Author Topic: J.S. Bach on the Organ  (Read 308583 times)

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Offline milk

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1460 on: March 11, 2012, 07:50:57 AM »
I've never been to an organ recital. Honestly, I've had trouble getting into organ music. Tonight, I am enjoying a mix of Bach organ music I've downloaded (Herrick, Walcha, Koopman, Roggs, Biggs).

So here in Japan, Lorenzo Ghielmi will be giving a recital this week.
Here is the program:
JS Bach: BWV 539 Prelude and Fugue in D minor                 
      BWV 527 Trio Sonata No. 3 in D minor            
      Concerto in D minor BW V596                    
      BWV 645 - 650
                  BWV 543 Prelude and Fugue
So what do you think? Would I be a fool to miss it? 

Offline Opus106

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1461 on: March 11, 2012, 07:56:34 AM »
I've never been to an organ recital. Honestly, I've had trouble getting into organ music. Tonight, I am enjoying a mix of Bach organ music I've downloaded (Herrick, Walcha, Koopman, Roggs, Biggs).

So here in Japan,...

I thought you were from usa.

Quote
Lorenzo Ghielmi will be giving a recital this week.

Here is the program:
JS Bach: BWV 539 Prelude and Fugue in D minor                 
      BWV 527 Trio Sonata No. 3 in D minor            
      Concerto in D minor BW V596                    
      BWV 645 - 650
                  BWV 543 Prelude and Fugue
So what do you think? Would I be a fool to miss it? 

I wouldn't miss it had I the opportunity. :(

Oh, and I have been to 1 organ recital so far. :)
Regards,
Navneeth

Offline milk

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1462 on: March 11, 2012, 08:09:22 AM »
I thought you were from usa.

I wouldn't miss it had I the opportunity. :(

Oh, and I have been to 1 organ recital so far. :)
Yes, I'm an American expatriate. Well, I think I will go. I don't know how Ghielmi ranks on organ with you folks here. I guess I wouldn't know
the difference anyway! I'm a big fan of his non-organ output. Hmm...I guess with an organ recital it doesn't matter where you sit?
Again, not that I would know the difference, but the website says the following about the organ:
"...a pipe organ produced by Koenig Company (France) whose merit is a bright, soft sound..."

 

Offline Opus106

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1463 on: March 11, 2012, 08:19:23 AM »
Yes, I'm an American expatriate. Well, I think I will go. I don't know how Ghielmi ranks on organ with you folks here. I guess I wouldn't know
the difference anyway! I'm a big fan of his non-organ output. Hmm...I guess with an organ recital it doesn't matter where you sit?
Again, not that I would know the difference, but the website says the following about the organ:
"...a pipe organ produced by Koenig Company (France) whose merit is a bright, soft sound..."

 

Well, the curiosity factor will be enough of a draw for me, as I too haven't heard him play the organ.
Regards,
Navneeth

Offline Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1464 on: March 11, 2012, 08:20:07 AM »
When I was at school I was friends with an organ scholar. I'd go up into the loft and watch him play -- I used to be intrigued by the sheer amount of machinery -- stops with strange names and pedals and several keyboards. I remember a label next to one knob which said "Vox angelica" , and one which said "Vox Humana". Even now the meomory of ir revives a feeling of childish wonder.

One problem I have with going to an organ recital in London is that as far as I know the only way to know what's happening is through this website:

http://www.londonorgan.co.uk/

But as far as I can work out there's no way to find out what they're going to be playing!! I want to hear baroque or earlier or 20th century or Mozart. I don't want to get all excited by my first organ concert and find out when it's  too late that it's Max Reger and Herbert Howells and Hubert Parry on the menu. Help, someone!

« Last Edit: March 11, 2012, 08:29:27 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Que

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1465 on: March 11, 2012, 09:16:33 AM »
Like Marc I can say that Ablitzer is good. But I am not equally impressed by his Bach as by his Buxtehude.

