Author Topic: Bach Six Partitas  (Read 30583 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #140 on: July 06, 2017, 03:27:56 AM »


Quote from: Anton Batagov http://www.batagov.com/zvuki/BACH_en.htm


Each section of his music should be repeated twice, and I play them in different tempos with different articulation, as if contemplating a crystal from different points of view, or living a life twice choosing different scenarios. The tempos are mostly slow, but it's not about the tempos per se. Every sound appears spontaneously, as though it was an improvisation, and reveals another meaning, another kind of expressiveness. It's like zooming in on a picture to see every detail in high resolution. This meditative concentration has its inner non-linear flow of time. Time is a relative thing. It is not necessary to be Einstein or an astronaut going to the final frontier to see that this is true. You don't have to be a Buddhist monk to realize that all our concepts are relative and empty. Anyway, it's clear that Bach's music contains all of our post-modernism, all of our minimalism, as well as jazz, rock, and many other styles. . .The E minor Partita is like a Passion without words, and the D major Partita is a mystery of Christmas. . . Every note, every intonation, every chord in Bach's music convey the truth that makes everything else insignificant. That's why it sounds so uncompromising, sometimes even ruthless, while being so dazzlingly beautiful. There is no path to light that would not go through Calvary.


What's interesting to me about these comments is how he seems to see the music as a sequence of sounds, rather than as phrases. Probably I'm taking him too much at his word.

And then we have the idea of repeating everything.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 03:34:41 AM by Mandryka »
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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #141 on: July 06, 2017, 03:53:20 AM »
What's interesting to me about these comments is how he seems to see the music as a sequence of sounds, rather than as phrases. Probably I'm taking him too much at his word.

It's kind of logical, if it's played slow enough at one point you lose intelligibility of the phrase and you're left with just sequence of sounds.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #142 on: July 06, 2017, 04:04:19 AM »
It's kind of logical, if it's played slow enough at one point you lose intelligibility of the phrase and you're left with just sequence of sounds.

I think it's just something he says, I'm sure it's a mistake to take him too seriously and pour over his words!
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #143 on: July 09, 2017, 03:24:45 AM »
What's interesting to me about these comments is how he seems to see the music as a sequence of sounds, rather than as phrases. Probably I'm taking him too much at his word.

It's a legitemate point of view, though unusual to see it voiced by a performer who surely must have the bigger picture in mind to some degree.

As a listener and not a performer, I can relate entirely to the idea of music as a stream of sounds, and not a structure.

The pedant in me takes umbrage at his phrase "repeated twice" though!  ;D

Offline amw

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #144 on: July 09, 2017, 04:00:05 AM »
I'm sorry, but a 16 minute long performance of the toccata from Partita VI makes no sense. Slowing the music down to individual sounds only reveals that the individual sounds are uninteresting in themselves. Bach's music is not about sound in itself, it is about the physical act of performance. Isolating the individual actions required to produce those sounds removes them from their context of cumulative physical effort. It's like playing just the right hand of a Mozart piano sonata.... yes, all the important stuff is there, but it's missing something fundamental to what makes it good music.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #145 on: July 09, 2017, 04:26:07 AM »
I'm sorry, but a 16 minute long performance of the toccata from Partita VI makes no sense. Slowing the music down to individual sounds only reveals that the individual sounds are uninteresting in themselves. Bach's music is not about sound in itself, it is about the physical act of performance. Isolating the individual actions required to produce those sounds removes them from their context of cumulative physical effort.

I agree very much about this. Listen f.x. to Maximianno Cobra playing Art of Fugue. Particularly absurd is Cpt. I, but also the rest of the work more or less.

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/MaximiannoCobra10
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #146 on: July 11, 2017, 02:39:16 AM »
I'm sorry, but a 16 minute long performance of the toccata from Partita VI makes no sense.

I've now listened to some of this recording (didn't have time to listen to it all, see below) - and, while I maintain that like what I read in Batagov's text quoted upthread, I've got to agree that as 'music by Bach' this is just a disaster.   >:(
In general his idea of varying the repeat seems to consist of playing the initial exposition at half speed or even slower, and the repeat at something approaching a 'normal' tempo.  The effect could be somewhat reminiscent of Bach's Partita No.1 for Violin, in which each movement is followed by a 'double' - but at these slow tempi the listener just loses patience.

Taking the final movement of Partita 6, the Gigue - just the exposition from start to the start of the repeat, generally takes about 1 minute 20 (Hewitt 1:17, Perahia 1:16, Levit 1:20 - Suzuki on harpsichord is a bit slower at 1:28).  Batagov takes 4:05 to play this section.  :(
Total durations of Partita 6 - Perahia 30:30 - Batagov 61:46

You'd think Bach's music was indestructible - murder attempts by Walter Carlos, the Swingle Singers and others have failed in the past.

