Author Topic: Bach on the piano  (Read 63846 times)

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Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #580 on: November 14, 2018, 01:01:34 AM »
This seems right, Don liked it and didn't like his first recording, I'm not so sure I agree, but possibly the first recording doesn't stress catchy melodies so much for you to hum along too, and the phrasing is less incisive  and the piano is less colourful. I'm thinking really about the second book rather than the first.  Every time I listen to his first recording my intuition -- which may be worthless -- tells me that there's something interesting going on there,  I'd have to put more work in to articulate it. It's something to do with lyricism maybe, and a more homogeneous approach to the voicing. Sometime I'll give both recordings the attention they may or may not repay.

Part of it may be a special sort of British puritan masochism -- the second recording is so fun and easy and accessible that I just don't trust it.
it’s certainly fun and it really sounds good too. Lots of little inventive details but they don’t seem contrived.

Offline amw

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #581 on: November 14, 2018, 01:10:36 AM »
This seems right, Don liked it and didn't like his first recording, I'm not so sure I agree, but possibly the first recording doesn't stress catchy melodies so much for you to hum along too, and the phrasing is less incisive  and the piano is less colourful. I'm thinking really about the second book rather than the first.  Every time I listen to his first recording my intuition -- which may be worthless -- tells me that there's something interesting going on there,  I'd have to put more work in to articulate it. It's something to do with lyricism maybe, and a more homogeneous approach to the voicing. Sometime I'll give both recordings the attention they may or may not repay.

Part of it may be a special sort of British puritan masochism -- the second recording is so fun and easy and accessible that I just don't trust it.

The first recording is on Decca. I actually own it as well as the ECM one but haven't listened to it in several centuries—probably due to making an unfair judgment that the Decca recording is played at a uniformly mezzo-forte dynamic with excessively smoothed over phrasing. I call that unfair because if it's true, it is equally so of the second recording, which just has better sound.

Someday I will listen to more of these WTCs on piano—at the moment I enjoy listening to Dominique Merlet who seems very unpretentious and nice and also plays everything about mezzo forte.

Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #582 on: November 14, 2018, 02:00:00 AM »
The first recording is on Decca. I actually own it as well as the ECM one but haven't listened to it in several centuries—probably due to making an unfair judgment that the Decca recording is played at a uniformly mezzo-forte dynamic with excessively smoothed over phrasing. I call that unfair because if it's true, it is equally so of the second recording, which just has better sound.

Someday I will listen to more of these WTCs on piano—at the moment I enjoy listening to Dominique Merlet who seems very unpretentious and nice and also plays everything about mezzo forte.
I'm going to search out Merlet. Dynamics is one thing that sometimes annoys me so I might like Merlet as well. Hmm..."Smoothed over phrasing"...I went looking for what would be the opposite of that for contrast and came up with Turek.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #583 on: November 14, 2018, 02:48:03 AM »
Didn't you have Schepkin's? I have only one Volume, I think, but I seem to recall this as not mainly/only mezzoforte. Also Koroliov (his WTC and French suites are on Tacet, GVB, Inv/Sinf and Clavierübung II on Hänssler) could be a consideration (sorry I did not read the whole thread, all these might have been covered in detail).
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #584 on: November 14, 2018, 03:29:45 AM »
Didn't you have Schepkin's? I have only one Volume, I think, but I seem to recall this as not mainly/only mezzoforte. Also Koroliov (his WTC and French suites are on Tacet, GVB, Inv/Sinf and Clavierübung II on Hänssler) could be a consideration (sorry I did not read the whole thread, all these might have been covered in detail).
I didn't pay enough attention to Schepkin and need to listen again. Now that I'm streaming stuff, my concentration is getting scattered.

Online Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #585 on: November 14, 2018, 07:56:22 AM »
The first recording is on Decca. I actually own it as well as the ECM one but haven't listened to it in several centuries—probably due to making an unfair judgment that the Decca recording is played at a uniformly mezzo-forte dynamic with excessively smoothed over phrasing. I call that unfair because if it's true, it is equally so of the second recording, which just has better sound.