I think you might be right there....and that means also that his Buxtehude is amazingly varied, articulated, refined and exciting IMO. But I guess that's for another thread. 8)

Q
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Offline PaulSC

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1466 on: March 11, 2012, 11:45:21 AM »
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.
Thanks Marc. A lot of this is still in the “interesting” stage for me too, since I've only just begun listening to the new arrivals. I started with Ablitzer, since your (slightly equivocal) comments were fresh in my mind. It's too soon for me to form a confident opinion, but on the plus side I like the instrument (by Christoph Treutmann) and how it's recorded, he has marvelous clarity in rapid passage work and contrapuntal textures, and he plays with good momentum but never sounds as if he's rushing. His fairly rigid sense of tempo reminds me of the little I've heard of Walcha and Alain; not rigid to a fault, but maybe I prefer a little more flexibility.

My other mild dissatisfaction is something I may grow out of — I'm not thrilled about the heavy use of the relatively bland, flute-y stop that I assume is what's called the “diapason”. I understand it's the conventional choice in lots of situations, such as a chorale prelude where lines need to form a backdrop for some more colorful solo stop. Anyway, this is nothing specific to Ablitzer. And maybe if I had better speakers (or a listening library consisting of CDs rather than MP3s) then I wouldn't find this type of registration so bass-weak. But at this point I crave more richness in things like the opening of the big C minor Passacaglia.

Anyway, I'm very happy overall with the Ablitzer and look forward to spending more time with it. and I'm at least equally happy with Nordstoga in the chorale preludes and free/fugal works. Well, that's a slightly awkward way of saying I'm happy with everything except the Trio Sonatas, where I'm slightly less happy because I really like these to sound like chamber music, so my ideal organist would be closer in spirit to the ensemble arrangement recorded by the London Baroque…
Musik ist ein unerschöpfliches Meer. — Joseph Riepel

Offline PaulSC

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1467 on: March 11, 2012, 11:55:09 AM »
Do not know Porter´s Bach, but the others seem to be fine choices.

Saorgin´s Orgelbüchlein is very colourful (he calls himself a colourist in the booklet) and Nordstoga´s Toccatas and Clavierübung III are most impressive. Unfortunately his other recordings were OOP when I became aware of them, and MP3 isn´t me, least of all when it is about organ music. Like Marc I can say that Ablitzer is good. But I am not equally impressed by his Bach as by his Buxtehude.

Thanks for the feedback. I'm not surprised you “approve” of most of my choices, since you influenced them heavily. I'll have to queue up the Saorgin later today. A “colorist” may be just what I need.

… Which prompts the question: are there other organists who adhere to an at least broadly HIP approach, who are known for a colorful approach to Bach?
Musik ist ein unerschöpfliches Meer. — Joseph Riepel

Offline Marc

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1468 on: March 11, 2012, 11:57:53 AM »
Yes, I'm an American expatriate. Well, I think I will go. I don't know how Ghielmi ranks on organ with you folks here. I guess I wouldn't know
the difference anyway! I'm a big fan of his non-organ output. Hmm...I guess with an organ recital it doesn't matter where you sit?
Again, not that I would know the difference, but the website says the following about the organ:
"...a pipe organ produced by Koenig Company (France) whose merit is a bright, soft sound..."

I would definitely go for it!
IMO, Ghielmi is a fine and solid Bach interpreter. I value him more in the chorale-free works and my guess is that the final piece of his recital (BWV 543) might end up as the highlight of the concert. The other free work is partly (the fugue) an arrangement of the 2nd movement of Bach's Solo Violin Sonata in G-minor BWV 1001. In most cases, organists opt for a modest and not too massive registration. So there's probably no risk of getting blown away from the start. ;D
The Trio Sonata and The 6 Schübler chorales (BWV 645-650) and are exquisit compositions, too. If you're familiar with Bach cantatas, you might recognize some of those chorales.
The Vivaldi transcription (Concerto BWV 596) has got an intriguing mysterious echoing beginning and delivers very enjoyable music throughout.

If you'd like to check out the specific works beforehand, here's a nice free site:

http://www.blockmrecords.org/bach/index.htm

About the seat you should take: that's a personal matter. It depends on the strength of the organ and also of the acoustics.
In the Martini Church in my hometown I prefer a place in the centre, not too close yet also not too far away from the organ. But I know that other concert-goers prefer to sit as close as possible. It's true, when sitting close, you can hear the switch between the different manuals better. But personally, I prefer a more 'total' sound.

If you decide to go: have a good time!
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Offline Marc

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1469 on: March 11, 2012, 01:56:18 PM »
My other mild dissatisfaction is something I may grow out of — I'm not thrilled about the heavy use of the relatively bland, flute-y stop that I assume is what's called the “diapason”. I understand it's the conventional choice in lots of situations, such as a chorale prelude where lines need to form a backdrop for some more colorful solo stop. Anyway, this is nothing specific to Ablitzer. [....]

As a child, I always loved the typical sound of the principal 'diapason' stops. To me, it was characteristic for the instrument. I only had some difficulty with the reed stops. (I must have been a sweet boy 0:).)

I think in some cases it also depends on the organ. For instance: the Schnitger et al organ in the Martinikerk here in Groningen, NL, has got beautiful coloured prestant stops. But the diapason stops of the Marcussen organ of the Skt. Hans Kirke in Odense, DK, sound too shrill for my likings, and the Von Beckerath organ in Montréal (Immaculate Conception Church) has got some very bland principals IMO. (Just mentioning two rather well-known instruments.)
 
For the rest, I must admit that I'm (still) not really a registration freak, not to mention connaisseur :P, and I doubt if I ever will be ....
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Offline Geo Dude

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1470 on: March 11, 2012, 04:45:25 PM »
I've never been to an organ recital. Honestly, I've had trouble getting into organ music. Tonight, I am enjoying a mix of Bach organ music I've downloaded (Herrick, Walcha, Koopman, Roggs, Biggs).

So here in Japan, Lorenzo Ghielmi will be giving a recital this week.
Here is the program:
JS Bach: BWV 539 Prelude and Fugue in D minor                 
      BWV 527 Trio Sonata No. 3 in D minor            
      Concerto in D minor BW V596                    
      BWV 645 - 650
                  BWV 543 Prelude and Fugue
So what do you think? Would I be a fool to miss it? 

If you're having trouble with organ phobia I recommend listening to some Buxtehude.  That said, you should definitely attend that recital.

Offline milk

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1471 on: March 11, 2012, 07:02:18 PM »
If you're having trouble with organ phobia I recommend listening to some Buxtehude.  That said, you should definitely attend that recital.
Interesting. I hadn't thought to start with Buxtehude. I think I will attend the Bach recital.

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1472 on: March 11, 2012, 07:07:37 PM »
Repost of the essential part of what I just posted to the WAYLT thread, regarding Vernet's integral.

Just finished playing CDs 14 and 15 of this set, which are dominated by the Schubler and Liepzig Chorales, and therefore I've completed the "official" cycle.  (One CD, one of the extras called Clavier Ubung O: An Album for the Young, remains for me to listen to.)  Overall, I found it excellent.  Perhaps this was due to the fact that this is the first integral I have in which genres are mixed together.  My other sets, Preston and Alain II, rigorously segregate them.  The variety and chronological progression is nice, and there's never a sense (which I had at times with Preston and Alain, especially in the chorales) that something was being recorded to satisfy the recording contract,  churned out just to get the job done.   I'm far from familiar with Bach's organ music, so perhaps a more experienced ear would find things less well done, but I'm very happy with the set.  The extras make a nice addition, most notably the CD of keyboard concertos played on chamber organs.

Offline Scion7

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1473 on: March 11, 2012, 11:55:53 PM »
           clickage:



I've got other selections by other artists on CD, but this is the one I play the most.
Recorded 1956, 1962, 1969 and 1970.  I found it on "sale" (a relative term when talking about DG Archiv box sets back in the day!),
and picked up this 8-LP beast.  Minimal 4-pg foldover notes - :( - but musically superb.  Recording quality is good throughout, with the
earliest sides being the lesser sounding (naturally) but hardly noticeable.  Walcha was a phenomenal musician:

          Classical Archives:
Organist Helmut Walcha was a native of Leipzig who was blinded at age 16 due to a botched vaccination against smallpox. Nevertheless, Walcha did not allow this infirmity to discourage him from pursuing his life's ambition as a church musician, and he entered the Leipzig Conservatory at the age of 19. Walcha's potential was noticed by Günther Ramin, professor of organ at the Conservatory and kapellmeister at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, the very church that employed Johann Sebastian Bach from 1724 until his death in 1750. Walcha became Ramin's assistant at the Thomaskirche and made his public performance debut there in 1924. In 1929, Walcha accepted a position at the Friedenskirche at Frankfurt, where he was based the rest of his long life; in 1938, Walcha began teaching at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt, and in 1946 he moved from the Friedenskirche to the Dreikönigskirche. While he retired from teaching in 1972, Walcha continued to work as organist of the Dreikönigskirche until his public retirement in 1981.

Being blind, Helmut Walcha memorized all of the music he played, first with the help of his mother and later with his wife's assistance: he heard each individual line of music played in either hand, or from the foot pedals—once he'd heard each part played four times through, he could re-assemble them in his head. Through this method, Walcha was able to memorize all of the organ works of Bach known in his time, which he recorded twice, for the first time toward the end of the 78 era in mono, and the second in stereo beginning in 1956. Walcha's blindness was actually an aid to his interpretations of these works as he could "see" Bach's music as consisting of individual lines of counterpoint, and Walcha focused his interpretation on making all such details clear as separate entities within Bach's general musical texture. Walcha toured extensively in Europe as an organist and frequently broadcast, but his fame spread most readily through his long association with recording firm Deutsche Grammophon, lasting from 1947 until his retirement from recording at the end of the second Bach cycle in 1971. His recording of Bach's Die Kunst die Füge from 1956, which many critics feel is definitive, was the first stereo recording made by Deutsche Grammophon.

Walcha disdained the big Romantic organs common in Europe in his time, mainly due to what he felt were their overabundant mechanisms, and he went in search of the best surviving Baroque instruments, surveying them throughout Europe. In doing so, Walcha helped set a standard for others in the appreciation and preservation of older organs, and he personally contributed to the restoration of several important instruments through playing fundraisers. Among organs he preferred were a Silbermann instrument at St. Pierre-le-Jeune in Strasbourg and the Schnitger organ at Laurenskerk in Altmaar in The Netherlands, the ones with which he made the lion's share of his recordings. Walcha also played the harpsichord and prepared an edition of George Frideric Handel's 16 organ concerti and made a realization of the unfinished fugue in Bach's Die Kunst der Füge, although he did not record it.
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Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1474 on: March 12, 2012, 04:50:22 AM »
The original Walcha set has been my favored for years, but i think i've finally found a contender, that is, the set recorded by Wolfgang Rubsam in the 70s. The thing i like best about this new discovery is that Rubsam is at his strongest where Walcha is at his weakest, and vice versa. This creates an optimal synergy between the two sets.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1475 on: March 12, 2012, 08:01:37 AM »
The original Walcha set has been my favored for years, but i think i've finally found a contender, that is, the set recorded by Wolfgang Rubsam in the 70s. The thing i like best about this new discovery is that Rubsam is at his strongest where Walcha is at his weakest, and vice versa. This creates an optimal synergy between the two sets.

Say some more. Where is Walcha I weak and strong  and Rubsam I strong and weak?
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Offline Scion7

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1476 on: March 12, 2012, 08:29:11 AM »
I have a couple of these on CD, and they aren't bad:



BUT this CD set is much superior - the closest to the definitive Walcha set of recordings: click image


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Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1477 on: March 12, 2012, 09:23:41 AM »
Say some more. Where is Walcha I weak and strong  and Rubsam I strong and weak?

As a rule of thumb, i find Walcha weakest on those pieces that require a lighter, more fleeting approach. By comparison, i find Rubsam weakest on those pieces which require more gravitas. Of course, when i say weakest, i mean relative to the other. Both sets are very good as they are.

I don't have time now but if you want i'll post a side by side comparison among selected pieces.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1478 on: March 12, 2012, 11:09:56 AM »
As a rule of thumb, i find Walcha weakest on those pieces that require a lighter, more fleeting approach.
Which works do you think of here? The trio sonatas? Early preludes and fugues?

Quote from: Josquin des Prez
By comparison, i find Rubsam weakest on those pieces which require more gravitas. Of course, when i say weakest, i mean relative to the other. Both sets are very good as they are. 
At least part of the problem is IMO that Rübsan chose an organ for this first integral which is lacking in gravitas.

Quote from: Josquin des Prez
I don't have time now but if you want i'll post a side by side comparison among selected pieces.
This will interest me a lot.
Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1479 on: March 12, 2012, 11:21:38 AM »

I don't have time now but if you want i'll post a side by side comparison among selected pieces.

I would appreciate it too. I have both sets of recordings and it could be fun to listen with your ideas in mind.
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