Author Topic: Bach Goldberg Variations  (Read 49029 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #200 on: September 17, 2015, 12:17:39 PM »
Not in depth. I have heard two or three recordings of these works, but they seem to me rather to be music for the performer than for the listener.

You hear big claims made about it, for example Glen Wilson praises them to the skies in the essay on his website on the Goldbergs. The one I've enjoyed the most is with Michael Behringer on Haensler, on a CD with Opfer.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #201 on: October 03, 2016, 12:30:25 PM »


A very stylish modern piano recording from Burkard Schliessmann, hardly any dynamic variation, perfect clarity and equality of the voices, moderate tempos, unobtrusive rubato and ornaments.
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Offline KevinP

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #202 on: December 19, 2016, 11:01:02 PM »
Does any recording take every repeat?

I'm asking purely out of curiosity, not because it's a criterion I'm looking for.

Offline Marc

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #203 on: December 19, 2016, 11:22:12 PM »
Does any recording take every repeat?

I'm asking purely out of curiosity, not because it's a criterion I'm looking for.

Check this out:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldberg_Variations_discography
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #204 on: December 20, 2016, 01:07:21 AM »
Check this out:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldberg_Variations_discography

Doesn't Egarr take all the repeats? I had always assumed he did, but not according to that list.

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Offline GioCar

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #205 on: December 20, 2016, 02:30:57 AM »
Check this out:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldberg_Variations_discography

Doesn't Egarr take all the repeats? I had always assumed he did, but not according to that list.



I don't think that list should be trusted too much  :D
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #206 on: December 20, 2016, 02:46:45 AM »
I have about 10 recordings. Some seem fairly inconsistent wrt to repeats (e.g. Gould who in his late recording skips most but takes a few in the faster variations, I think). But many/most take most of the repeats, except for the aria dacapo and the two or three slowest variations (especially 25, sometimes also 15).
Recordings taking > 75 min. take most or all of the repeats, recordings taking less, skip at least some of them. Skipping all would yield a playing time around 40 min. (Goulds's fast and repeat-free early one lasts around 35.)
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #207 on: December 20, 2016, 04:50:59 AM »
I have about 10 recordings. Some seem fairly inconsistent wrt to repeats (e.g. Gould who in his late recording skips most but takes a few in the faster variations, I think). But many/most take most of the repeats, except for the aria dacapo and the two or three slowest variations (especially 25, sometimes also 15).
Recordings taking > 75 min. take most or all of the repeats, recordings taking less, skip at least some of them. Skipping all would yield a playing time around 40 min. (Goulds's fast and repeat-free early one lasts around 35.)

I've never understood why Bach put the repeats in there. Everyone knows that the structure of the whole is reflected in the structure of the parts. That's to say, there are 32 movements in the whole, and each movement contains 32 bars. Furthermore the whole is divided in two equal halves of 16 movements, and each variation is divided into two equal halves of 16 bars. But why is each half of each variation repeated?

You can see why Don Satz used to say that the question of repeats is an all or nothing matter, from the point of view of preserving the symmetries which Bach very carefully built in.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 04:53:53 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #208 on: December 20, 2016, 05:18:55 AM »
I think this is the case because in almost all dance movements and many others in the baroque each half is repeated (not all are symmetrical but almost all have double bar repeats). Usually the repeat was to be ornamented by the player. Of course usually the music is not as elaborate and there are not as many movements as in the GBV.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #209 on: December 20, 2016, 08:58:10 AM »
I think this is the case because in almost all dance movements and many others in the baroque each half is repeated (not all are symmetrical but almost all have double bar repeats).

I want aware of that. Presumably Bach took inspiration from large sets of variations by Frescobaldi, Buxtehude and Handel for these though, I don't know if there's the same tradition of repeats there.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #210 on: December 20, 2016, 09:59:52 AM »
I am not sure about these other variations either. The closest "model" for the GBV is probably the Buxtehude set BuxWV 250.

But the GBV aria is a sarabande and if you look at (dance) suite movements in Bach's keyboard, cello and violin suites almost all of them will have this bipartite structure with standard double bar repeats for each part. Many of the WTC II preludes follow that structure as well although they are not clearly recognizable as dance movements. It is a convention.

When this stuff was actually danced to (probably not true for those Bach suites but for similar music) they were probably repeated even more often according to the way the actual dance was organized. It is a bit odd that Bach stuck to those conventional repeats in such a massive work but for some reason he did.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline amw

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #211 on: December 24, 2016, 08:32:40 AM »


I did not know there was a second Zhu Goldbergs. Anyone heard it? It good?

Also, currently taking suggestions for harpsichord versions.
Not so into: Staier (sound kills it), Esfahani, Walcha
Kinda positive on, but not 100% sold: Hantaï/Mirare, Rousset, Frisch
???????: Verlet
actually own: Watanabe

Offline Que

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #212 on: December 24, 2016, 09:21:09 AM »

Kinda positive on, but not 100% sold: Hantaï/Mirare, Rousset, Frisch
???????: Verlet
actually own: Watanabe

I'm not into Hantaï  (any) but do like Rousset and Frisch....

