Author Topic: J.S. Bach on the Organ  (Read 364230 times)

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Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2680 on: April 01, 2018, 02:29:02 AM »
What George Ritchie and Wolfgang Rubsam have in common is that they both studied with Helmut Walcha. In Ritchie's remarks on AoF, he talks about how Walcha's method for learning contrapuntal music was to learn each melody separately, and that the essence of Bach's contrapuntal music was to do with how you put the melodies together to make a whole greater than the sum of the parts. This is, of course, the thinking behind Rubsam's independent voices with independent affects.

I don't have Ritchie's set - I just have the Leipzig Chorales and the AoF. I'd very much like to hear his CU3 and trio sonatas.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 02:31:04 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Forever Electoral College

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2681 on: April 01, 2018, 05:00:04 PM »
Yes, excessive reverb even for me. Btw, I like the organs played by Beekman. Do you know anything about them? Perhaps Dutch organs? I also like the communist organs in Berlin classics though the performance and the recording quality are uneven.

A lot of reverb, yes. A bit too much for me, to be honest... but I can stand it.
I.c. brightness: the organ was built with North European baroque organs as example. In my experience, these organs mostly sound brighter than the Southern instruments.
I'm generalizing now, and maybe other members will think otherwise: the 'strong' points of the northern organs are the bright principal stops (adding a 'bonus' to the clarity), the strong points of the southern organs are the warm and 'granular' reeds.
But, again, this is a very generalizing generalisation. ;)

I only mentioned this one American organ, but there are more well-built (baroque) reconstructions around the country, built by firms like Fisk, Fritts, Brombaugh and Noack.
To check out some of them, here's a nice (limited) integral boxset of 11 cd's, played by George Ritchie.

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Organ-Works-Johann-Sebastian/dp/B000GW8RFC/?tag=goodmusicguideco

Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2682 on: April 01, 2018, 08:49:15 PM »
Did Wim van Beek record BWV 652?
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Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2683 on: April 01, 2018, 09:51:00 PM »


I've been listening to Marie Claire Alain II's Leipzig Chorales.

It incarnes values which I associate with Leonhardt in WTC and AoF.

Drama which comes from phrasing and touch; tempos judged to allow the emotional possibilities to come out; rubato which doesn't prevent the listener from sensing a pulse; voices which are singing from the same hymn sheet rather than in tense madrigal like opposition. The sober colouration enhances the feeling of rapt seriousness.

The dominance of full organ makes the music sound closer to harpsichord than to symphony orchestra. That austerity, that way of recoiling from seducing the listener with tawdry colours, seems a good thing to me in this music if not everywhere. It makes it all cohere, and it helps me listen to the musical thoughts rather than to sounds and tones. I'm going to start a campaign, Back To Plenum. I may get tee shirts printed.

 It's as if both Alain and Bach have abandoned themselves. The music is abstract in this sense: as a listener I'm not conscious that either the performer's or the composer's feelings are being projected. I don't feel as though I'm listening to someone sounding off or someone being artful. Yet it is expressive.

How is that possible? It must be an illusion. The siren song is making me forget that this is performed and composed by someone with blood and guts.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 10:03:06 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Forever Electoral College

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2684 on: May 06, 2018, 04:55:01 PM »
What are pros and cons for Alain 2 vs. Alain 3?
I read positive reviews on the performance and recording sound  in No. 2 and the authentic instruments in No. 3, though.

Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2685 on: May 06, 2018, 08:10:28 PM »
What are pros and cons for Alain 2 vs. Alain 3?
I read positive reviews on the performance and recording sound  in No. 2 and the authentic instruments in No. 3, though.

I have been listening to both of these a lot recently, and I'm more and more impressed by Alain 2. What she does in the second recording, is create a tension in the music by letting the each voice in the counterpoint flourish, and she does it in a way which doesn't damage the unity and coherence of each piece. Her restrained registrations are ideal for this, because we aren't distracted from the music's structure by the colour of the organs, the effect is more like a string quartet than a symphony.  We're impressed by the music's structure, rather than by the timbres of the organs.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2018, 08:16:48 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Marc

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2686 on: May 06, 2018, 08:12:56 PM »
Did Wim van Beek record BWV 652?

