Author Topic: Bach Goldberg Variations  (Read 42704 times)

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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2007, 07:03:48 AM »
Since the "intervention" results in more rounded and rich phrasing, I definitely prefer the original mono version.

Prefer whatever you want. The world is full of people like you stuck in history and unable to see forward into the future. Gould laughs at you in his grave. ;D

I definitely prefer the 5.0 SACD track.
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Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2007, 07:14:01 AM »
I've responded so many times to the first question above that I'll leave it be for now.  I always listen to the entire work with 100% concentration; it's much too good to hear as background music.  Besides, it was only intended as "falling asleep music" for a particular insomniac, and it's quite possible that the music's purpose was to entertain the insomniac.  Of course, it's now the 21st century, and intentions back in the 18th century are not very relevant in present time.  Also, these variations veer so far from the original theme/aria that I can't imagine anyone getting much insight from the music without concentrated listening.

"Good Bach"?  About the best of Bach along with many other Bach works such as the WTC, Liepzig Chorales, Cello Suites, Mass in B minor, St. Matthew Passion, etc.  Really, the list of superlative Bach pieces is very, very, long.

I find the Goldbergs highly typical of Bach: wonderful melodies, expert construction and wide-ranging emotional content from the underbelly of the human condition to the highest levels of spirituality.

Now I return to the matter of excellent recordings.  As has been noted, I have over 100 versions and the list keeps growing.  I either greatly admire or love each of them.  However, most folks just want a few (at most) recordings.  Here's my top picks:

Glenn Gould(piano):  Sony "55", Sony "59" and Sony "81".  If forced to choose, I'd take the Sony "81".  Gould's greatness in this work comes from his ability to elevate the significance of lower voices without depreciating the soprano voice.

Rosalyn Tureck (piano):  She has two or three versions on VAI Audio and one on the Philips Great Pianists of the Century series.  Although each is a winner, my preference is for her most recent account on DG.  What makes Tureck a fantastic Bach pianist is her diving into the architecture of each piece while also fully conveying emotional content.

Andras Schiff (piano):  His ECM version is about the most positive and exuberant one I know - very uplifting.  Avoid the Decca/Penguin release; this one is his earliest effort and not very rewarding.

Tatiana Nikolayeva (piano): Her Classico version; it's prime quality is "insistent".  Forget her Hyperion effort that is rather choppy.  I'm currently getting into her version on BBC Legends, but not enjoying it as much as the Classico.

Simone Dinnerstein (piano):  The most interesting I've heard over the past few years: trance-like interpretations mixed with a virtuosity second to none.  You never know what she'll do next.

Fingers are getting tired so I'll just list the harpsichord versions I favor:

Gilbert/Harmonia Mundi
Hantai/Naive (optimistic) and Mirare (searching)
Leonhardt/various versions, each captivating.
Frisch/Alpha Productions
Vartolo/Tactus
Dantone/Decca
Rousset/Decca
Ross/Virgin Veritas
Richter/Teldec
Verlet/Astree

If super-budget is your thing:

James Friskin (piano) on Vanguard.  Skip the Jando on Naxos.




  Don I was wondering what you thought of the Trevor Pinnock Goldberg Variations set on harpsichord? Are you familiar with that set?  I remember reading on previous threads that Larry Rinkel had issues with Pinnock's take on Bach's Goldbergs (something along the lines of them sounding like a sewing machine) if memory serves me correctly.

  marvin

Don

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2007, 07:44:05 AM »
Prefer whatever you want. The world is full of people like you stuck in history and unable to see forward into the future.

This is what I would expect from you - ridiculous insults instead of musical insight.  Take a deep breath and try to come back later with something to say of significance.

Offline orbital

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2007, 07:53:58 AM »

I definitely prefer the 5.0 SACD track.
I almost got that one. Meaning, I ordered it, but never got it, and cancelled the order. From what I heard from the website samples, I think it is a commandable effort.
However, Gould 55 is not too bad anyway. When and if they go ahead with older recordings (de Pachmann, Cortot, Friedman...) I will definitely give them a try. The process does make a lot of sense. I don't really care about who (or what) is beyond the piano as long as it can reproduce the same exact playing. To think otherwise would be to put too much importance on who is playing and not enough on what is being played.

Don

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2007, 08:05:14 AM »
 Don I was wondering what you thought of the Trevor Pinnock Goldberg Variations set on harpsichord? Are you familiar with that set?  I remember reading on previous threads that Larry Rinkel had issues with Pinnock's take on Bach's Goldbergs (something along the lines of them sounding like a sewing machine) if memory serves me correctly.

  marvin

Larry Rinkel?  Isn't he the guy who berates Harry about his conspicuous consumption patterns?

Seriously, I don't agree with Larry on this one.  If Pinnock's version sounds like a sewing machine, it's a top-of-the-line model.  I find Pinnock among the better harpsichord versions.  However, those who insist on their Bach with highly flexible phrasing would not care for it.

Don

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #45 on: December 04, 2007, 08:07:03 AM »
I almost got that one. Meaning, I ordered it, but never got it, and cancelled the order. From what I heard from the website samples, I think it is a commandable effort.
However, Gould 55 is not too bad anyway. When and if they go ahead with older recordings (de Pachmann, Cortot, Friedman...) I will definitely give them a try. The process does make a lot of sense. I don't really care about who (or what) is beyond the piano as long as it can reproduce the same exact playing.

But it can't.  Every single "piano-roll" recording I've heard takes the edge out the performance with rounded contours and softer attacks.  When the original recording is in wretched sound, the "rolls" can be an advantage.  However, Gould "55" does not have wretched sound.  This latest reproduction doesn't even retain Gould's humming ways.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2007, 08:14:51 AM by Don »

karlhenning

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #46 on: December 04, 2007, 08:18:25 AM »
The world is full of people like you stuck in history and unable to see forward into the future.

