Author Topic: Bach Six Partitas  (Read 15355 times)

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Offline mc ukrneal

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Bach Six Partitas
« on: January 25, 2010, 06:35:03 AM »
I took a look searching for some discussion of the partitas, but couldn't find any. My questions involves which version people like. Two fairly new versions came out that I was considering: Schiff and Perahia. I was very interested in the Perahia, but then I saw Schiff did one and I find him interesting as well. So then I was unsure.

Both are high quality piano players. I love Perahia in Chopin's etudes and some Mozart concertos. I heard Schiff's online discussion of the Beethoven sonatas (never bought his version, but educational disucssions for sure). At one point I had considered Hewitt on Hyperion, but I never warmed to her WTC (though I really enjoyed her Italian concerto disc). Has anyone heard these two versions? Or is there someone else I should consider? I am looking for modern sound.

I should also mention that I am less familiar with the partitas.
Offenbach gets a raw deal in recordings considering his talent! For a discussion of this outstanding composer too little recorded: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5572.

Bulldog

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 07:05:49 AM »
Both Schiff and Perahia do well in the Partitas but are easily surpassed by Craig Sheppard on Romeo Records.  Sheppard reminds me of Gould, but with much better sound and an absence of eccentricity and strong humming.

Don't be fooled into going with a "big name"; get Sheppard.  By the way, reviews for the Sheppard set were outstanding.

DarkAngel

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2010, 08:05:27 AM »
Have not heard the Sheppard mentioned by Bulldog.........

The critics love Hewitt/Hyperion but seems too gentle and finely shaded for me, not enough dramatic contrast. I think this version is currently a rosette in Penguin Guide

The critics also love Perahia/Sony recent performance, and it is quite elegant and cleanly performed with nice modern sound, just a bit lacking in ultimate dramatic contrast and excitement for me.......but a version that stays in my collection, a safe recommendation

The new Schiff/ECM seems more to my liking as a reference piano version, live version that has a rythmic clarity and spontaneous feel that is quite refreshing, Schiff sounding better than ever in Bach and one of the very best piano versions available for me



Offline Todd

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2010, 08:09:32 AM »
I agree with DarkAngel regarding the newer Schiff recording of the Partitas - it's quite good.  Haven't heard the Sheppard, but he is quite a good pianist, so I would be surprised if his Bach wasn't top notch.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Carolus

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2010, 08:11:53 AM »
I've an excelent recording by Carl Seemann. I like it very much.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2010, 09:53:47 AM »
I asume you want to confine the discussion to piano.

The new Schiff is very interesting, especially in Partita 6. As DarkAngel says.there’s a great rhythmic clarity, especially in  some of the faster movements.
   
I think Tureck – the early set on Great Pianists – is well worth hearing. Despite a certain lack of humour, a dourness, that recording for me is very special. This is partly because of a sort of confidential tone – you feel as though she is playing very quietly just for you.

I am keen on Gould in some – 4 and 6 especially. I am keen on Fiorentino in 4. I like Pletnev in 6. And I like Rosita Renard in 1. Vedernikov in 3.

And I am right now trying to come to terms with Rubsam’s  set on Naxos. The clarity of the voices is quite breathtaking – you feel sometimes as though you are hearing a dialogue between people, like the different instruments in a string quartet. And his habit of  little hestitations, though strange, can sometimes make the music feel very sincerely and spontaneously expressed. Well worth experimenting with, I would say
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 10:12:18 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Bulldog

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2010, 10:08:11 AM »
   
I think Tureck – the early set on Great Pianists – is well worth hearing. Despite a certain lack of humour, a dourness, that recording for me is very special. This is partly because of a sort of confidential tone – you feel as though she is playing very quietly just for you.

And I am right now trying to come to terms with Rubsam’s  set on Naxos. The clarity of the voices is quite breathtaking – you feel sometimes as though you are hearing a dialogue between people, like the different instruments in a string quartet. And his habit of  little hestitations, though strange, can sometimes make the music feel very sincerely and spontaneously expressed. Well worth experimenting with, I would say

I love both the Tureck and Rubsam accounts.  Both artists dig into the depths of the music, unlike some others whose primary goals appear to be to deliver musical beauty under an umbrella of moderate emotions (Perahia comes to mind).

