Author Topic: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier  (Read 187800 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1460 on: December 04, 2018, 05:04:09 AM »
The thing I find a bit objectionable is that Landowska's credited with starting something called The Harpsichord Revival. I think the Pleyel is too far removed from a real harpsichord to be worthy of the name. In my opinion the real source of the harpsichord revival were Martin Skowroneck, Fritz Neumeyer and Gustav Leonhardt, and indeed Walcha in his second (DG) WTC.

I haven't heard Landowska's Pleyel except on her recordings, and on that basis I don't agree with Esfahani when he says that it's "magnificent" compared to other instruments of the same period -- I much prefer the Rainer Schütze harpsichord that Kirkpatrick used for his second Scarlatti CD, for example. But Esfahani's no fool, and my response could just be mainly due to the recordings, and the way Landowska plays it.

I think that some of the Landowska WTC was recorded in her living room, not a studio, and this may account for the sound quality.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 05:07:44 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1461 on: December 05, 2018, 02:24:23 AM »
The thing I find a bit objectionable is that Landowska's credited with starting something called The Harpsichord Revival. I think the Pleyel is too far removed from a real harpsichord to be worthy of the name. In my opinion the real source of the harpsichord revival were Martin Skowroneck, Fritz Neumeyer and Gustav Leonhardt, and indeed Walcha in his second (DG) WTC.

I haven't heard Landowska's Pleyel except on her recordings, and on that basis I don't agree with Esfahani when he says that it's "magnificent" compared to other instruments of the same period -- I much prefer the Rainer Schütze harpsichord that Kirkpatrick used for his second Scarlatti CD, for example. But Esfahani's no fool, and my response could just be mainly due to the recordings, and the way Landowska plays it.

I think that some of the Landowska WTC was recorded in her living room, not a studio, and this may account for the sound quality.
that’s interesting. In her living room! Was the instrument her idea?

Offline Marc

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1462 on: December 05, 2018, 04:20:07 AM »
that’s interesting. In her living room! Was the instrument her idea?

The 16' register was incorporated into Pleyel Harpsichords from 1912 at the request and following the proposals, of Wanda Landowska". Above all, Landowska — as a concert player — wanted an instrument which had sufficient power to be heard in a concert hall and that was robust enough to withstand frequent moving. The Concert Harpsichord finally made by Pleyel in 1912 to her specification inevitably owed much to the piano-maker's art, but should not be dismissed on that account: after all, their art was only an evolution of the harpsichord-maker's craft.

http://www.harpsichord.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/pleyel.pdf
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Offline Marc

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1463 on: December 05, 2018, 04:31:03 AM »
Of course the Pleyel is not a harpsichord as we know it, but yes, given the fact that apparently Landowska's first 'harpsichord' was already built in 1912, one could say that she was the starting point of the revaluation of the harpsichord(-kinda instrument ;)).
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1464 on: December 05, 2018, 05:03:26 AM »
The 16' register was incorporated into Pleyel Harpsichords from 1912 at the request and following the proposals, of Wanda Landowska". Above all, Landowska — as a concert player — wanted an instrument which had sufficient power to be heard in a concert hall and that was robust enough to withstand frequent moving. The Concert Harpsichord finally made by Pleyel in 1912 to her specification inevitably owed much to the piano-maker's art, but should not be dismissed on that account: after all, their art was only an evolution of the harpsichord-maker's craft.

http://www.harpsichord.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/pleyel.pdf
Sorry I should have reread it. I wish I could appreciate it more. I have a feeling there's something interesting in her performance. There was a time when I was listening to it but I've forgotten it and now I can't take the sound.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1465 on: December 05, 2018, 05:25:29 AM »
My own feeling about Landowska’s way of making music is that it became very much less interesting after the war, that the early recordings are entertaining enough, a sense of movement forward and rhythm and even joie de vivre, if you can tolerate the instrument.

The one essential thing I think is the Scarlatti, not for anything she does, but for the sound of the anti aircraft guns in the distance.
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Offline Marc

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1466 on: December 05, 2018, 10:21:44 AM »
Sorry I should have reread it. I wish I could appreciate it more. I have a feeling there's something interesting in her performance. There was a time when I was listening to it but I've forgotten it and now I can't take the sound.

No reason to apologise.
And I'm not posting the links to promote her performances/recordings, but just for information, and for the fact that she deserves her place in the, say, pre-HIP movement. The latter doesn't mean one has to appreciate her playing and/or legacy.
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1467 on: December 07, 2018, 03:16:53 AM »
No reason to apologise.
And I'm not posting the links to promote her performances/recordings, but just for information, and for the fact that she deserves her place in the, say, pre-HIP movement. The latter doesn't mean one has to appreciate her playing and/or legacy.
Yes and I find her interesting even if I developed and allergy to the Pleyel. She's worth knowing about. 

Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1468 on: December 07, 2018, 03:18:42 AM »
My own feeling about Landowska’s way of making music is that it became very much less interesting after the war, that the early recordings are entertaining enough, a sense of movement forward and rhythm and even joie de vivre, if you can tolerate the instrument.

The one essential thing I think is the Scarlatti, not for anything she does, but for the sound of the anti aircraft guns in the distance.
That's amazing. She really had a life. I guess many did back then if they survived the times. I recall perhaps there's a doc on youtube about her. Didn't the U.S. army search for and find her one of her instruments?

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1469 on: December 07, 2018, 08:53:49 AM »
That's amazing. She really had a life. I guess many did back then if they survived the times. I recall perhaps there's a doc on youtube about her. Didn't the U.S. army search for and find her one of her instruments?

Her biography is interesting, not least because of her relationships with Natalie Clifford Barney and Denise Restout, the latter wrote a book about her I think -  I’ve not read it.

I know someone who used to live in St Lieu la Forêt when he was a teenager and who took some lessons in her house, which by that time was a music school. The last I heard about it was that it was under threat of being sold off for something completely unmusical, Skip Sempé I believe was trying to muster funds to save it and make it into some sort of museum. I just quickly googled it and, without anything more than a quick browse, it looks like  it’s still a college - though one that seems to be in trouble with the educational inspectorate in France - and the teachers are on strike.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2018, 09:03:04 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Pat B

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1470 on: December 07, 2018, 10:37:30 AM »
The thing I find a bit objectionable is that Landowska's credited with starting something called The Harpsichord Revival. I think the Pleyel is too far removed from a real harpsichord to be worthy of the name.

“Revival harpsichord” is the term for this instrument and similar ones. They are certainly not pianos or prepared pianos.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1471 on: December 07, 2018, 11:04:51 AM »
“Revival harpsichord” is the term for this instrument and similar ones. They are certainly not pianos or prepared pianos.

They're plucking pianos.
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Offline JBS

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1472 on: December 07, 2018, 11:18:49 AM »
That's amazing. She really had a life. I guess many did back then if they survived the times. I recall perhaps there's a doc on youtube about her. Didn't the U.S. army search for and find her one of her instruments?

This book would be relevant (that's Landowska on the cover)

Although the focus, and the first half, of the book is on Chopin's sojourn in the Balearics, composing the Preludes while using a locally made piano.  Landowska eventually found and restored the piano, only to see it (and much else of her collection) was seized by the Nazis after she fled to the US.  That story is what makes up the second half of the book.


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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1473 on: December 07, 2018, 07:51:07 PM »
This book would be relevant (that's Landowska on the cover)

Although the focus, and the first half, of the book is on Chopin's sojourn in the Balearics, composing the Preludes while using a locally made piano.  Landowska eventually found and restored the piano, only to see it (and much else of her collection) was seized by the Nazis after she fled to the US.  That story is what makes up the second half of the book.
Fled the Nazis, lived (romantically?) with a women AND was friends with William F. Buckley! Who were her prominent students? But I will look it up. Edit: Her partner Denise Restout was quite an expert on baroque and a teacher. I wonder what legacy came from them and if there are any famous keyboardists who studied with them.

Offline Pat B

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1474 on: December 08, 2018, 01:47:23 PM »
Fled the Nazis, lived (romantically?) with a women AND was friends with William F. Buckley! Who were her prominent students? But I will look it up. Edit: Her partner Denise Restout was quite an expert on baroque and a teacher. I wonder what legacy came from them and if there are any famous keyboardists who studied with them.

Landowska’s pupils included Kirkpatrick and Puyana. Her grand-pupils include Hogwood, Gilbert, and Verlet, and her great-grandpupils include Immerseel, Moroney, Baumont, Rousset, and many others.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1475 on: December 08, 2018, 02:02:02 PM »
Kirkpatrick didn’t have a high opinion of Landowska’s musicianship.
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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1476 on: December 08, 2018, 05:00:14 PM »
Landowska’s pupils included Kirkpatrick and Puyana. Her grand-pupils include Hogwood, Gilbert, and Verlet, and her great-grandpupils include Immerseel, Moroney, Baumont, Rousset, and many others.

Fortunately most of Landowska's pupils and grand-pupils rejected the revival harpsichord as soon as possible.
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1477 on: December 08, 2018, 05:57:39 PM »
Kirkpatrick didn’t have a high opinion of Landowska’s musicianship.
I imagine that once HIP started creeping in, the next generation would develop a radical allergy to her. It's understandable. Looking back, there's still something interesting about her performances. They do seem eccentric with the benefit of hindsight, right? Are her performances somewhat romantic, transferred onto her pleyel? It's really hard for me to listen to - I just don't like the vibe of the Pleyel.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1478 on: December 08, 2018, 11:28:23 PM »
The 16' register was incorporated into Pleyel Harpsichords from 1912 at the request and following the proposals, of Wanda Landowska". Above all, Landowska — as a concert player — wanted an instrument which had sufficient power to be heard in a concert hall and that was robust enough to withstand frequent moving. The Concert Harpsichord finally made by Pleyel in 1912 to her specification inevitably owed much to the piano-maker's art, but should not be dismissed on that account: after all, their art was only an evolution of the harpsichord-maker's craft.

http://www.harpsichord.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/pleyel.pdf

I’ve heard the bold bit said before, but I don’t think it makes any sense at all. I’ve heard many real harpsichord concerts, Ruckers type instruments, in large halls, and there’s just no problem about hearing the instrument. I suppose it all depends on the hall. And as far as moving a real harpsichord goes, as far as I know it doesn’t present much of a problem - they’re  light, a couple of people can manage one easily.

I suspect Landowska’s real reason for commissioning the Pleyel was that she wanted the volume controls.

« Last Edit: December 09, 2018, 12:10:32 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #1479 on: December 09, 2018, 07:04:21 AM »
One harpsichordist who still uses a Pleyal is Wladyslaw Klosiewicz. Here's a bit of Francois Couperin




<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/btSRnPyZOXo" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/btSRnPyZOXo</a>

and here's a whole recital with Bach and others

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/0OEV_06qW0I" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/0OEV_06qW0I</a>

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