Author Topic: Musical Offering BWV 1079  (Read 18062 times)

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Online Mandryka

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #100 on: February 28, 2018, 09:57:57 PM »


Suzuki's Opfer came out in December last year

They have thought about the order

Quote
It is impossible to establish with certainty which order Bach intended for the various pieces in the Musical Offering – the first printed versions contradict each other, and the unusual combination of genres leaves little guidance for the performers.

The order adopted on the present disc is largely inspired by the way the pieces appear in the original print. In 1747, when Bach presented Frederick the Great with his elaborations on the monarch’s theme, the pieces were distributed over four different sections containing:

a) Ricercar a 3 and Canon perpetuus super Thema Regium [tracks 7–8 on the present disc]
b) The six numbered canons [tracks 1–6]
c) Sonata sopr’ il soggetto Reale and Canon perpetuus [tracks 12–16]
d) Ricercar a 6 and the two canons ‘Quaerendo invenietis’ [tracks 9–11]

Masaaki Suzuki and his colleagues have chosen to combine these sections in a new way, while maintaining the order of the pieces within them. The result is a varied sequence which emphasizes the importance of the canons by placing them at the beginning, and closing the work with the Canon perpetuus as an epilogue after the excitement of the trio sonata.

There is an interesting essay on the meaning of the music in the booklet by Michael Marissen

Quote
The collection may even have offended the king, since he must have noticed how the Musical Offering ‘baroques’ salient features of the galant style. Consider the bizarre and unsettling way that the appoggiatura, a sighing gesture, is lifted from its galant context of marking short phrase endings and is presented in the third movement of the trio sonata in isolation and then repeated extensively, even ob- sessively, at different pitch levels. A similar breaking-down of galant mannerisms can be found in the Three-Part Ricercar.

But Frederick would have understood Bach’s publication as more than an affront to his musical taste. With its archaic modes of expression and its religious sym- bolism, the Musical Offering embodies a theological world view wholly at odds with Frederick’s enlightened modernity.

The canons more than anything else in the Musical Offering bespeak Bach’s theologically conservative world view. By the 1740s, music in canon was even more strongly criticized than fugue, because it countered the rallying call of the Enlightenment for freedom of natural expression in art. In canons the various voices are not merely more or less equal in importance, they are equivalent: in the simplest form of canon, subsequent voices imitate the first voice note-for-note, as in a round. Throughout his career, Bach employed canons to allegorize law in the theological sense (‘law’ is, in fact, one of the original meanings of the word ‘canon’). This form is well-suited for such a purpose, as the freedom of the subsequent voices in a canon is restricted by their having, as it were, to follow the commandment of the initial voice. Not surprisingly, the use of canon in Bach is often tied up with the number ten (in reference to the biblical ‘Ten Commandments’). There are ten canons in the Musical Offering, and several bear biblical inscriptions pointing to what Luther called ‘the spiritual function of the law’: to become aware of sinful- ness, and, in repentance, to seek God’s mercy and grace.

Musically, Kiyomi Suga's flute is drop dead gorgeous, Suzuki is tough . . .
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 12:46:44 AM by Mandryka »
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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #101 on: February 28, 2018, 11:35:21 PM »

Suzuki's Opfer came out in December last year

They have thought about the order

The idea of performing the work in one sequence would probably have been alien to Bach, so the question of the sequence of the pieces is purely academic.

Quote from: Mandryka
There is an interesting essay on the meaning of the music in the booklet by Michael Marrisen

Yes, some new thoughts.

Quote from: Mandryka
Musically, Kiyomi Suga's flute is drop dead gorgeous, Suzuki is tough . . .