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2010, 02:27:33 PM »
To answer an earlier question - yes, only interested in piano versions.

I am not familiar with Sheppard, but I see I will be able to sample his work, so I will give that a listen when I can.

I am less sure of Tureck who some like. I have some works with her (WTC for example), but am not entirely convinced. Without getting into nitty gritty, I think piano Bach needs some extra...how to say it...oompf with a light touch? Schiff often does it (one of the reasons I didn't like his Beethoven from the little I heard - too much of a light touch, although the flip side is that it could be incredibly revealing). Tureck, for me, has some incredible moments, but I don't always find myself engaged.

Just as an aside, the reason I became interested in Bach on piano again was in part due to hearing volume 3 of the Bach transcirptions disc with Piers Lane. It was fantastic and reminded me how much I loved Bach (who I haven't listened to much recently). I'd forgotten I picked up that disc.
Offenbach gets a raw deal in recordings considering his talent! For a discussion of this outstanding composer too little recorded: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5572.

Bulldog

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2010, 02:45:11 PM »
To answer an earlier question - yes, only interested in piano versions.

I am not familiar with Sheppard, but I see I will be able to sample his work, so I will give that a listen when I can.

I am less sure of Tureck who some like. I have some works with her (WTC for example), but am not entirely convinced. Without getting into nitty gritty, I think piano Bach needs some extra...how to say it...oompf with a light touch? Schiff often does it (one of the reasons I didn't like his Beethoven from the little I heard - too much of a light touch, although the flip side is that it could be incredibly revealing). Tureck, for me, has some incredible moments, but I don't always find myself engaged.

If you're not convinced by Tureck's WTC, I doubt you'll find her Partitas convincing either.

Offline Holden

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2010, 03:48:44 PM »
This is the set to have IMO. Schepkin is not a big name and the record label is obscure but only Gould comes close to these interpretations.



Cheers

Holden

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2010, 04:11:39 PM »
This is the set to have IMO. Schepkin is not a big name and the record label is obscure but only Gould comes close to these interpretations.

   

Holden - I have Rousset on the harpsichord & Roberts (image inserted above) on the piano in these works, but would love to acquire another piano version - Don's Sheppard recommendation went to the top of my list until your posting!  The Amazonian reviews (few but quite good discussions) were excellent - I don't know this pianist - any comparisons of his interpretations of the Partitas vs. others that you own and/or have heard?  Thanks - Dave

Offline Clever Hans

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2010, 05:52:59 PM »
Of those I've heard: Leonhardt (even without the repeats), Scott Ross, Kenneth Gilbert, Trevor Pinnock on Hanssler or Archiv, Suzuki. 
People often cite Pinnock as the best introduction and all his performances as a harispichordist and conductor offer a masculine and no b.s. approach.

I bet Mortensen is great but haven't heard him, unfortunately.

For piano,

Zhu Xiao-Mei may be the best on piano, incredibly elegant. If you can find a copy, she also is more inventive than Perahia or Hewitt--who is excellent but sometimes like a proper bird hovering and pecking away.
Gould (just keep in mind that he's an avant-garde performer).

Schiff adds these touches and rhythmic mannerisms which are annoying and interfere with musical development. He flutters his eyelashes too much, metaphorically in his playing and literally in performance.

People criticize Gould but that man knew how to bring out counterpoint and he was just a great musician.

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2010, 08:22:57 PM »
I have both the Schiff and Perahia, but no other recordings of the complete set on piano.   My ears prefer Schiff, although I can't pin down the details to say what exactly pleases me more about his set. 

I also like Martha Argerich's Partita No. 2,  which she did (with an toccata and one of the English Suites) as part of the Bach album she recorded for DG.

Bulldog

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2010, 08:29:58 PM »
Holden - I have Rousset on the harpsichord & Roberts (image inserted above) on the piano in these works, but would love to acquire another piano version - Don's Sheppard recommendation went to the top of my list until your posting!  The Amazonian reviews (few but quite good discussions) were excellent - I don't know this pianist - any comparisons of his interpretations of the Partitas vs. others that you own and/or have heard?  Thanks - Dave

Dave:

I have a few reviews of Partita recordings on the Bach Cantatas website; Schepkin is included in a six-part review.  Although a fine set, I'm not totally sold on the Schepkin, especially when he gets a little trill-happy (annoying).

