This week I am practicing my new arrangement of the suite BWV 1004 for 7-String Guitar, and studying Beethoven’s 8th Symphony. They are both extraordinary works.
The Beethoven has no slow movement! It goes from stately to playful to regal to joyous, all in brisk tempi.
Having recently looked again at Haydn’s Sieben letzten Worte (Seven Last Words), which is almost entirely slow, the Beethoven is an amazing contrast.
I had the privilege of conducting the Haydn some four years ago back in 2016 in London, and it is incredible to see how my ears and interpretation have changed as the result of the Bach arranging that I have done in the mean time. My ability to imagine Haydn’s musical time is vastly improved now that it is colored more by the music that he knew than the music that has been composed since.