Author Topic: J.S. Bach on the Organ  (Read 198103 times)

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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1440 on: February 18, 2012, 05:18:02 AM »
One thing Rubsam does in that Naxos recording is this. He finds a long song-like melody in a treble voice right at the very start. The melody lasts for practically the length of the whole prelude -- about 7 minutes.  He plays it with amazing sweep: it's as if he's bitten off the whole thing in one go.  He balances the voices so that that song never becomes obscured or confused. The entire treble voice melody is played in the same slightly  piercing registration  for most (but not all) of the prelude. When he does change the registration of that melody, the result is very poetic.

This choral prelude "Vater unser" BWV 682 is a five part composition, three of the parts being a kind of instrumental triosonata (one part in each hand and a walking continuo like bass part in the pedal). Added to this are two more parts one of each played with each hand consisting of the choral tune (Vater unser) played in canon. So each hand plays two parts which are one of the "instrumental" parts and one of the choral tune parts. The treble melody you mention is one of the choral tune parts, the one played with the left hand I think, which should stand out as a kind of cantus firmus. I do not understand what you think of, writing that he [Rübsam] changes registration, as he plays the entire piece with unchanged registration. The instrumental parts may seem chaotic with irregular rhytms but the choral tune is on the other hand rocksteady as a contrast. I see the piece as a picture of our chaotic world (instrumental parts) contrasted with the eternal stability of Gods word, symbolised by the Vater unser tune (the words to the tune being a picture of the Lord´s prayer). Of the two canonic parts the upper one may symbolize our prayers repeted like we have learnt them from God, who´s word is symbolized by the  lower canonic part.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 07:20:25 AM by (: premont :) »

Offline Leo K.

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1441 on: February 18, 2012, 08:00:00 AM »
This choral prelude "Vater unser" BWV 682 is a five part composition, three of the parts being a kind of instrumental triosonata (one part in each hand and a walking continuo like bass part in the pedal). Added to this are two more parts one of each played with each hand consisting of the choral tune (Vater unser) played in canon. So each hand plays two parts which are one of the "instrumental" parts and one of the choral tune parts. The treble melody you mention is one of the choral tune parts, the one played with the left hand I think, which should stand out as a kind of cantus firmus. I do not understand what you think of, writing that he [Rübsam] changes registration, as he plays the entire piece with unchanged registration. The instrumental parts may seem chaotic with irregular rhytms but the choral tune is on the other hand rocksteady as a contrast. I see the piece as a picture of our chaotic world (instrumental parts) contrasted with the eternal stability of Gods word, symbolised by the Vater unser tune (the words to the tune being a picture of the Lord´s prayer). Of the two canonic parts the upper one may symbolize our prayers repeted like we have learnt them from God, who´s word is symbolized by the  lower canonic part.

Thank you and all for this wonderful discussion. Always illuminating to read!


Offline Opus106

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1442 on: February 18, 2012, 08:09:05 AM »
Thank you and all for this wonderful discussion. Always illuminating to read!



Seconded.
Regards,
Navneeth

Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1443 on: February 18, 2012, 09:09:15 AM »
This choral prelude "Vater unser" BWV 682 is a five part composition, three of the parts being a kind of instrumental triosonata (one part in each hand and a walking continuo like bass part in the pedal). Added to this are two more parts one of each played with each hand consisting of the choral tune (Vater unser) played in canon. So each hand plays two parts which are one of the "instrumental" parts and one of the choral tune parts. The treble melody you mention is one of the choral tune parts, the one played with the left hand I think, which should stand out as a kind of cantus firmus. I do not understand what you think of, writing that he [Rübsam] changes registration, as he plays the entire piece with unchanged registration. The instrumental parts may seem chaotic with irregular rhytms but the choral tune is on the other hand rocksteady as a contrast. I see the piece as a picture of our chaotic world (instrumental parts) contrasted with the eternal stability of Gods word, symbolised by the Vater unser tune (the words to the tune being a picture of the Lord´s prayer). Of the two canonic parts the upper one may symbolize our prayers repeted like we have learnt them from God, who´s word is symbolized by the  lower canonic part.

Ah -- thanks premont. What I took to be a change in registration occurs at about 4'30''. But on just listening again it may well be the entry of a new voice. It's a wonderful moment, in a performance which effects me more and more  every time I listen to it.