Scarpia

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2010, 08:37:01 PM »
I must say the Sheppard recommendation leaves me intrigues, although I have Schiff's Decca sets and a few others, including Hewitt, and find myself quite satisfied with them.

Offline Bunny

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2010, 08:42:43 PM »
Of those I've heard: Leonhardt (even without the repeats), Scott Ross, Kenneth Gilbert, Trevor Pinnock on Hanssler or Archiv, Suzuki. 
People often cite Pinnock as the best introduction and all his performances as a harispichordist and conductor offer a masculine and no b.s. approach.

I bet Mortensen is great but haven't heard him, unfortunately.

For piano,

Zhu Xiao-Mei may be the best on piano, incredibly elegant. If you can find a copy, she also is more inventive than Perahia or Hewitt--who is excellent but sometimes like a proper bird hovering and pecking away.
Gould (just keep in mind that he's an avant-garde performer).

Schiff adds these touches and rhythmic mannerisms which are annoying and interfere with musical development. He flutters his eyelashes too much, metaphorically in his playing and literally in performance.

People criticize Gould but that man knew how to bring out counterpoint and he was just a great musician.

I've been trying to get hold of Zhu's Partitas for months, but alas they are out of print and no longer available as an Arkivmusic cd on demand!  The samples at Amazon are wonderful.

Offline Clever Hans

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2010, 10:49:59 PM »
Did you call them? The Zhu Xiao-Mei webpage is still up, says backordered but usually ships in 2-3 weeks, whatever that means.

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?site_id=CTRV&album_id=44084

Maybe that's why she moved from Mandala to Mirare, although the latter seem to have acquired the rights to their own issue of her goldberg variations, and harmonia mundi distributed the partitas for Mandala. 

In any case, it's absurd that her cd is out of print and not even available as an mp3 download, whereas countless inferior versions are readily available.
 


Offline Holden

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2010, 11:49:58 PM »
Holden - I have Rousset on the harpsichord & Roberts (image inserted above) on the piano in these works, but would love to acquire another piano version - Don's Sheppard recommendation went to the top of my list until your posting!  The Amazonian reviews (few but quite good discussions) were excellent - I don't know this pianist - any comparisons of his interpretations of the Partitas vs. others that you own and/or have heard?  Thanks - Dave

I have Gould (a must have) for his clarity and the ability to wring emotion out of phrases that other pianists merely pass over. There is a lot of dance music in the partitas and this is what Schepkin brings out brilliantly. He also has the ability to make the music become intense (a la Gould) and it is in this sense that he exceeds Gould who struggled to become lyrical where the music asked for it.

Yes, the playing of the ornamentation would leave the purists in a bit of a lather but it fits in with the way he plays the music. I have single versions of the other partitas by Fiorentino, Tureck (dreck), Perahia, and others and there is only one version that I consider to be superior to Schepkin. If you can get hold of Rosita Renard in the first partita it is just fabulous!
Cheers

Holden

DarkAngel

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2010, 05:40:01 AM »
I have Gould (a must have) for his clarity and the ability to wring emotion out of phrases that other pianists merely pass over. There is a lot of dance music in the partitas and this is what Schepkin brings out brilliantly. He also has the ability to make the music become intense (a la Gould) and it is in this sense that he exceeds Gould who struggled to become lyrical where the music asked for it.

Yes, the playing of the ornamentation would leave the purists in a bit of a lather but it fits in with the way he plays the music. I have single versions of the other partitas by Fiorentino, Tureck (dreck), Perahia, and others and there is only one version that I consider to be superior to Schepkin. If you can get hold of Rosita Renard in the first partita it is just fabulous!

Schepkin & Sheppard
Posts here got me doing some research and based on short music samples I have placed order for these two sets. Many artists are too gentle/elegant/refined with these suites of dance music and samples from Schepkin sound like my kind of guy, must have some energy and passion in this work.

Love that critical description someone above had of Angela Hewitt's gentle style.......
like a bird fluttering above and softly pecking away at the keyboard below, indeed  ;)
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 06:35:18 AM by DarkAngel »

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2010, 05:59:49 AM »
I bet Mortensen is great but haven't heard him, unfortunately.

Yes, he is outstanding, right on the top together with Leonhardt, Gilbert and Suzuki.
res severa verum gaudium

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