Cool Coffee Machines - Click to see details on Amazon. All sales from these links support your forum.

Author Topic: The Art of Fugue  (Read 38027 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online Que

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 9911
  • "One HIP dude"
  • Location: The Hague, Netherlands
  • Currently Listening to:
    Still nuts about harpsichord music and exploring Early Music.
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #60 on: March 12, 2011, 01:36:45 AM »
Before I made the thread, I've tried to search "Art of Fugue" ... but NONE appeared ... that's why I made the thread.

When you are doing a search for a thread, make sure that you:

1) first go to the home page, or else only the thread you are in is being searched.
2) tick the box that says "Search in topic subjects only"

Anyway, you have arrived on the right thread! :) On harpsichord I love Robert Hill:



Q
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 01:38:31 AM by Que »
À chacun son goût.

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3679
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #61 on: March 12, 2011, 01:39:10 AM »
I meant colour really.

Well, this makes more sense. But still I think, that the musical variety is so great, that a variety in colour is unnecessary, and maybe even  distracts from the musical variety. Personally I prefer the organ for this work - not because of the variations in colour made possible, but because of the sustaining power of the organ as compared to harpsichord and piano.

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3679
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #62 on: March 12, 2011, 01:43:03 AM »
It's musical variety in a fairly strict uniform - all cpti are in d minor, etc.

Uniform, and for that very reason, concentrated variety is often one of the points in Bachs works.

Offline FideLeo

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2111
  • 2 HIPs Hooray! ^_^
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #63 on: March 12, 2011, 01:48:48 AM »
Uniform, and for that very reason, concentrated variety is often one of the points in Bachs works.

(Inward variety)
Perhaps one that labeled him 'old-fashioned' even among his contemporaries?
HIP for all and all for HIP! Harpsichord for Bach, fortepiano for Beethoven and pianoforte for Brahms!

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3679
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #64 on: March 12, 2011, 01:55:50 AM »
(Inward variety)
Perhaps one that labeled him 'old-fashioned' even among his contemporaries?

Yes, inward variety. This illustrates well why "fashion" is so endless irrelevant.

Offline Marc

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2444
  • Sine Cerere et Bach friget Venus
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #65 on: March 12, 2011, 03:02:51 AM »
During the last plm. 6 months, Die Kunst der Fuge has 'developed' itself to one of my favourite pieces ever.

I like Lionel Rogg's recording (organ) very much:



http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Art-Fugue-Organ-Concertos/dp/B000NPCMHQ/

Another good one, IMO, is played by Alessio Corti (organ again), part of his integral. Unfortunately, this one is not easy to get.
But here's a link to a live performance:

http://avaxhome.ws/music/classical/bach_kunst_der_fuge.html

For the harpsichord, I would recommand Christian Rieger:



http://www.amazon.com/J-S-Bach-Fugue-Johann-Sebastian/dp/B002KPW3YE/

As Prem... err, Aulos said: variety in abundance! :)
Help support the GMG Classical Music Forum by purchasing from Amazon using this link, this link, or this link

Antoine Marchand

  • Guest
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #66 on: March 12, 2011, 05:42:23 AM »
I have that too, but it is the only instance I can recall of preferring the Marriner version of something.



I find Marriner's version creamy and a bit soporific; "nice" at its best. Münchinger, on the other hand, breathes contrapuntal clarity, concentration, a tremendous discipline and expressive economy. Before him I thought I would never enjoy an orchestral version without some feeling of falsification.

« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 05:51:16 AM by Antoine Marchand »

Offline mjwal

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 500
  • Location: Lagorce/France - Berlin
  • Currently Listening to:
    Goehr, Beethoven, William Lawes, Giuffre Trio, Steve Lacy, Eisler
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #67 on: March 12, 2011, 08:30:21 AM »
I got to know the Kunst der Fuge in performances by Gould (incomplete) on LP,and on CD Pommer conducting Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig in his version, Moroney on harpsichord, and Scherchen (Westminster/Millennium) conducting his own very varied instrumental version, which I often play for pleasure; I haven't heard the earlier recording of the Vuataz instrumentation mentioned above. I was bored by the Keller quartet version somebody presented us with.There is a pretty exhaustive discography here -
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV1080-Rec1.htm
 Does anyone know the "Renaissance" version (viols etc) by Savall? or the Zender-led Stiedry version? This and the Musikalisches Opfer are my favourite Bach works, perhaps also because I love encountering these two works anew in different forms, though I think it is a good idea to return to a relatively unvarnished presentation at times e.g.. the Moroney (of the KdF) - I'm probably not going to buy any more interpretations to weigh down the groaning shelves, though if I find interesting versions online I might download them. I find it odd that the first recording of the work was of the string quartet version in 1934. As far as the putative unity of the work is concerned, what is the best order of the fugues and canons? I have read that Bach probably did complete the quadruple fugue after all - but it strikes me as strange that his sons didn't know about it. Anybody have something to say about this? I would also be interested to hear what any of you might have to say about Busoni's meditation on and partial incorporation of the KdF  in his Fantasia Contrappuntistica (not to mention Sorabji's response to that in his Opus Clavicembalisticum...)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 08:34:07 AM by mjwal »
The Violin's Obstinacy