Maybe he did (in the pre-digital period or for a Dutch radio broadcast), but, AFAIK, there is no recording available nowadays.
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Offline Marc

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2687 on: May 06, 2018, 08:17:41 PM »
Yes, excessive reverb even for me. Btw, I like the organs played by Beekman. Do you know anything about them? Perhaps Dutch organs? I also like the communist organs in Berlin classics though the performance and the recording quality are uneven.

I apologize, I missed your question about the organs used by Beekman.
All organs are in the Netherlands, and they're built (and restored) by Dutch/German builders.

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVP/Beekman.htm
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Offline Forever Electoral College

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2688 on: May 07, 2018, 03:52:47 AM »
Thank you. I will visit there one day.
I apologize, I missed your question about the organs used by Beekman.
All organs are in the Netherlands, and they're built (and restored) by Dutch/German builders.

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVP/Beekman.htm

Offline Marc

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2689 on: June 23, 2018, 10:21:13 AM »


Reissue on CD of a 1983 vinyl production with Ben van Oosten playing Bach (BWV 542, 529, 29 [arr. Dupré] and 768) in a straightforward way.
The instrument is the glorious Flentrop et al (lots of historic pipework) of the Grote of Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk in Breda, NL. The sound quality is great.
Van Oosten was 28 at the time, and clearly a huge talent. Through the years he developed himself into a specialist of the French romantic organ music.
If I would make a guess, then I'd say he loved playing the exuberant Dupré arrangement of the Sinfonia BWV 29 the most.

For myself: I enjoyed the disc because I do not mind about a straightforward Bach at all (au contraire), though at times I would have wished for more 'soul', especially in the Trio Sonata BWV 529.

https://www.amazon.com/J-S-Bach-Orgelwerke-Bwv-529-542/dp/B076JF7M2C/?tag=goodmusicguideco
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2690 on: June 25, 2018, 12:49:22 AM »
What are pros and cons for Alain 2 vs. Alain 3?
I read positive reviews on the performance and recording sound  in No. 2 and the authentic instruments in No. 3, though.

Bit late to this... but: I've long enjoyed Alain 2... to the point of dismissing out of hand the idea of getting her digital/org.instrument cycle. Finally, when it was available at a bargain price, I caved and got Alain 3, too... fully expecting, still, to like it less than Alain 2, which is one of my go-to sets. (Certainly among the easily available ones.)

It turns out that I enjoyed Alain 3 just as much, or just about... even though I haven't done a side-by-side comparison.

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2691 on: July 16, 2018, 11:02:25 PM »
Newsish:

Alain 1 (!) looks to be issued on CD, at long last.


(May not show up on Amazon.COM yet, but up on the European ones certainly.)

Also: Finally got Chapuis, which is so well liked here, but as the set starts with the Trio Sonatas (perhaps my fav. organ works), I was in for a let-down. Chapuis has a tendency to rush slightly -- and to introduce an unrest into the beat that I don't like. A hint -- only a small one, but still -- of Jean Guillou... very different from Alain, for example. Then I hit upon some of the Toccatas, though, and those were very good. (wrote down which ones, but can't find the bit of paper just now.)





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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2692 on: July 17, 2018, 12:01:30 AM »
Newsish:
Also: Finally got Chapuis, which is so well liked here, but as the set starts with the Trio Sonatas (perhaps my fav. organ works), I was in for a let-down. Chapuis has a tendency to rush slightly -- and to introduce an unrest into the beat that )


I have never been a great fan of Chapuis' Bach, and I have commented his style several times in this forum.
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Offline "Harry"

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2693 on: July 17, 2018, 02:05:41 AM »

I have never been a great fan of Chapuis' Bach, and I have commented his style several times in this forum.

I agree with that!
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Offline André

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2694 on: July 17, 2018, 04:33:24 AM »
I like Chapuis, esp his Trio sonatas  ;D. An « alternative facts » take to the more settled approach often heard. Certainly closer to Preston than Alain, which I find lacking in the vitality department.The only impediment to my enjoyment is the 50 year old sound, which now sounds a mite tight and strident in the loud passages.

Generally speaking, Vernet is my preferred version, although he could use a bit of Chapuis’ alacrity.

