reviews and writings on diverse subjects have appeared in International Piano magazine, Jacobin, and Parterre Box.

November 17, 2018 - 8:00pm