It needs to return to this one note,
not a tune and not a key
but the sound of self it must depart from,
a journey lengthily to go
in a vein it knows will cripple it.
...
Peter Porter

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3679
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #68 on: March 12, 2011, 09:28:47 AM »
IMO the logical sequence is

Contrapunctus I - XI
Four-part mirror fugue + inversion
Three-part mirror fugue + inversion
Canon I - IV
Incomplete Fugue á 4

You may even consider the Canons a kind of appendix (like the Duets in Clavierübung III).

But maybe any supposed sequence only serves editoral purposes, since it is uncertain whether the work was meant to be performed in one sitting or not.

Bach probably beforehand completed the unfinished Fugue á 4 in his head, but never managed to write it down.

It is also possible that more complex Contrapuncti was intended to follow.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4322
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #69 on: March 12, 2011, 11:05:47 AM »
Well, this makes more sense. But still I think, that the musical variety is so great, that a variety in colour is unnecessary, and maybe even  distracts from the musical variety. Personally I prefer the organ for this work - not because of the variations in colour made possible, but because of the sustaining power of the organ as compared to harpsichord and piano.

My feeling is that some good orchestra performances -- like the one in the 1949 Scherchen recording --  helps to bring out the argument of the fugues. And at the same time introduces an element of sensuality, which is really fun. But I wouldn't want to be without Koroliov or Tachezi.



Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3679
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #70 on: March 12, 2011, 11:31:52 AM »
My feeling is that some good orchestra performances -- like the one in the 1949 Scherchen recording --  helps to bring out the argument of the fugues. And at the same time introduces an element of sensuality, which is really fun. But I wouldn't want to be without Koroliov or Tachezi.

I often feel, that we (modern educated listeners) are prone to listen in a too analytical way to works like The AoF.  We are very concerned about hearing every statement of the fugal subject, and whether the subject is heard in diminution, mirror version et.c., but maybe the important point for Bach was the musical expression as such. And once having analyzed the work we should maybe forget about theory while listening. This is the reason (other than the fact that I consider the work to be a keyboard work) why I do not wholeheartily favour a rendering with chamber ensemble which tends to make every thematic statement too prominent.

BTW, a good orchestral performance, have you heard the recording of Eric Bergel.

Scarpia

  • Guest
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #71 on: March 12, 2011, 12:58:53 PM »
I often feel, that we (modern educated listeners) are prone to listen in a too analytical way to works like The AoF.  We are very concerned about hearing every statement of the fugal subject, and whether the subject is heard in diminution, mirror version et.c., but maybe the important point for Bach was the musical expression as such. And once having analyzed the work we should maybe forget about theory while listening. This is the reason (other than the fact that I consider the work to be a keyboard work) why I do not wholeheartily favour a rendering with chamber ensemble which tends to make every thematic statement too prominent.

Where did you get the notion that performance by a chamber ensemble has the effect or making statements of theme more prominent?   A good performance can enhance the clarity of the voice-leading but has nothing to do with making one part of another more prominent at the expense of another. 


Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3679
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #72 on: March 12, 2011, 02:09:16 PM »
Where did you get the notion that performance by a chamber ensemble has the effect or making statements of theme more prominent?   A good performance can enhance the clarity of the voice-leading but has nothing to do with making one part of another more prominent at the expense of another.

I have actually heard all chamber ensemble recordings which have been made but a few (HIP as well as non HIP). My experience is, that exactly what you call enhanced clarity of the voice-leading results in enhanced focus on the thematic statements.  Actually the musicians "instinctively" play in this way. Many pianists play in the same way (Koroliov, Nicolayeva f.i.) On an organ (and a harpsichord) , properly registered, this is impossible.

Scarpia

  • Guest
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #73 on: March 12, 2011, 02:13:13 PM »
I have actually heard all chamber ensemble recordings which have been made but a few (HIP as well as non HIP). My experience is, that exactly what you call enhanced clarity of the voice-leading results in enhanced focus on the thematic statements.  Actually the musicians "instinctively" play in this way. Many pianists play in the same way (Koroliov, Nicolayeva f.i.) On an organ (and a harpsichord) , properly registered, this is impossible.