You were told to stop drinking out of the toilet, Poju.  But it seems your head is stuck there in the cold porcelain.

Oh, and "Gould laughs at you in his grave" is your idea of "seeing forward into the future"? You're a funny one.

karlhenning

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #47 on: December 04, 2007, 08:20:42 AM »
Every single "piano-roll" recording I've heard takes the edge out the performance with rounded contours and softer attacks.

Not sure if the scare-quotes may render this remark of mine widely off-course . . . but one error is in thinking of a piano-roll as somehow 'documenting a performance'.  A piano-roll is not a document of a performance;  it is the result of a performer working to produce a piano-roll.

Offline orbital

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #48 on: December 04, 2007, 08:39:35 AM »
But it can't.  Every single "piano-roll" recording I've heard takes the edge out the performance with rounded contours and softer attacks.  When the original recording is in wretched sound, the "rolls" can be an advantage.  However, Gould "55" does not have wretched sound.  This latest reproduction doesn't even retain Gould's humming ways.
If you mean to say that those extracurricular noise (and hummings) are part of the charm, I agree. But when it comes to musical performance itself, stripped of all those extra tags, Zenph studios made something that is very remarkable IMO.

Those historical performances are always remastered anyhow. Most of us have not even heard the actual recordings, but versions of them which have been digitally enhanced to improve audibility. Between an original slice-tape recording and a digitally remastered versions most of us already go for the latter. When you think about it, the timbre in the remastered CDs does not reflect the actual frequency range anyway. What we have here is just taking it a bit (ok, a bit more than a bit) further.
AFAIK, all musical information in the Zenph recordings including the attack, delay, sustain &release are left untouched. We are talking about microscopic note-for-note information, down to milliseconds and hundreds of levels of dynamics.
What it all comes down to is the piano tone. Now, Cortot's pianos are not produced anymore so we don't have much of a choice there. They probably go for a tone that is closest to the original (or perhaps even sample the old piano sounds to arrive at someting that is very similar).

In the end, when I sit down to listen to these two performances, I find them equally great.
[mp3=200,20,0,center]http://zenph.com/audio/Cortot-Chopin-Gmajor-1926.mp3[/mp3]

[mp3=200,20,0,center]http://zenph.com/audio/Zenph-Chopin-Gmajor-2005.mp3[/mp3]
« Last Edit: December 04, 2007, 08:42:47 AM by orbital »

Don

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #49 on: December 04, 2007, 10:01:45 AM »
Another Goldbergs I think highly of but haven't yet mentioned comes from pianist Daniel Propper on the Skarbo label.  It's a no-frills account with few repeats but played expertly.  Can't imagine anyone not liking it.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #50 on: December 04, 2007, 11:38:21 AM »
Every single "piano-roll" recording I've heard takes the edge out the performance with rounded contours and softer attacks.

Yes, but Gould "06" re-performance has nothing to do with piano rolls. It's newest cutting-edge technology. As an acoustic engineer I can say what Zenph does is extremely sophisticated. Forget about piano rolls. This is revolution. 

You were told to stop drinking out of the toilet, Poju.  But it seems your head is stuck there in the cold porcelain.

If you think I am drinking out of toilet that's your problem.
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Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
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karlhenning

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #51 on: December 04, 2007, 11:40:19 AM »
It ain't me what has the problem here, Poju.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #52 on: December 04, 2007, 11:45:38 AM »
It ain't me what has the problem here, Poju.

You don't show much talent understanding free-thinkers.
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Offline BachQ

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #53 on: December 04, 2007, 11:53:11 AM »
You don't show much talent understanding free-thinkers.

It's very decent and noble of you to tolerate non-freethinkers like us .........

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #54 on: December 04, 2007, 12:00:16 PM »
It's very decent and noble of you to tolerate non-freethinkers like us .........

Depends on what non-freethinkers say. I tolerate tolerable things.
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
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karlhenning

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #55 on: December 04, 2007, 12:05:57 PM »
You don't show much talent understanding free-thinkers.

What makes you think you can judge talent?

Don

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #56 on: December 04, 2007, 12:21:36 PM »
Yes, but Gould "06" re-performance has nothing to do with piano rolls. It's newest cutting-edge technology. As an acoustic engineer I can say what Zenph does is extremely sophisticated. Forget about piano rolls. This is revolution. 


Only in your mind, and the re-performance you talk about is basically a modern slant on piano rolls.

I remember a Fanfare review of this recording that referred to it as "electronic ventriloquism.  As a non-employed acoustic engineer, how do you respond to this comment?

Don

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #57 on: December 04, 2007, 12:27:59 PM »
You don't show much talent understanding free-thinkers.

You've been dumping this free-thinker and vibrational-field nonsense on us for what seems like forever.  When will you admit that everyone on this board thinks just as expansively as you do?  Put another way, nothing you write alters my basic view that you're not of the brightest bulbs on the block.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #58 on: December 04, 2007, 12:32:38 PM »
Quote
Only in your mind, and the re-performance you talk about is basically a modern slant on piano rolls.
Well, piano roll could be called a hunch of this technology. Piano Roll was used first time in 1883, over 100 years before Zenph's method.

Quote
I remember a Fanfare review of this recording that referred to it as "electronic ventriloquism.  As a non-employed acoustic engineer, how do you respond to this comment?

Very stupid comment. People tend to have stupid opinions about new techology.
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

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Offline BachQ

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #59 on: December 04, 2007, 12:41:33 PM »
People tend to have stupid opinions about new techology.

Not if they are freethinkers .......

 

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