You've got to know that I'm not an organist: I don't have a physical relationship to the performances I'm hearing. And furthermore , really, in all honesty, I'm only just  starting to become acquainted with this music.

This choral prelude "Vater unser" BWV 682 is a five part composition, three of the parts being a kind of instrumental triosonata (one part in each hand and a walking continuo like bass part in the pedal). Added to this are two more parts one of each played with each hand consisting of the choral tune (Vater unser) played in canon. So each hand plays two parts which are one of the "instrumental" parts and one of the choral tune parts. The treble melody you mention is one of the choral tune parts, the one played with the left hand I think, which should stand out as a kind of cantus firmus. ]I do not understand what you think of, writing that he [Rübsam] changes registration, as he plays the entire piece with unchanged registration.[/b] The instrumental parts may seem chaotic with irregular rhytms but the choral tune is on the other hand rocksteady as a contrast.I see the piece as a picture of our chaotic world (instrumental parts) contrasted with the eternal stability of Gods word, symbolised by the Vater unser tune (the words to the tune being a picture of the Lord´s prayer). Of the two canonic parts the upper one may symbolize our prayers repeted like we have learnt them from God, who´s word is symbolized by the  lower canonic part.

Appreciated.

When you think about lieder you ask yourself: how well does this performance express the  poem?  I'm interested in exploring a similar  critical approach for performances of Choral Preludes.

Only, we have no poem!


This choral prelude "Vater unser" BWV 682 is a five part composition, three of the parts being a kind of instrumental triosonata (one part in each hand and a walking continuo like bass part in the pedal). Added to this are two more parts one of each played with each hand consisting of the choral tune (Vater unser) played in canon. So each hand plays two parts which are one of the "instrumental" parts and one of the choral tune parts. The treble melody you mention is one of the choral tune parts, the one played with the left hand I think, which should stand out as a kind of cantus firmus. I do not understand what you think of, writing that he [Rübsam] changes registration, as he plays the entire piece with unchanged registration. The instrumental parts may seem chaotic with irregular rhytms but the choral tune is on the other hand rocksteady as a contrast. I see the piece as a picture of our chaotic world (instrumental parts) contrasted with the eternal stability of Gods word, symbolised by the Vater unser tune (the words to the tune being a picture of the Lord´s prayer). Of the two canonic parts the upper one may symbolize our prayers repeted like we have learnt them from God, who´s word is symbolized by the  lower canonic part.

This chaotic element was (from memory -- I could be wrong) interestingly brought out by  Olivier Verlet. I should listen again to that one.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 10:18:58 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline jlaurson

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1444 on: February 27, 2012, 03:43:57 AM »



Q

If you've gone through this by the disc, did you also find that the set get significantly better after the first two discs?

Thread duty:



L.v. Beethoven
Symphonies 4 & 6
Fischer Ivan / Budapest Festival Orchestra

Channel Classics SACD


Very enjoyable 4th, so far!

« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 03:45:46 AM by jlaurson »

Offline Que

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1445 on: February 27, 2012, 01:11:17 PM »
If you've gone through this by the disc, did you also find that the set get significantly better after the first two discs?

Yes. And I mean: yes, exactly:o I should check if Vernet did record them in that order - he probably did - and indeed the two disc are so-so styllistically and after that things get significantly better. And the set sofar does get better and better still - even organ-wise.

Q
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Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1446 on: February 27, 2012, 07:19:15 PM »
If you've gone through this by the disc, did you also find that the set get significantly better after the first two discs?



Obviously I'm ~Q, but I've got CD 4 playing now as I type this, and possibly CD 5 to wrap up the evening.    It's too early to say whether I like this, but one positive thing is that Vernet did not record the fugues in one lump, the chorales in another lump, and so forth, like Preston and Alain II, the other full cycles I've listened to--but rather it's arranged sort of chronologically (meaning, as chronologically as possible given the limits of knowing exactly when Bach composed any particular piece).  The difference in quality you mention is possibly there (meaning, I can see why you might say that, but I'm not sure I actually agree with it--at least one more listen would be required to decide, even after I complete the first listen for the whole set), but because of the chronological arrangement, you may be hearing not a difference in  Vernet's playing but a difference in Bach's composition--if you play this set in order, you're traversing the path Bach took from young composer to full flowering, and presumably the earlier works are not necessarily at the same high level of the later ones.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 07:21:04 PM by Jeffrey Smith »
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Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1447 on: February 27, 2012, 07:34:35 PM »
Yes. And I mean: yes, exactly:o I should check if Vernet did record them in that order - he probably did - and indeed the two disc are so-so styllistically and after that things get significantly better. And the set sofar does get better and better still - even organ-wise.