Certainly.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #102 on: March 01, 2018, 12:29:39 AM »
The idea of performing the work in one sequence would probably have been alien to Bach,



Possibly, although I note that in Dantone's essay which I posted in #73 of this thread we read

Quote
Conflicting theories have been put forward by various scholars as to why the first edition was thus printed in individual sections. Further questions abound concerning the exact order of the passages. Concerning this latter issue, the most convincing theory is that of Ursula Kirkendale, argued also by A. Basso in Frau Musika. According to the scholar, a connection can he drawn between the structure of The Musical Offering and the outline of an oration as set down by Quintiliano in his Institutio Oratorio. Following this outline, each part of The Musical Offering corresponds to a rule of rhetoric, that is, to the different functions of an address or narrative. Thus the work would be divided in two parts. The introduction (exordium) would include respectively the Ricercari in 3 and 6 voices, leaving the tasks of narration and argumentation to the several Canons. The conclusion then of Bach's discourse would he the Sonata and the Canon perpemus — the first of these, freed from strict contrapuntal formality, is suited to move the emotions and sentiments; the second piece stands as the definitive, irrefutable demonstration of reason and of intellectual rigour.

 Has Suzuki made the rhetorical error of putting  introduction (ric. à 3 ) after the narration and argumentation (canons)?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 12:37:42 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #103 on: March 01, 2018, 01:00:53 AM »
In Marissen's essay we read that Bach "made known his dissatisfaction with the improvisation" for Frederick. Does anyone know what the evidence is?

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #104 on: March 01, 2018, 01:58:16 AM »
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Online Mandryka

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« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 06:16:50 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Marc

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #106 on: March 01, 2018, 05:36:48 AM »
In Marissen's essay we read that Bach "made known his dissatisfaction with the improvisation" for Frederick. Does anyone know what the evidence is?

Funny.

Years ago, Leo van Doeselaar played the Ricercares in the Martinikerk Groningen, and he told the audience a bit about the work, with his usual way of smiling and joking around, and he suggested that Frederick and Bach had been 'teasing' each other.
Frederick considered Bach "the old Bach" (also 'old-fashioned' as a composer/musician) and Frederick was known as a lover of the modern 'galant' / 'rococo' style. So Frederick teased Bach by picking a theme which was very difficult to work out. Bach apparantly got the message and in return he composed a work that was both a masterpiece and a tough one to digest, as if to say "I'll teach you."

Well, something like that. It was fun, because Van Doeselaar was fun. He didn't present it as facts, but as a personal view.

And, of course, Van Doeselaar's performances of the Ricercares were great (the a 3 on the choir organ, the a 6 on the great organ).
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #107 on: March 01, 2018, 07:05:18 AM »
In Marissen's paper on Opfer which Premont found, I particularly appreciated the discussion of the Andante of the trio sonata, which has always struck me as a very disconcerting bit of music, I was quite surprised to read that some people think it's an example of Bach trying to write galantly. It's a shame that p96 isn't available on Google Books.
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kishnevi

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #108 on: March 01, 2018, 08:02:08 PM »
In Marissen's paper on Opfer which Premont found, I particularly appreciated the discussion of the Andante of the trio sonata, which has always struck me as a very disconcerting bit of music, I was quite surprised to read that some people think it's an example of Bach trying to write galantly. It's a shame that p96 isn't available on Google Books.

I don't think it should surprise anyone that a musical work composed for FdG and highlighting the kingly instrument should make at least a polite bow in the direction of galant.  Perhaps JSB meant to show that his usual avoidance of galant was based not on the inability but rather on the disinclination to write galant.

That said, I would have listen to it again to see if the music actually displays galant tendencies.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #109 on: September 29, 2018, 06:51:22 AM »
In Steven Ledbetter's essay for the Aston Magna recording on Centaur, we are told

Quote
many stylistic elements of this piece [the ricercar a 3] -- its use of motives typical of the galant style, such as duple and triple subdivisions of the beat in quick succession, sudden changes of contrasting materials, sigh motifs and so on -- suggest that it was not only improvised on a piano, but really conceived for things a piano can do that a harpsichord can not.
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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #110 on: September 29, 2018, 10:47:06 AM »
In Steven Ledbetter's essay for the Aston Magna recording on Centaur, we are told:

Many stylistic elements of this piece [the ricercar a 3] -- its use of motives typical of the galant style, such as duple and triple subdivisions of the beat in quick succession, sudden changes of contrasting materials, sigh motifs and so on -- suggest that it was not only improvised on a piano, but really conceived for things a piano can do that a harpsichord can not.

