Author Topic: The Art of Fugue  (Read 77647 times)

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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #340 on: May 08, 2017, 01:15:36 PM »
The liner notes to Elizabeth Farr's recording on Naxos argue that Bach liked the lautenwerk so well he had at least two built for him, and wrote the lute works for the lautenwerk, not the lute.  I must admit I didn't like the instrument Farr herself used  in that recording.

As for fortepiano, Wikipedia yielded this link via the Wayback machine
https://web.archive.org/web/20130613105200/http://www.jc-neupert.de/e/instr_2/silber_ham.htm

But we have no direct statements from Bach about either of these instruments. And particularly the "complete approval" of Silbermann's fortepianos might be made for commercial reasons, because Bach acted as agent for Silbermann's instruments.
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Offline Gordo

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #341 on: May 08, 2017, 01:25:48 PM »
Quote Karosi:
The present recording presents all commonly available keyboard instruments to Bach (except the Lautenwerk and the fortepiano which he did not particularly like).

And this is of course nonsense. We know nothing about Bach's opinion of these two instruments.

And several hints indicate he loved the lautenwerk:

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J.S. Bach's connection with and interest in the Lautenwerk was considerable. He clearly liked the combination of softness with strength which these instruments are capable of producing, and he is known to have drawn up his own specifications for such an instrument to be built for him by Hildebrandt. In an annotation to Adlung's Musica mechanica organoedi, Johann Friedrich Agricola described a Lautenwerk that belonged to Bach:

The editor of these notes remembers having seen and heard a "Lautenclavicymbel" in Leipzig in about 1740, designed by Mr. Johann Sebastian Bach and made by Mr. Zacharias Hildebrand, which was smaller in size than a normal harpsichord but in all other respects similar. It had two choirs of gut strings, and a so-called little octave of brass strings. It is true that in its normal setting (that is, when only one stop was drawn) it sounded more like a theorbo than a lute. But if one drew the lute-stop (such as is found on a harpsichord) together with the cornet stop [?the 4' brass stop undamped], one could almost deceive professional lutenists.”

The inventory of Bach's possessions at the time of his death reveals that he owned two such instruments, as well as three harpsichords, one lute and a spinet.

http://www.baroquemusic.org/barluthp.html
Musica lætitiæ comes medicina dolorum
(Music is a companion to joy and a medicine for pains)

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #342 on: May 08, 2017, 01:39:49 PM »
And several hints indicate he loved the lautenwerk:

http://www.baroquemusic.org/barluthp.html

Yes, I think you are right, but we only have indirect "proof". That he got some lautenwerk's built for him, does not prove, that he was satisfied with the results.

However my reaction was caused by Karosi's claim, that Bach might not like the instrument that much. This is certainly an unfounded claim.

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kishnevi

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #343 on: May 08, 2017, 04:16:02 PM »
But we have no direct statements from Bach about either of these instruments. And particularly the "complete approval" of Silbermann's fortepianos might be made for commercial reasons, because Bach acted as agent for Silbermann's instruments.

I think he would not be an agent if he disliked the fortepiano.

(But now I am bit confused. Was Silbermann the piano builder the same as Silbermann the organ builder?)

Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #344 on: May 08, 2017, 07:14:39 PM »
I think he would not be an agent if he disliked the fortepiano.

(But now I am bit confused. Was Silbermann the piano builder the same as Silbermann the organ builder?)

Yes. Gottfried Silbermann; a harpsichord and a clavichord supposedly from his hand also exist.

Bach and Silbermann had a love-hate relationship; Bach praised his instruments (and played at the inaugurations of several of his instruments e.g. Dresden Frauenkirche) but criticized him mainly for his temperament and possibly his relative tonal conservatism when compared to e.g. Trost, Hildebrandt etc. (Silbermann mass-produced many organs with identical stoplists, while the others were more apt to experiment with different reeds, strings, etc.)

For lautenwerk recordings try out Rubsam's recordings. Mandryka introduced them and I've gotten addicted.
https://www.wolfgangrubsam.com/the-lautenwerk
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 07:16:36 PM by bioluminescentsquid »

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #345 on: May 08, 2017, 11:50:08 PM »
I think he would not be an agent if he disliked the fortepiano.

Probably not, but it is hard to know for sure (Bach really needed the possible income from his agency), and no definite conclusions can be made.

Quote from: Jeffrey Smith
(But now I am bit confused. Was Silbermann the piano builder the same as Silbermann the organ builder?)

Gottfried Silbermann as stated by bioluminescentsquid above, - not to confuse with his brother the organ builder Andreas Silbermann and Andreas' son the organ builder Johan Andreas.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #346 on: May 09, 2017, 12:52:32 AM »
Just coming at this question of piano from a slightly different direction.

If you listen to Enrico Baiano playing Scarlatti K481, I think the sustain of the piano in that sonata sounds so good that it's not crazy to imagine that DS intended a piano effect. Same for the dynamics in Baiano's k 426. In Bach, I can't ever remember hearing a piano performance which is so convincing, maybe I'm forgetting something. The obvious thing to think about would be the Ricercar à 3 from Opfer, but I wouldn't say that piano performances of that are so convincing, I mean their OK but  they don't make me think that the music has finally found its natural home again.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 12:47:46 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #347 on: May 08, 2018, 12:47:00 PM »
In Marie Claire Alain's second recording she wrote an essay praising a book called L'art de la fugue de J.S. Bach by Jacques Chailley (Alfonse Leduc, Paris, 1971) The book includes a discographical study by Christine Prost, which contains these perceptive notes on Walcha. My rapid and unrevised, unchecked translation.

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The organ at St Laurent Alkmaar has the clear and intense sounds of a baroque instrument. H Walcha uses it with economy, which gives his interpretation a perfect lucidity of line, in  a beautiful atmosphere which is both introspective and paired down to the essentials. The whole thing is deliberately austere, but sensitive.  These parts stand out for different reasons

cpt 8  -- dazzling, superb
cpt 20 -- the registration, which is different for each section, allows us to grasp the architecture
cpt 17 -- treated with finesse and lightness
the  cannons -- the varied colours give them a sustained interest
the final fugue, of which the sumptuousness seems all the more dazzling because the conception of the whole is so discrete. It finishes by a chord in D minor placed in the first beat of the bar left incomplete by Bach, and replacing it
 
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 12:49:46 PM by Mandryka »
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