Fair or unfair, I can't say. I regard Schiff's traversal of the Bach Piano music on Decca as one of the great recording projects. Not flashy, but creates a perfect texture in which Bach's counterpoint effortlessly emerges. There are other recordings that I love, but I would never be without this collection.

Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #586 on: November 14, 2018, 10:00:21 PM »
Fair or unfair, I can't say. I regard Schiff's traversal of the Bach Piano music on Decca as one of the great recording projects. Not flashy, but creates a perfect texture in which Bach's counterpoint effortlessly emerges. There are other recordings that I love, but I would never be without this collection.
Why doesn't his later tries equal the Decca? Hmm, now I have to go and listen to that too!

Online Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #587 on: November 14, 2018, 10:42:41 PM »
Why doesn't his later tries equal the Decca? Hmm, now I have to go and listen to that too!

Of his second traversal on ECM I have only listened to the Goldberg Variations. I found the second recording equally interesting, and I could not say which I prefer.

Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #588 on: November 15, 2018, 03:54:54 AM »
I went back to Rubsam's French Suites tonight. I can understand what he's doing more in light of his Lautenwerk stuff. I'm not sure why the strategy seems more convincing to me on the plucking instrument. Sometimes his French Suites are a little stilted. On the other hand, he brings out counterpoint especially on the slower sarabandes. Is it a combination of going "all in" on the Lute-harpsichord and the sound of the instrument itself?   

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #589 on: November 15, 2018, 09:01:11 AM »



Part of it may be a special sort of British puritan masochism -- the second recording is so fun and easy and accessible that I just don't trust it.

 ;D Very possibly.

I've just and finally listened to his second, ECM, Goldberg Variations and was very pleased with those, too. (Though the difference between the two Partita sets may be starker, still.)

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #590 on: November 15, 2018, 11:54:45 AM »
Someone -- milk maybe -- was asking about Rubsam's piano recordings, in the light of the style he's trying out on lautenwerk. I've been listening to the partitas, and it's intersesting because stylistically it's mixed I think. For example there's some genuinely "horizontal" non chordal counterpoint in the allemande of the 6th, but in the toccata it sounds to me more like more traditional voicing, with some interesting ideas about which voices carry the melody sometimes, but the effect comes from rubato and tempo rather than from the counterpoint.

As far as his rubato is concerned, I want to paraphrase a friend of mine's comment about the new violin sonatas and partitas by Giuliano Carmignola. He said that Carmignola has mastered the art of making the music uneven, the art of transcending  the bar lines, in order to avoid forcing things, to avoid hammering the musical ideas home. And I would add, to avoid pounding out the chords that mark the pulse. And that Carmignola does this with fluidity and naturalness.

Now here's the question. Can you say the same of Rubsam?


« Last Edit: November 15, 2018, 11:57:50 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #591 on: November 15, 2018, 03:49:53 PM »
Someone -- milk maybe -- was asking about Rubsam's piano recordings, in the light of the style he's trying out on lautenwerk. I've been listening to the partitas, and it's intersesting because stylistically it's mixed I think. For example there's some genuinely "horizontal" non chordal counterpoint in the allemande of the 6th, but in the toccata it sounds to me more like more traditional voicing, with some interesting ideas about which voices carry the melody sometimes, but the effect comes from rubato and tempo rather than from the counterpoint.

As far as his rubato is concerned, I want to paraphrase a friend of mine's comment about the new violin sonatas and partitas by Giuliano Carmignola. He said that Carmignola has mastered the art of making the music uneven, the art of transcending  the bar lines, in order to avoid forcing things, to avoid hammering the musical ideas home. And I would add, to avoid pounding out the chords that mark the pulse. And that Carmignola does this with fluidity and naturalness.

Now here's the question. Can you say the same of Rubsam?
it seems to work out better on the Lautenwerk. I think “yes,” for the most part.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #592 on: November 15, 2018, 10:01:47 PM »
it seems to work out better on the Lautenwerk.