Q

In general, they were recorded in order, but not exactly.  That is CDs 1-3 were recorded April 95 to Jan 96, CDs 4-6 later in 1996, and so forth--but  CD 2 was recorded after CD 3.
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Offline Que

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1448 on: February 27, 2012, 10:44:56 PM »
In general, they were recorded in order, but not exactly.  That is CDs 1-3 were recorded April 95 to Jan 96, CDs 4-6 later in 1996, and so forth--but  CD 2 was recorded after CD 3.


You could be right about the bias the early composed music creates. Still, I feel Vernet grew somewhat into Bach styllistically while recording this set. It's a very enjoyable set BTW, I'm happy I got it as my 2nd complete set.  :)

After this I'm not quite sure if there would be a next one, my HIP(PI) preferences work against me in that respect, though plenty of recital discs left to piece toghether. If one one Ewald Kooiman sets would re-appear I would definitely get it. Nice would-be cycles would be with Jean Charles Ablizer or Leon Berben.

Q
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Offline Geo Dude

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1449 on: February 28, 2012, 01:03:46 AM »
After three discs I'm settling quite nicely into Foccroulle's integral.  It's not as colorful as Walcha (II), but I don't mind that, and I'm appreciating the loosely chronological approach.  I also tend to appreciate his approach to chorales more than Walcha's.  I'm looking forward to picking up the Vernet integral one of these days, hopefully after I've more thoroughly familiarized myself with my two current sets and picked up a single disc or three....On that note, favorite recordings of the trio sonatas?

By the way, I've noticed some discussion here in the past comparing Alain II and Alain III and the general preference was toward Alain II.  Does anyone care to hash out what makes Alain II more enjoyable?  Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 01:05:47 AM by Geo Dude »

Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1450 on: February 28, 2012, 11:14:01 AM »
Do post about what you think about the way Focrouille plays the canonic variations  BWV 769. It's a piece of music that I'm playing a lot right now and Focrouille's has kind of gotten under my skin -- I find what he does somehow hypnotic, even though my initial reaction was not positive.  At first I was a bit disturbed by the relative lack of colour contrasts, compared with Leonhardt or Walcha in the same music. But now I see that as a strength.

For what it's worth the other bit of Focrouille's set which has been giving me enormous pleasure are the first few preludes of CU3 -- bwv 669-671. Of all the performances I've heard of those preludes, I like Focrouille's the most at the moment, partly because it seems the least sombre, least heavy.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 11:18:03 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Coopmv

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1451 on: March 02, 2012, 05:09:41 PM »
By the way, I've noticed some discussion here in the past comparing Alain II and Alain III and the general preference was toward Alain II.  Does anyone care to hash out what makes Alain II more enjoyable?  Thanks in advance.

I have most of Alain II in singles and my Alain III is still in cellophane.  At any rate, I will be just as interested to hear about the comparison ...

Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1452 on: March 04, 2012, 12:31:30 AM »
I’ve been listening to Rusbam’s Naxos recording of BWV 767, which is a set of 8 variations on the  tune of a hymn by Martin Luther called  O Gott, du frommer Gott.  I love the performance.

The poem has 8 verses which are a sequence of requests to God to provide: health; action-orientation and dutifulness; good communication skills; courage; peace and  friends and no ill-gotten gains; a happy old age; a good death;  transformation after physical resurrection.

Obviously I found it irresistible to try to associate each variation to each verse in the poem. And that proved to be a very enlightening thing to do in the case of Rusbam’s Naxos performance, especially in the second half of the piece.

In my opinion, Rusbam’s performance in Vars 6-8 is the most wonderful representation in music of the meaning of the final three verses of the poem: endurance in  old age, the challenge of death  and the transformative effects of God’s voice

If in this world I have to
live my life longer,
through many a bitter step
press on to old age,
then give me patience. From sin
and shame protect me,
so that I may bear
with honour my grey hair.

At my end let me
depart relying on Christ's death,
take my soul to you
to your joys in heaven,
bestow a little space on my body,
a grave by my parents,
so that it may have peace
by their side.

On that day
when you will awaken the dead,
then stretch out your hand
to my grave,
let me hear your voice,
and awaken my body
and lead it beautiful and transformed
to the multitude of your chosen people!


I listened to a few others of course – Leonhardt and Foccroulle. I really enjoyed them all  – especially the intimate recording by Foccroulle.  But it was when I heard the way Rubsam plays the 6th variation that I really sat up and listened.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 12:54:37 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline PaulSC

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1453 on: March 08, 2012, 01:17:22 PM »
I've lived with the Werner Jacob and James Kibbie cycles of Bach's organ music for a while now, and I've enjoyed dipping into both from time to time. But the recent “blind listening” exercise organized by Discobole confirmed my suspicions that there were recordings of this repertoire out there that speak to me more compellingly than Jacob and Kibbie often do. So I picked up several volumes of the Fagius integral essentially for free (an even trade for a cache of pop music I no longer wanted). And then after scouring this thread for recommendations and listening to lots of previews, I just bought the following…

J.S. Bach: Organ Works
Kåre Nordstoga

J.S. Bach: Toccata & Fuga
Kåre Nordstoga

J.S. Bach: Six Trio Sonatas, Bwv 525-530
Kåre Nordstoga

J.S. Bach: Clavierübung III
Kåre Nordstoga

Bach: Clavierubung III
Ulrik Spang-Hanssen

J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein BWV 599-644
René Saorgin

The Bach Organ of Stormthal
William Porter

One of a Kind
William Porter

J.S. Bach: Masterpieces on North German Baroque Organs
Jean-Charles Ablitzer
Musik ist ein unerschöpfliches Meer. — Joseph Riepel

Offline Marc

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1454 on: March 08, 2012, 11:59:40 PM »
Paul, looks like an interesting list!
If times arrive, plz tell us what you think of them.

I myself remember Saorgin's Orgelbüchlein as quite a satisfying one, but it's been a long time since I've last listened to it.
Ablitzer is good, too, though I experienced him not as impressive as I hoped he would be.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 12:01:17 AM by Marc »
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Offline jlaurson

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1455 on: March 10, 2012, 07:11:41 AM »
A bit of Late-night Bach this evening:

Klavierübung III with Pieter Van Dijk in the Oslo "Domkirke"

Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1456 on: March 10, 2012, 08:43:15 AM »
A bit of Late-night Bach this evening:

Klavierübung III with Pieter Van Dijk in the Oslo "Domkirke"

Yes I played the whole thing through a couple of nights ago, except the opening prelude, in Focroulle's record. Very very very good. Intense, intimate, not too much  swagger.
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Offline jlaurson

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1457 on: March 10, 2012, 08:55:17 AM »
Yes I played the whole thing through a couple of nights ago, except the opening prelude, in Focroulle's record. Very very very good. Intense, intimate, not too much  swagger.

Ah, yes, but mine will be live. :-)

Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1458 on: March 10, 2012, 09:03:39 AM »
 :P
Ah, yes, but mine will be live. :-)

Jealous. I've not been to an organ recital since I was at school.
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1459 on: March 11, 2012, 06:13:29 AM »
The poem has 8 verses which are a sequence of requests to God to provide: health; action-orientation and dutifulness; good communication skills; courage; peace and  friends and no ill-gotten gains; a happy old age; a good death;  transformation after physical resurrection.

Obviously I found it irresistible to try to associate each variation to each verse in the poem

This is certainly a very valid and enriching way to interprete some of the variations.

In other cases pure compositional principles seem to decide the character of the variation, compare f.i. the similarity in texture between:

BWV 767 var.  I (called partita 2)       and     BWV 768 var. I,
BWV 767 var. III (called partita 4)      and    BWV 768 var.  3,
BVW 767 var. V  (called partita 6)      and    BWV  768 var. 5.

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