Try to describe what you are missing?  :)

Q

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #213 on: December 24, 2016, 10:33:00 AM »


I did not know there was a second Zhu Goldbergs. Anyone heard it? It good?

Also, currently taking suggestions for harpsichord versions.
Not so into: Staier (sound kills it), Esfahani, Walcha
Kinda positive on, but not 100% sold: Hantaï/Mirare, Rousset, Frisch
???????: Verlet
actually own: Watanabe

The new zhu is on spotty. I can't be bothered to listen to it. While you're on spotify I think you should check out Egarr. Merry Christmas.
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Offline Herman

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #214 on: December 24, 2016, 11:03:25 AM »


When this stuff was actually danced to (probably not true for those Bach suites but for similar music) they were probably repeated even more often according to the way the actual dance was organized. It is a bit odd that Bach stuck to those conventional repeats in such a massive work but for some reason he did.

No one was dancing to Bach's keyboard pieces, or fiddle pieces, even though he stuck to the dance format.

That's tradition.

And that's the sublime beauty of the music.

They are dances of the mind.

Offline amw

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #215 on: December 24, 2016, 01:49:37 PM »
I'm not into Hantaï  (any) but do like Rousset and Frisch....

Try to describe what you are missing?  :)

Q
Not sure.

I like Rousset the most of those three and it's largely because of his phrasing and articulation, plus the rubato isn't too intrusive. His instrument is loud, though. And people are kind of salty about him on the internet ("this was an amazing recording of the Variations, for 1992!! but that was a looooooong time ago lol"). I like Hantaï for similar reasons, although obviously his approach is very different, much more rubato and generally slower. Not super into slow although I guess it can work. With Frisch I think I mostly like her instrument. Her playing is fine too, obviously <_< very straightforward, I'm not sure whether I'd like it more or less if I listened to the whole thing.

I guess it's mostly just subjective things: phrasing and articulation. Which no two people react to the same way. Oh well.

The new zhu is on spotty. I can't be bothered to listen to it. While you're on spotify I think you should check out Egarr. Merry Christmas.


I was going to listen to Egarr but he seems slow. (Same w the new Zhu when I looked at it.) Might someday though. Happy Chanukah

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #216 on: December 24, 2016, 02:09:22 PM »
So you want

1. Speed
2. Hidden agogics
3. Non-pianistic phrasing
4. Nice sounding instrument

In that case forget Egarr. My prescription is clear: Bob van Asperen.

By the way, people who come to this from a piano background often want speed because of the influence of Glen Gould, who really bolted out of the stables in the first variation in 1955. There's no reason to play it like that.
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Offline amw

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #217 on: December 24, 2016, 04:09:32 PM »
Nothing against slow in principle, but often when it is played slowly I get the feeling of wanting a more well-defined dance rhythm, at least. Some of the variations come across as a bit lumbering. I guess I'm talking less about speed and more about lightness.

I'll give Asperen a go. I definitely enjoy his WTC. Egarr's still on the list for when I have the 85 minutes to spare <_<
« Last Edit: December 24, 2016, 04:11:39 PM by amw »

kishnevi

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #218 on: December 24, 2016, 04:36:22 PM »
Nothing against slow in principle, but often when it is played slowly I get the feeling of wanting a more well-defined dance rhythm, at least. Some of the variations come across as a bit lumbering. I guess I'm talking less about speed and more about lightness.

I'll give Asperen a go. I definitely enjoy his WTC. Egarr's still on the list for when I have the 85 minutes to spare <_<

I have a serious problem with Egarr.

He seemed to want to prove that the GVs were really meant as a cure for insomnia.

BTW, he did include the canons, although they aren't part of the 85 minutes.

I don't have a recommendation myself to further confuse you.  All my favorites are on modern piano (Gould I, Perahia, Feltsman)


Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #219 on: December 24, 2016, 11:47:59 PM »
Nothing against slow in principle, but often when it is played slowly I get the feeling of wanting a more well-defined dance rhythm, at least.



I think you need to reframe. This isn't dance. It's just perverse to demand dancable rhythms.


 Egarr's still on the list for when I have the 85 minutes to spare <_<

What I appreciate about Egarr's is:

1 The sense of improvisation
2 The variety, each variation has its own personality
3 The general style which seems to almost hark back to the 15th 16th century
4 The harpsichord sound, and the tuning
5 The originality, the challenge of the new ideas

Nothing against slow in principle,

I think Gould 1 had a major influence on expectations of speed, an influence on harpsichordist as much as pianists. The way he bolts out the first variation for example has become a sort of established performance practice since.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2016, 10:14:35 PM by Mandryka »
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