Author Topic: The Art of Fugue  (Read 94805 times)

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Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #300 on: October 14, 2016, 11:46:13 PM »


Tilney's Art of Fugue. Italian style harpsichord, you either like it or you don't, Tilney obviously loves this sort of instrument but me, I'd like to hear a richer tone and a fuller bass response in the Bach. Vartolo once commented that AoF seems to be the result of southern influences, and so it's nice to hear the Bach fugues played with Frescobaldi, Froberger etc. The emotional contrasts between the opening trio of Bach fugues was very striking, as is some of the ideas about voicing in the final set of three contrapuncti.

Tilney's Louis Couperin recordings, there's a prelude here, are I think a real high point, I intend to collect together all his Louis Couperin and try to see exactly what he's doing soon.

In the big Frescobaldi capriccio on la sol fa mi re ut, he plays it too straight for me. My impression on this listening was that there's no psychology, no soulfulness. By the way, I found an interesting organ recording of this capriccio by Leonhardt here


« Last Edit: October 15, 2016, 12:28:45 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #301 on: November 11, 2016, 02:23:54 PM »


Ron Lepinat uses an interesting piano by J L Duysen (1926), it is clear and strong in bass, midrange and treble. Its exceptional balance suites his approach to voicing, which is equal in all voices at all times. The voicing is responsive and dramatic and alive (listen to his  way of playing the canon in hypodiatesseron! Not just the voicing, but also the touch and the rhythm, the swing of it, are extraordinary.) He is imaginative with respect to the emotional content of each piece, he finds a wide range of emotional content. The agogics and ornamentation are not intrusive for me.

In just one place he lets does something really unexpected, and the result may be a stroke of genius  or it may not, I can't say right now -  the end of the canon in the 10th.

« Last Edit: November 11, 2016, 11:01:02 PM by Mandryka »
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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #302 on: November 12, 2016, 10:46:39 AM »


Ron Lepinat uses an interesting piano by J L Duysen (1926), it is clear and strong in bass, midrange and treble. Its exceptional balance suites his approach to voicing, which is equal in all voices at all times. The voicing is responsive and dramatic and alive (listen to his  way of playing the canon in hypodiatesseron! Not just the voicing, but also the touch and the rhythm, the swing of it, are extraordinary.) He is imaginative with respect to the emotional content of each piece, he finds a wide range of emotional content. The agogics and ornamentation are not intrusive for me.

In just one place he lets does something really unexpected, and the result may be a stroke of genius  or it may not, I can't say right now -  the end of the canon in the 10th.

I am happy to see, that you like this recording. I have always considered it to be one of the most idiomatic - as much as  it is possible on piano :) - piano renderings of the work.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #303 on: November 14, 2016, 05:18:54 AM »
I am happy to see, that you like this recording. I have always considered it to be one of the most idiomatic - as much as  it is possible on piano :) - piano renderings of the work.

More than liking it, I think it is one of the great AoF recordings. The voicing and energy and affect bring something new to the game. The instrument too is a wonderful thing: good to have a recording of it, I wish there were more.

« Last Edit: November 14, 2016, 05:53:42 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Toccata&Fugue

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #304 on: November 14, 2016, 01:35:54 PM »
I just re-listened to this set. It can seem a little muscular and unyielding at times, but he does a great job of clarifying the often dense textures. Good early digital audio, too.


Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #305 on: April 06, 2017, 09:18:17 PM »


Where this recording by Podger/Brecon Baroque  brings something new to the game is in the simplicity and frankness of its utterance, the relaxed small scale chamber feel, the sense of the involvement and pleasure of the musicians in their music making.

From the point of view of voicing, rubato and ornamentation it's middle of the road. Voices are independent but not in any sort of interesting dramatic relationship; rubato is so subtle as to be imperceptible and ditto for ornamentation.  Emotionally, it skirts an emotional void. She does happy and she does serious and that's about it. She avoids emotionally deep and complex statements à la Leonhardt and Rübsam.