Offline "Harry"

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2695 on: July 17, 2018, 04:41:14 AM »

Generally speaking, Vernet is my preferred version, although he could use a bit of Chapuis’ alacrity.

Also agreed!
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
Aristotle.


When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways - either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2696 on: July 17, 2018, 04:46:38 AM »
... a bit of Chapuis’ alacrity.


This is one of my problems with Chapuis. He is rushed and nervous, often uncomfortable to listen to. Bach needs a firmer hand, And what about his registrations?

My impression is, that he was too young at the time of recording. Many of the works had not yet matured in his imagination. Not unlike the situation with Molardi's recent set.
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Offline MickeyBoy

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2697 on: July 17, 2018, 08:17:29 AM »
;D I can so imagine it!

"Oh Dahlin', you absolutely must read it in the Moncrieff. It is really so much better, I'm afraid to say."

What a wonderful to humble-brag/lie that you've not only read it in the first place but in fact twice, in different languages.

It must have been pure Anglophile snobbery. Proust's mastery of the beauties of the French language far surpasses Scott Moncrieff's of English. Despite Gide's rejection of the MS. Changing subjects: I would like to know which English translation of Crime & Punishment the gentleman preferred. I have heard that many Russians believe that the French language is best suited for translations of Russian literature. The little bit I have read in the Pleiade series suggests there is truth to this.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2018, 08:44:28 AM by MickeyBoy »
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2698 on: July 17, 2018, 09:26:26 PM »

This is one of my problems with Chapuis. He is rushed and nervous, often uncomfortable to listen to. Bach needs a firmer hand, And what about his registrations?
My impression is, that he was too young at the time of recording. Many of the works had not yet matured in his imagination. Not unlike the situation with Molardi's recent set.
I agree with that!


Ah! I'm glad that I'm not alone with my impression of Chapuis. (Not that I couldn't have taken it.)
Incidentally, I didn't mind the sound as much -- and was, if anything, impressed how good it still was. (I assume we all have the same Music & Arts set.)


off topic

It must have been pure Anglophile snobbery. Proust's mastery of the beauties of the French language far surpasses Scott Moncrieff's of English. Despite Gide's rejection of the MS. Changing subjects: I would like to know which English translation of Crime & Punishment the gentleman preferred. I have heard that many Russians believe that the French language is best suited for translations of Russian literature. The little bit I have read in the Pleiade series suggests there is truth to this.

Don't know about Crime & Punishment specifically, but there are certainly some languages that are more suited to translating into than others. That said, if the translator is good and confident enough, anything can be made to work. Then there are extra-lingual matters to consider... like in Nabokov, who either translated (some of) his works into English or outright re-wrote them in English (as in Lolita)... and then translated (himself?) a hybrid version into German... which he said combined the best of both worlds. (Or so I remember reading.)

And as far as a translation exceeding the original... I suppose that IS possible. There are films that have been hits in dubbed versions where they flopped in the original. And from my own experience (not-so-humble brag), I've been told by authors (and least one of which I can rule out any intent of flattery) that they thought that the translation exceeded the original. (The example can be found in this year's Bayreuth Almanac .) Not a novel, of course, and nothing as complex as Remembrances of Things Past (I vastly prefer that title to the more literal translation one that's currently en vogue)... but still.

Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #2699 on: July 18, 2018, 10:15:47 PM »
 Goethe thought that Nerval's translation of Faust was better than the original.

Quote from: Johann Peter Eckermann, Conversations of Goethe, trans. John Oxenford, 1906

Sun., Jan. 3. 1830

He [Goethe] praised Gérard's [Nerval's] translation as very successful, although mostly in prose.

“I do not like,” he said, “to read my ‘Faust,’ any more in German, but in this French translation all seems again fresh, new, and spirited.”

“‘Faust,’” continued he, “is, however, quite incommensurable, and all attempts to bring it nearer to the understanding are in vain. Also, it should be considered that the first part is the product of a somewhat dark state in the individual. However, this very darkness has a charm for men's minds, and they work upon it till they are tired, as upon all insoluble problems.”

« Last Edit: July 18, 2018, 10:22:24 PM by Mandryka »
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