I think one way the Naxos piano recordings are like the lautenwerk is that they are unpredictable and they give the impression of spontaneous improvisation. Maybe they are spontaneous improvisation. They are a constant source of surprises, even after knowing them for years they’re challenging and ravishing to revisit.

I have not heard a set of piano partitas as stimulating and rewarding as Rübsam’s. One thing I love about what he does is how he so thoroughly breaks with conservatory style with such style and passion. In that way he reminds me of Bjorn Schmelzer.

Another thing I like about them is the calmness and restraint - enhanced by the small, almost clavichord like sound. And the disarming honesty of the feelings he expresses.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2018, 10:11:29 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #593 on: November 15, 2018, 10:52:18 PM »
I think one way the Naxos piano recordings are like the lautenwerk is that they are unpredictable and they give the impression of spontaneous improvisation. Maybe they are spontaneous improvisation. They are a constant source of surprises, even after knowing them for years they’re challenging and ravishing to revisit.

I have not heard a set of piano partitas as stimulating and rewarding as Rübsam’s. One thing I love about what he does is how he so thoroughly breaks with conservatory style with such style and passion. In that way he reminds me of Bjorn Schmelzer.

Another thing I like about them is the calmness and restraint - enhanced by the small, almost clavichord like sound. And the disarming honesty of the feelings he expresses.
It's a recommendation I can't pass up. I suspect I will have to listen to them with headphones and open my mind a bit.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #594 on: November 15, 2018, 11:47:35 PM »
I think one way the Naxos piano recordings are like the lautenwerk is that they are unpredictable and they give the impression of spontaneous improvisation. Maybe they are spontaneous improvisation. They are a constant source of surprises, even after knowing them for years they’re challenging and ravishing to revisit.

I have not heard a set of piano partitas as stimulating and rewarding as Rübsam’s. One thing I love about what he does is how he so thoroughly breaks with conservatory style with such style and passion. In that way he reminds me of Bjorn Schmelzer.

Another thing I like about them is the calmness and restraint - enhanced by the small, almost clavichord like sound. And the disarming honesty of the feelings he expresses.

As it happens, this Rubsam recording is on Prime. So I started listening. I don't think I've heard a partita I disliked so much. It IS very personal, so I suppose if you like this sort of thing, perhaps that is what you like. But if this first one is representative of the rest, I thought he mangled it. I say this because (for example in the opening) he plays the phrases as if they have no context or relationship to each other. It's like lurching from phrase to phrase without meaning. The left hand seems lost a bit.  I just don't think his approach here works very well.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2018, 11:49:31 PM by mc ukrneal »
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #595 on: November 16, 2018, 12:39:08 AM »
As it happens, this Rubsam recording is on Prime. So I started listening. I don't think I've heard a partita I disliked so much. It IS very personal, so I suppose if you like this sort of thing, perhaps that is what you like. But if this first one is representative of the rest, I thought he mangled it. I say this because (for example in the opening) he plays the phrases as if they have no context or relationship to each other. It's like lurching from phrase to phrase without meaning. The left hand seems lost a bit.  I just don't think his approach here works very well.
I also had to turn off Rubsam's piano partitas tonight. I don't know why exactly. I really like his lautenwerk stuff. I might still try again but, yeah, listening to the first partita was unpleasant for some reason.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach on the piano
« Reply #596 on: November 16, 2018, 04:25:18 AM »
In fact I can't remember his first partita. The two I enjoy most are 4 and 6. But, having just played it, if this comment is supposed to be about the opening movement of Partita 1

I say this because (for example in the opening) he plays the phrases as if they have no context or relationship to each other. It's like lurching from phrase to phrase without meaning. The left hand seems lost a bit.

it's not right IMO. It makes it sound as if the internal relationships between the phrases, the tonal and motivic relationships, are masked. But that's incorrect. Neither does he lurch. And expressively it's full of meaning.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2018, 04:35:16 AM by Mandryka »
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