Avoid - except of course for curiosity value.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 02:52:48 AM by aukhawk »

Offline milk

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #147 on: December 08, 2017, 08:57:39 PM »
I've now listened to some of this recording (didn't have time to listen to it all, see below) - and, while I maintain that like what I read in Batagov's text quoted upthread, I've got to agree that as 'music by Bach' this is just a disaster.   >:(
In general his idea of varying the repeat seems to consist of playing the initial exposition at half speed or even slower, and the repeat at something approaching a 'normal' tempo.  The effect could be somewhat reminiscent of Bach's Partita No.1 for Violin, in which each movement is followed by a 'double' - but at these slow tempi the listener just loses patience.

Taking the final movement of Partita 6, the Gigue - just the exposition from start to the start of the repeat, generally takes about 1 minute 20 (Hewitt 1:17, Perahia 1:16, Levit 1:20 - Suzuki on harpsichord is a bit slower at 1:28).  Batagov takes 4:05 to play this section.  :(
Total durations of Partita 6 - Perahia 30:30 - Batagov 61:46

You'd think Bach's music was indestructible - murder attempts by Walter Carlos, the Swingle Singers and others have failed in the past.

Avoid - except of course for curiosity value.
I gave this a try and can't help but conclude that he turns Bach into a disjointed muddy mess. It loses musicality, if that makes sense. It's a shame too, because think his idea of minimalism in Byrd works just fine. But, in that case, he's not experimenting with the music as much as picking out parts of the repertoire that reflect some minimalist atmosphere and working within that structure.

Offline Josquin13

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #148 on: December 12, 2017, 08:26:27 AM »
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned my favorite set of 6 Partitas (on piano) performed by Virginia Black: a former pianist that became a harpsichordist for several decades, but now has returned to playing Baroque music (Bach & Scarlatti) on the piano in recent years.  Black's 6 Partitas offer the best of both worlds--a harpsichordist's knowing insights into Baroque style, but tastefully translated to the piano (an attractive compromise for those that suspect Gould's Bach is more about Gould than Bach, yet resist the sound of a harpsichord):



I hope Black will record more Bach on the piano, as her set has been one of my favorite Bach piano purchases over the past 10-15+ years.

I would also give a favorable mention to Ivo Janssen's 6 Partitas.  Even though I now prefer Black in this music, Janssen's set is very fine.  The same is true for Vladimir Feltsman's 6 Partitas.

Otherwise, among harpsichord versions, I've lately found myself reaching for Pascal Dubreuil's set on Ramée, which gets better with repeated listening, along with a set from Kenneth Weiss (a more recent purchase).  I've come to prefer both to Pieter-Jan Belder's 6 Partitas (my former favorite), whose Partita playing is also excellent, but unlike Dubreuil & Weiss, Belder hasn't been given the most ideal sound (by Brilliant):



In addition, I've got Richard Egarr's set is on my wish list, along with Andras Schiff's ECM set (though I'm not a big fan of Schiff's Decca Bach recordings).
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 09:00:20 AM by Que »

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #149 on: February 17, 2018, 04:55:35 AM »

In addition, I've got Richard Egarr's set is on my wish list, along with Andras Schiff's ECM set (though I'm not a big fan of Schiff's Decca Bach recordings).

I have Egarr on my desk; very nicely played but ultimately not as impressive as i've found his WTC to be.  Schiff's ECM, meanwhile, is my favorite piano version... doesn't begin to compare to the straight-laced, frankly boring Decca recording. It's much more about dance.

All that said I should confess: I totally dig the Batagov recording. Yes, it's Philip Glass masquerading as Johann Sebastian Bach, but it is totally intoxicating.

Offline amw

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #150 on: February 17, 2018, 05:42:02 AM »
I sort of stopped my Bach partita hunting a while back with the Egarr set, which I enjoy quite a bit (have been debating deleting others from my hard disk, since harpsichord recordings take up a lot of space, but probably will just buy a new hard disk instead bc who knows, maybe I’ll someday want to hear Badura-Skoda again or whoever). On the stream-o-sphere I quite liked Dubreuil and Alard, but not enough to buy either of them for some reason. Dubreuil also has great album artwork. Still haven’t heard the Weiss, but want to, and also I think there’s a set by Scott Ross that I don’t know anything about??

Schiff on ECM is definitely a good piano set although I keep coming back to Maria Tipo, who turns Bach into Brahms but it’s not actually awful. Probably I should stop singing her praises at every opportunity because the rest of you are tired. >.> The other pianist who started recording Bach partitas but has never done a cycle and who I like is Edna Stern. Maybe she’ll do some future Bach recordings on a fortepiano. The Virginia Black set looks interesting tho.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #151 on: February 17, 2018, 06:30:55 AM »
I sort of stopped my Bach partita hunting a while back with the Egarr set, which I enjoy quite a bit (have been debating deleting others from my hard disk, since harpsichord recordings take up a lot of space, but probably will just buy a new hard disk instead bc who knows, maybe I’ll someday want to hear Badura-Skoda again or whoever). On the stream-o-sphere I quite liked Dubreuil and Alard, but not enough to buy either of them for some reason. Dubreuil also has great album artwork. Still haven’t heard the Weiss, but want to, and also I think there’s a set by Scott Ross that I don’t know anything about??

Schiff on ECM is definitely a good piano set although I keep coming back to Maria Tipo, who turns Bach into Brahms but it’s not actually awful. Probably I should stop singing her praises at every opportunity because the rest of you are tired. >.> The other pianist who started recording Bach partitas but has never done a cycle and who I like is Edna Stern. Maybe she’ll do some future Bach recordings on a fortepiano. The Virginia Black set looks interesting tho.

Was it Scott Ross's final studio recording? It's operatic -- lots of brute feeling like some sort of stand and deliver opera singer, presented in gigantic long phrases. Doesn't vary his touch much.
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #152 on: February 17, 2018, 01:22:35 PM »

Was it Scott Ross's final studio recording?

Almost. His last recording was the Frescobaldi CD.

Quote from: Mandryka

It's operatic -- lots of brute feeling like some sort of stand and deliver opera singer, presented in gigantic long phrases. Doesn't vary his touch much.

Did he ever vary his touch much?
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 02:07:02 PM by (: premont :) »
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kishnevi

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #153 on: February 17, 2018, 05:29:29 PM »
I sort of stopped my Bach partita hunting a while back with the Egarr set, which I enjoy quite a bit (have been debating deleting others from my hard disk, since harpsichord recordings take up a lot of space, but probably will just buy a new hard disk instead bc who knows, maybe I’ll someday want to hear Badura-Skoda again or whoever). On the stream-o-sphere I quite liked Dubreuil and Alard, but not enough to buy either of them for some reason. Dubreuil also has great album artwork. Still haven’t heard the Weiss, but want to, and also I think there’s a set by Scott Ross that I don’t know anything about??

Schiff on ECM is definitely a good piano set although I keep coming back to Maria Tipo, who turns Bach into Brahms but it’s not actually awful. Probably I should stop singing her praises at every opportunity because the rest of you are tired. >.> The other pianist who started recording Bach partitas but has never done a cycle and who I like is Edna Stern. Maybe she’ll do some future Bach recordings on a fortepiano. The Virginia Black set looks interesting tho.

If you like Tipo--, perhaps you would like Ashkenazy, who turns Bach into Chopin.  The approach may be perverse, but I think it works excellently.

Offline milk

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #154 on: February 17, 2018, 07:15:56 PM »
This is worth a listen. Takeshika gets the most out of his Silbermann fortepiano by way attentive rubato/articulation. Seems this chap never studied with anyone of note. He's kind of a mystery.
I'm just going to bump this. It's not a go-to recording. It's one for a rainy day. I'm bumping it hoping someone out there might acquire it and give me their opinion. I think this is one of the only fortepiano versions out there and I think it's very good. He doesn't play it safe vis a vis agogics. He's very inventive, never phoning it in. Sometimes the instrument seems like a bit of a struggle but it's part of the fun of this one.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #155 on: March 30, 2018, 05:45:51 AM »
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Offline Gordo

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #156 on: March 30, 2018, 06:00:12 AM »
Latest addition to the Partita discography:

https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/classical/products/8432719--bach-j-s-partitas-nos-1-6-bwv825-830

Great news! We need more recordings by him... An instantaneous must-have to me.   :)
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #157 on: April 01, 2018, 02:55:49 PM »
I've been revisiting James Weaver's version - on LP only, part of a big Smithsonian Bach box that came out in the late 1970s.

A great-sounding late analog recording with a very precise, light harpsichord tone, easy on the ears. Weaver attacks this music with a lot of energy and it sounds frenetic at times, with a swinging, improvisatory feel that reminds me of Scarlatti. This is very far from "cosmic" Bach. An unusual approach perhaps, but I like it a lot as a contrast to my more standard piano versions by Perahia and Sheppard.

Smithsonian really ought to reissue this one in some form. The extensive notes and accompanying 73-page reproduction of Bach's original score are nice touches, representative of LP sets at their best.
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Offline Que

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #158 on: April 01, 2018, 10:43:15 PM »
Great news! We need more recordings by him... An instantaneous must-have to me.   :)

Agreed!  :)

Menno van Delft need to get more recordings out there.

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Six Partitas
« Reply #159 on: April 01, 2018, 10:58:54 PM »
Agreed!  :)

Menno van Delft need to get more recordings out there.

Q

I thought the last thing he did was unlistenable. Transcriptions for two harpsichords of opera music by Rameau. Of course it may have been the music which put me off.

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