I am not sure, that I subscribe to this. Sigh motifs and sudden changes of contrasting materials existed long time before Bach and as to the duple/triple subdivisions I wonder whether the notes in the duple subdivisions should be played inegal - in accordance with the triple rhythm. I admit that Colin Booth gave me the idea with his "Did Bach really mean that?".
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #111 on: September 30, 2018, 09:02:35 AM »
I am not sure, that I subscribe to this. Sigh motifs and sudden changes of contrasting materials existed long time before Bach and as to the duple/triple subdivisions I wonder whether the notes in the duple subdivisions should be played inegal - in accordance with the triple rhythm. I admit that Colin Booth gave me the idea with his "Did Bach really mean that?".

I’m just not sure why he says the rhythms point to the piano. In the recording they play all the keyboard parts on a piano, it’s a shame the booklet didn’t discuss that decision. 
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 09:06:48 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Ras

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #112 on: September 30, 2018, 09:31:22 AM »
Jordi Savall's recording of BWV 1079 is my favorite.
Today I listened to Konstantin Lifschitz playing a solo piano arrangement and I liked it.
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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #113 on: September 30, 2018, 09:32:30 AM »
I’m just not sure why he says the rhythms point to the piano. In the recording they play all the keyboard parts on a piano, it’s a shame the booklet didn’t discuss that decision.

Probably to justify the choice of piano for the recording in question. I own the recording and find it very successful, not the least as to the fortepianist. That said, I much prefer harpsichord for The Musical Offering.

BTW have you heard Konstantin Lifschitz' all piano version?

https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/7961482--bach-musical-offering-prelude-fugue-frescobaldi-toccatas
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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #114 on: September 30, 2018, 09:38:34 AM »
Jordi Savall's recording of BWV 1079 is my favorite.
Today I listened to Konstantin Lifschitz playing a solo piano arrangement and I liked it.


My favorites are Leonhardt, Arion, Savall, Linde Consort and Messori.

I find Lifschitz interesting but something of an outsider.
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Offline Marc

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #115 on: September 30, 2018, 11:10:01 PM »
Some good performances are mentioned... I recall that I also dug the Terakado et al recording (Denon).
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #116 on: September 30, 2018, 11:15:56 PM »
I have a ticket to hear it in London in a couple of weeks

https://www.sjss.org.uk/events/musical-offering

This group, The Bach Players, have a big discography, but I've never knowingly heard a note by them

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« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 11:26:54 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Gordo

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #117 on: October 01, 2018, 06:34:01 AM »
I have a ticket to hear it in London in a couple of weeks

https://www.sjss.org.uk/events/musical-offering

This group, The Bach Players, have a big discography, but I've never knowingly heard a note by them

https://hyphenpress.co.uk/products/music

Here you have two samples of this same program:

http://thebachplayers.org.uk/recordings/musical_offering


PS: Of course, this is not "THE Musical Offering," but "A Musical Offering."

« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 06:37:40 AM by Gordo »
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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #118 on: October 01, 2018, 11:21:08 AM »
Here you have two samples of this same program:

http://thebachplayers.org.uk/recordings/musical_offering

One of those many very sympathetic recordings of the Opfer, which would be among my preferred versions, if there wasn't so many others which are better.
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Offline Gordo

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Re: Musical Offering BWV 1079
« Reply #119 on: October 02, 2018, 05:18:10 AM »
One of those many very sympathetic recordings of the Opfer, which would be among my preferred versions, if there wasn't so many others which are better.

Between those two tracks, I largely preferred the interpretation of Buxtehude.

They have a beautiful 2-CD set called "Pachelbel and Bach: Canons and Cantatas" that I recall I enjoyed in the past.   :)
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