In short, we have an Art of Fugue which is almost made galant. The emphasis is on beauty, poise, simplicity, elegance. And that may not be a totally invalid way of conceiving the music, given that Bach towards the end of his life seemed to be exploring how to synthesise style antico and the galant.
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Offline Marc

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #306 on: April 06, 2017, 09:56:36 PM »
Just to enjoy (or not ;)): Ivo Janssen playing Contrapunctus I on the Dutch telly.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/G5xAo3KAFgU" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/G5xAo3KAFgU</a>
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Offline milk

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #307 on: April 13, 2017, 01:03:42 AM »
I'm really enjoying this recording. The only other piano I have is Tatiana Nikolayeva (which is perhaps more reserved...less pedal?). This music is so complex that I struggle to say what it is Pescia does that's so satisfying. He doesn't go overboard with whatever it is - (pedaling, agogic accents? subtle dynamic changes) It seems like Koroliov and sokolov get mixed reviews although those that like Koroliov consider him to be a must-have. So! maybe I should acquire him? What is it that people love about Koroliov that others don't like?


Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #308 on: April 13, 2017, 03:29:28 AM »
Quote
What is it that people love about Koroliov that others don't like?

I'm sorry to say I feel pretty negative about Koroliov, I used to like what he does but that was years ago, before I really discovered what how good AoF can be.

Koroliov uses modern piano techniques like dynamic variation over short sections of music, speeding up and slowing down, pedalling to alter the timbre  and digging deep into the notes to produce a bell like rich sound. He's less skilled  from the point of view of voice leading, giving the voices character, ornamentation and agogics. This  impacts the character of the music fundamentally I would say.

Where he really comes a cropper is in the second half, when the pieces become more complex. Actually that's being a bit charitable because the problem sets in before the end of the first CD. He bangs and rushes his way through the canons and fugues in a totally matter of fact way.

I'm sure you can make AoF into  music on a modern piano, but Koroliov ain't succeeded.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 03:42:47 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #309 on: April 13, 2017, 04:26:57 AM »
I'm sorry to say I feel pretty negative about Koroliov, I used to like what he does but that was years ago, before I really discovered what how good AoF can be.

Koroliov uses modern piano techniques like dynamic variation over short sections of music, speeding up and slowing down, pedalling to alter the timbre  and digging deep into the notes to produce a bell like rich sound. He's less skilled  from the point of view of voice leading, giving the voices character, ornamentation and agogics. This  impacts the character of the music fundamentally I would say.

Where he really comes a cropper is in the second half, when the pieces become more complex. Actually that's being a bit charitable because the problem sets in before the end of the first CD. He bangs and rushes his way through the canons and fugues in a totally matter of fact way.

I'm sure you can make AoF into  music on a modern piano, but Koroliov ain't succeeded.
I wonder how I would respond to it. How about Pescia? He definitely uses the pedal at times but I don't think he does anything grotesque as you describe in Koroliov. And, I may be mistaken, but I think the dynamics are tasteful. Listening to his Canon III, I find it touching, consistent and lonely. I like this feeling in AOF. But you may have a different reaction. Everyone praises Nikolayeva, do you share in this? Changing the topic, could I get your view of Vartolo and Brookshire, both of whom seem to play around with agogics in less subtle ways than, maybe, Hill? I liked Vartolo the last time I listened to it but I haven't tried Brookshire lately (I like his French). 

Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #310 on: April 13, 2017, 05:06:26 AM »
I wonder how I would respond to it. How about Pescia? He definitely uses the pedal at times but I don't think he does anything grotesque as you describe in Koroliov. And, I may be mistaken, but I think the dynamics are tasteful. Listening to his Canon III, I find it touching, consistent and lonely. I like this feeling in AOF. But you may have a different reaction. Everyone praises Nikolayeva, do you share in this? Changing the topic, could I get your view of Vartolo and Brookshire, both of whom seem to play around with agogics in less subtle ways than, maybe, Hill? I liked Vartolo the last time I listened to it but I haven't tried Brookshire lately (I like his French).

I don't know and I'm kind of not in the mood to listen. Test it out on the big complicated multi voiced  canons and fugues -- my theory is that that's where you need to play in a HIP way to make it into music.
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Offline milk

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #311 on: April 14, 2017, 05:42:22 AM »
I don't know and I'm kind of not in the mood to listen. Test it out on the big complicated multi voiced  canons and fugues -- my theory is that that's where you need to play in a HIP way to make it into music.
I would like to see a comparison for the layperson between HIP and non-HIP in AOF or analysis of performances, necessarily including the piano, for this question. This would be interesting and maybe help some of us understand the question more deeply. I see Hewitt get over-the-moon reactions  about what she did in AOF but there's not much mention of her in this thread. I'd like to say Pescia is quite good too, from my perspective. But, it leaves me wondering what's involved here in these performances. I can catch some of the differences in approach. But I'd love to get a deeper picture. This talk of voices and how technical and artistic choices bring out different aspects of the music is interesting. 

Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #312 on: April 14, 2017, 06:09:11 AM »
Well AoF was probably written for a harpsichord, so start by thinking of all the things a good harpsichordist can do to interprete the score. These are probably what a historically informed performer would do. Things like

1. Delay a note very briefly to draw the listener's attention to it, or play it a millisecond earlier.
2. Accelerate a phrase to draw attention to it or play it with a different touch.
3. Roll a chord
4. Ornamentation
5. Stagger the attacks of simultaneous notes in different voices
6. Vary the tone of a note by changing the way you press the key, and hence changing the length of contact between string and plectrum
7. Change tuning


By the way I listened to Walter Riemer's AoF last night, it's good.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 06:15:30 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #313 on: April 14, 2017, 07:29:23 AM »
reaction. Everyone praises Nikolayeva, do you share in this?

Yes I do, if you can tolerate piano played "romantically" - there are two, one from the 1970s on Melodyia and one thirty years after on Hyperion, I think I prefer the earlier because it's more lively, but I'm glad to have both.

Vartolo

Love it. Really moving and expressive, everything well judged. 

Brookshire,

Undisciplined, that's to say the expression is applied randomly, in a way which doesn't add anything really expressive to the music: just a bunch of meaningless  pauses, ornaments accelerandi etc. Some of the tempos seem really too fast, the canons esp.,

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Offline milk

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #314 on: April 14, 2017, 01:22:52 PM »
Well AoF was probably written for a harpsichord, so start by thinking of all the things a good harpsichordist can do to interprete the score. These are probably what a historically informed performer would do. Things like

1. Delay a note very briefly to draw the listener's attention to it, or play it a millisecond earlier.
2. Accelerate a phrase to draw attention to it or play it with a different touch.
3. Roll a chord
4. Ornamentation
5. Stagger the attacks of simultaneous notes in different voices
6. Vary the tone of a note by changing the way you press the key, and hence changing the length of contact between string and plectrum
7. Change tuning


By the way I listened to Walter Riemer's AoF last night, it's good.
Thanks! I see. I will compare Brookshire and Vartolo to see what you mean. I would guess that AOf takes much more discipline than the French Suites. Perhaps I shall acquire the Riemer. I'm interested in the instrument anyhow.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 01:25:38 PM by milk »

Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #315 on: April 14, 2017, 08:35:09 PM »


Ron Lepinat uses an interesting piano by J L Duysen (1926), it is clear and strong in bass, midrange and treble. Its exceptional balance suites his approach to voicing, which is equal in all voices at all times. The voicing is responsive and dramatic and alive (listen to his  way of playing the canon in hypodiatesseron! Not just the voicing, but also the touch and the rhythm, the swing of it, are extraordinary.) He is imaginative with respect to the emotional content of each piece, he finds a wide range of emotional content. The agogics and ornamentation are not intrusive for me.

In just one place he lets does something really unexpected, and the result may be a stroke of genius  or it may not, I can't say right now -  the end of the canon in the 10th.

Old post, but how do you find this recording? It seems interesting but I can't find a trace of it anywhere.

Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #316 on: April 14, 2017, 09:24:32 PM »
Old post, but how do you find this recording? It seems interesting but I can't find a trace of it anywhere.

It should be on the symphonyshare server, let me know if there's a problem with it.
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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #317 on: April 15, 2017, 01:37:29 AM »
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Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #318 on: April 15, 2017, 06:04:10 PM »

Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #319 on: April 20, 2017, 11:54:55 AM »


Hewitt's AoF.

In interview she says that she wants to make all the lines sing, keep them independent, use the piano colours. She's able to manage the complex textures that the independent voicing produces in the more complex music. Articulation seems fine. Touch is varied.

I think this could have been a tremendous, bold and imaginative AoF, except that she does one thing which I can't get used to - she uses extreme dynamic variation, in a way which seems pointless to me. It's a deal breaker for me.

Piano sound seems to me a bit dominated by high and mid-range, the bass is not often very present. I don't like that, though I appreciate it may be justifiable.

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/feature/recording-bachs-the-art-of-fugue-with-angela-hewitt
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 12:22:01 PM by Mandryka »
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