I have noticed no such effect and it seems odd that every set of performers would fall victim to the fault.  I think it is more reasonable to attribute this effect to yourself, rather than to the performers.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 02:19:32 PM by Il Barone Scarpia »

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3679
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #74 on: March 12, 2011, 02:18:59 PM »
I have noticed no such effect, and I think you should attribute this effect to yourself, rather than to the performers.

I rather think, that since you have noticed no such effect, you find this way of playing natural.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4322
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #75 on: March 12, 2011, 02:42:39 PM »
I often feel, that we (modern educated listeners) are prone to listen in a too analytical way to works like The AoF.  We are very concerned about hearing every statement of the fugal subject, and whether the subject is heard in diminution, mirror version et.c., but maybe the important point for Bach was the musical expression as such. And once having analyzed the work we should maybe forget about theory while listening. This is the reason (other than the fact that I consider the work to be a keyboard work) why I do not wholeheartily favour a rendering with chamber ensemble which tends to make every thematic statement too prominent.

BTW, a good orchestral performance, have you heard the recording of Eric Bergel.

No I haven't heard Eric Bergel -- I'll try to.


I'm not sure I understand what you mean though. Can you find an example (on youtube if possible)  of  voice leading which you like -- voice leading which doesn't over - emphasise the theme. If I had that I could contrast it with Scherchen , Koroliov etc.


I know it's cheeky to ask -- I'd fully understand if you don't have the time to go hunting around for recordings.

The discussion is interesting. Thanks to all of you.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Marc

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2444
  • Sine Cerere et Bach friget Venus
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #76 on: March 12, 2011, 03:06:52 PM »
No I haven't heard Eric Bergel -- I'll try to.

This link might be helpful to give you an idea:

http://www.jsbach.org/bergeldiekunstderfuge.html

Quote from: Mandryka
The discussion is interesting. [....]

Indeed.
At first, I didn't think Die Kunst der Fuge was music for me, even though I loved Bach very much.
Reading about it gave me the idea that it was some kind of an abstract and theoretical musical monument. It scared me.
My first encounter with it wasn't very encouraging, either. The Musica Antiqua Köln did not manage to grab and keep my attention. And because I've always liked the MAK, I was even more convinced that this work wasn't 'made for me'.

But some years ago, organist Bram Beekman and harpsichordist Sébastian Guillot convinced me otherwise. Since then, I've begun admiring and loving this work more and more.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 03:16:04 PM by Marc »
Help support the GMG Classical Music Forum by purchasing from Amazon using this link, this link, or this link

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3679
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #77 on: March 12, 2011, 03:15:57 PM »
No I haven't heard Eric Bergel -- I'll try to.

It is time to go to bed in my country now, but to morrow I shall upload a couple of Counterpoints´s from Bergels recording.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean though. Can you find an example (on youtube if possible)  of  voice leading which you like -- voice leading which doesn't over - emphasise the theme. If I had that I could contrast it with Scherchen , Koroliov etc.

I am not sure I can find a chamber version, which lives up to this. But certainly many organ- and harpsichord versions.

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3679
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #78 on: March 12, 2011, 03:28:26 PM »
But some years ago, organist Bram Beekman and harpsichordist Sébastian Guillot convinced me otherwise. Since then, I've begun admiring and loving this work more and more.

As a youngster I played the AoF eagerly on my mothers piano, but I found it for a long time rather abstract. An important experience was a concert (AoF complete) with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra / Münchinger, but the recordings which eventually opened this work to me were first and foremost Walcha´s  and later Leonhardt´s - both of them interpretations which treat this work as expressive music in the same way as Guillot.

Offline Marc

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2444
  • Sine Cerere et Bach friget Venus
Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #79 on: March 12, 2011, 03:33:47 PM »
As a youngster I played the AoF eagerly on my mothers piano, but I found it for a long time rather abstract. An important experience was a concert (AoF complete) with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra / Münchinger, but the recordings which eventually opened this work to me were first and foremost Walcha´s  and later Leonhardt´s - both of them interpretations which treat this work as expressive music in the same way as Guillot.

Yes, Walcha´s a good one.
It belongs to my ´train discs´ during my travelling to and from work.
I don´t think I have the Leonhardt, not even in cellophane. :)
Something for the future .... but first I need a good night sleep!
Help support the GMG Classical Music Forum by purchasing from Amazon using this link, this link, or this link

Buying Music From Amazon?
Please consider using these links. A small percentage of every sale using these links is passed on to GMG and helps keep this forum online.
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK