Author Topic: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord  (Read 204003 times)

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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1200 on: November 11, 2018, 09:59:57 PM »
For a hot WTC2 try Frederick Haas, I've never heard the Hantai WTC 1.

Thanks, You can hear part of the Hantai performance of the WTC 1 on YouTube w/o commercials (~1hr) !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upiDdZmFfQY&t=1945s
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 10:39:02 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1201 on: November 15, 2018, 01:34:26 AM »
I'm just checking in with this recording tonight. I feel like Brookshire uses every trick in the book in terms of articulation and rubato. I don't know if he's intimate. I think so, but it's also very intensely done. It's almost nervous and, like, he gives the sense of something important or suspenseful happening. He changes things up a lot and that makes it feel cinematic: here's a chase, here's a dream, here's a respite or a sentimental reverie. So, this isn't "unpretentious" I guess. Brookshire stretches the music and I think gives it a modern feel. Maybe this treatment works because the FS, of all Bach's keyboard stuff, seem made more for the moment, for fun, for an intimate or rustic setting. It's not searingly powerful like the partitas, or highly spiritual and abstract like the WTC books or deep and dark and religious like the AOF (the other piece Brookshire did, arguably less successfully), or a large form exploration like the Goldbergs. Anyway, I think anyone who hasn't heard Brookshire should check him out; I doubt everyone will like him. By the time Brookshire gets to the Gigue in Suite No. 5, a triumph is earned and a moment of exultation and joy. So, I'm still very smitten with this recording.   

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1202 on: November 15, 2018, 03:24:07 AM »
Have you heard Blandine Verlet’s French Suites? If not let me know and I’ll send them to you,  in some ways they remind me of Brookshire’s because of the nervous intensity. 
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1203 on: November 15, 2018, 03:57:21 AM »
Have you heard Blandine Verlet’s French Suites? If not let me know and I’ll send them to you,  in some ways they remind me of Brookshire’s because of the nervous intensity.
Thanks! I don't see it on my streaming site either. I'd like to hear it but no rush!

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1204 on: February 25, 2019, 01:54:03 AM »


A perfectly enjoyable performance of the first three French suites by Lorenzo Ghielmi. Well behaved, modest, no flashiness, quiet: in short, like it should be. Perfectly nice harpsichord by Kieth Hill.

What prompted me to post was this comment I found online at FNAC, attributed to "The Editor", whatever that might mean.

Quote from: https://musique.fnac.com/a7568008/Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Suites-francaises-n-1-a-3-CD-album
Bach s'est probablement inspiré de l'hexachordum Apollinis de Pachelbel dont il fut l'élève fugace

I've never come across the idea that there's a connection between the French Suites and Hexachordum Apollinis before.


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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1205 on: February 25, 2019, 04:01:06 AM »
I've never come across the idea that there's a connection between the French Suites and Hexachordum Apollinis before.

These "connections" are often too far out. E.g. the "connection" between French lute music and the AoF.
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1206 on: June 03, 2019, 11:09:32 PM »
How are y’all liking Masaaki Suzuki’s English Suites?

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1207 on: June 04, 2019, 03:40:18 AM »
How are y’all liking Masaaki Suzuki’s English Suites?

Very much so. In fact, the truth is, for the first time ever, I'm really enjoying these suites, which I'd always felt in the past were less stimulating that the Partitas or the French suites.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1208 on: June 12, 2019, 07:42:16 AM »
An essay by Andrew Appel on the influence of French composers on Bach's harpsichord music, which may be of interest, but may not

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During my first years of study and infatuation with the harpsichord, Baroque music and Bach, I was mystified in reading about Bach's susceptibility to French music. Where, I would ask myself, was the influence of Francois Couperin and Rameau to be heard in the English and French Suites? For me, for most of us in the late 1960s, the repertoire of French music before 1710 was poorly represented in recordings and concerts and not easily accessible in editions (with the exception of the work of Albert Fuller and Thurston Dart). The language of Marchand and Le Roux, of D'Anglebert and even Lully, was mostly unknown.

But this musical language, the 17th century French style, was familiar and inspiring to Johann Sebastian.-Over the last three decades, our interest in the composers who were central to musical life in Paris and represented in so many manuscripts in Germany, has moved in from the periphery of our repertoire. This music is now central and basic to harpsichordists' education and performances. We have seen that the works of the "petit maitre," of Le Roux, La Guerre, Marchand, are unique, savoury treasures. They serve not only as explanations of the origins of more familiar composers, but as character-rich and recognizable masterpieces to be enjoyed and admired. For Bach, Le Roux and Marchand were to be enjoyed, admired, and emulated. Both suites recorded here are found in important Bach family manuscripts and were known by Johann Sebastian. As I studied and performed these two Parisian suites alongside the second English Suite of Bach, I found quality after quality that united all three works.

The historical relationship between Bach and Marchand enjoys some familiarity from the well-known anecdote of a planned meeting and competition between the two great organists. Story has it that Marchand, the night before the test, happened in on Bach's practice session and was so taken aback by the stellar genius, that, judging discretion the better part of valour, left town before sunrise. Marchand's fame has suffered from this story but this brilliant suite of harpsichord pieces in D minor takes some tarnish from his reputation. It compares comfortably to the Bach work. In the allemandes, both composers play with subtle chromatic alteration. This renders the melodic lines elastic and supple. The courantes are intriguing and complicated. The sarabandes are rich, chordal, sensuous dances that combine dramatic rhetorical statement with grand and graceful dance gesture. Though Marchand's is more imitative and Bach's is uncompromisingly 2 part, both gigues are virtuoso and contrapuntal. After careful listening, the argument for influence of the older Frenchman on the German is clear and compelling.

Bach knew Gaspard Le Roux's music from an early 18th century pirated edition printed in Amsterdam, copied from the original Parisian print of 1705. This perfumed, varied, elegant, simple, idiomatic music must have challenged Bach's mind, a mind that moved more easily in a world of counterpoint and complication than in one of sensual delight and gallant, natural expression. Bach refers to this music as a model for minuets, gavottes and passepieds in his orchestral and keyboard music.

My personal regret is that though he included passacaille and chaconne movements in his cantatas, Bach never completed his own pieces de clavecin with a climactic chaconne as was the practice of Marchand and Le Roux. Did he feel that the expansive preludes did not allow for an equally grand statement at the end of a suite of dances? Similarly, did Francois Couperin, with his grand allemandes, feel that the chaconne was no longer required or desired in a collection of keyboard pieces? Finally, Bach and Francois Couperin are both students of Le Roux and Marchand. As extraordinarily different as they are, they stand on the same base of accomplishment and inspiration.


Andrew Appel. 2000
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1209 on: August 14, 2019, 06:50:40 AM »
   

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https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/theraritanplayersrebecca

In "How Thorough was Bach's Thoroughbass?  A Reconsideration of the Trio Texture" (Early Music, February 2019) Rebecca Cypress explores the practice of playing trio sonatas on two keyboards. Apparently François Couperin recommends it in the preface to the Apothéose de Lully, and she's unearthed evidence that the practice was well known in Germany, testified by sources associated with the Bachs.

In the above recording you can hear BWV 1039 and BWV 526 as a duo for fortepiano and harpsichord.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 06:53:54 AM by Mandryka »
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Online (: premont :)

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1210 on: August 14, 2019, 12:34:13 PM »
Rebecca Cypress explores the practice of playing trio sonatas on two keyboards.

How does she think the three voices should be distributed between the four hands?
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1211 on: August 14, 2019, 11:40:24 PM »
How does she think the three voices should be distributed between the four hands?

First soprano and bass on one keyboard, second soprano and the same bass line on the other. This is François Couperin's suggested procedure.

Cypress has found evidence that Bach encouraged his students to improvise thoroughbass so as to enhance the harmonies. She writes that in BWV 1039

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Here the principle of a generous chordal realisation, even when the obbligato line is present, is even clearer since both keyboardists have the capacity to enrich the texture through added notes. In playing this piece my duo partner and I were able to share the task of adding to the harmony, responding to one another'd additions and capturing notes that would have been difficult for the other player to reach.

By the way, I was aware of the possibility of two keyboard performances of Couperin's trio sonatas because of some pleasant recordings with Emer Buckley -- who's a keyboardist who interests me. But I'd always assumed that they were Couperin's transcriptions made in the style of Gaspard le Roux.

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1212 on: August 15, 2019, 04:38:54 AM »
First soprano and bass on one keyboard, second soprano and the same bass line on the other. This is François Couperin's suggested procedure.

Francois Couperin or not, if we look at the two-keyboard arrangement of the three part mirror fugue from the AoF and at the texture for the left hands in the multiple keyboards concertos, I think Bach would have solved the problem with the "unused" left hand of one of the players by adding a free new composed fourth part for it. So harpsichordist 1 would play soprano 1 with the right hand and bass with the left hand and harpsichordist 2 would play soprano 2 with the right hand and his left hand would play the free added part.
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Offline jwinter

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1213 on: August 15, 2019, 05:58:13 PM »
I've just acquired my second WTC on harpsichord (the first being Christiane Jaccottet, which I've had for years), looking forward to spending some time with it this weekend.  I confess that I generally prefer piano for Bach, but I'm trying to broaden my horizons....


The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Offline milk

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1214 on: August 16, 2019, 12:11:32 AM »
I've just acquired my second WTC on harpsichord (the first being Christiane Jaccottet, which I've had for years), looking forward to spending some time with it this weekend.  I confess that I generally prefer piano for Bach, but I'm trying to broaden my horizons....



you might compare this to someone like Gilbert or Suzuki or Leonhardt or Robert Levin or Wilson. I admit I didn’t give Rousett a big chance and maybe I should. Seems like he didn’t get a ringing endorsement here.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach on the harpsichord, lute-harpsichord, clavichord
« Reply #1215 on: August 16, 2019, 01:27:57 AM »
This is what I wrote about Rousset’s WTC when it came out

I listened to Rousset play the second book again last night. I must say, the harpsichord sounds wonderful! The music does sound good on Flemish instruments like this, and the sound engineer deserves a pay rise for capturing it so well.

The performances are on the whole unsurprising - mainstream HIP - as far as I can see. Über mainstream HIP.

The booklet essay is particularly illuminating on his approach. He says that, because Bach has given no indication about the character of the music, he has concluded that the pieces in WTC 2 are abstract, and that they demand a neutral approach. He says he hopes that he has, nevertheless, managed to make them sound humane. Rousset's little essay is well worth reading.

When it was released, I was hoping that Rousset's experience in opera would inspire him to give a particularly dramatic account of the music, lyrical, full of fantasy and passionate intensity.

But no.

Nevertheless there's a lot of pleasure to be had from these straight performances, I don't think the makes the music sound stiff or earth-bound.

And then there was a bit of a discussion about it with me and que. Just listening to the start of the second book the harpsichord sounds good! As far as the interpretations go, he’s in the Jupiterian magisterial mode that he’s adopted of late with Louis Couperin and Frescobaldi, you’ll either like it or you won’t. .
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 01:34:44 AM by Mandryka »
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