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Author Topic: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier  (Read 85383 times)

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Don

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #40 on: May 09, 2007, 12:55:29 PM »
how would beethoven's sonatas sound on the harpsichord? hmmmmm

with bach the music works on both quite easily, heck is sounds nifty on mini moog too.  8)

Well, your negative remarks about the harpsichord do seem contrary to your position above.

As for Beethoven on harpsichord, I'd like to hear some of that.  Maybe I'd find it fantastic.

Offline helios

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #41 on: May 10, 2007, 12:14:56 AM »
yeah but Bach never really composed like that, he wasn't a "knight of the keyboard" as he famously said once, he didn't compose for the instrument specifically....he was more tapped into the very source, pure music in it's absolute form...consolidated from the great vocal polyphony that came before him, and thats how he wrote, that's why much of his music sounds good on pretty much anything and it quite easily tranferable, another reason why he's such a towering genius....unlike say Beethoven's keyboard works which were written very specifically to that instrument and it's resources/sounds and would be hard to re-create on other instruments, or sound convincing even.

you can make a piano transcription/reduction of most stuff....but my point is that beethoven's piano works, like the sonatas are written for the piano specifically, they are highly pianistic....they would lose a lot if played on the harpsichord.

This argument is particularly unconvincing.    Earlier works always are more easily transferred to modern instruments than vice-versa.   I doubt Messiaen sounds particularly good on a harpsichord either, yet you probably get away with Handel on an electronic keyboard  ;)

In fact, this is true for most aspects of life.   Take the (pedestrian) example of Microsoft Excel.   A spreadsheet created in an earlier version can be opened in a later version.   The reverse does not hold true.  Why?  Because the spreadsheet created in a later version took full advantage of the new capabilities.  Beethoven also took advantage of the more dynamic piano.


Don

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #42 on: May 10, 2007, 08:39:58 AM »
you can make a piano transcription/reduction of most stuff....but my point is that beethoven's piano works, like the sonatas are written for the piano specifically, they are highly pianistic....they would lose a lot if played on the harpsichord.

The proof is in the listening, but I'm not aware of any harpsichord versions of these works.  Are there any?

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #43 on: May 10, 2007, 10:10:59 AM »
...i like how for instance he took the leipzig organ chorales and arranged them for voice...

?? which ones??
If you think of the Schüblerchorales for organ, the transcriptions were made the other way round, i.e. from vocal version to organ version.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #44 on: May 10, 2007, 10:14:48 AM »
Like say with the Hammerklavier for instance.

You probably know, that Felix Weingartner arranged op. 106 for symphony orchester and recorded it (recording rereleased on CD by Naxos).

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #45 on: May 10, 2007, 10:16:33 AM »
As for Beethoven on harpsichord, I'd like to hear some of that.  Maybe I'd find it fantastic.

Do you really imagine a harpsichord being able to meet the expressive demands of Beethoven?

George

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2007, 10:39:45 AM »
You probably know, that Felix Weingartner arranged op. 106 for symphony orchester and recorded it (recording rereleased on CD by Naxos).

I didn't know, actually. Thanks.

I believe that Horowitz said that Rubinstein once said that the Hammerklavier is the 9th symphony for piano, so I naturally thought that it would work as a symphony.


Sean

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #47 on: May 10, 2007, 10:43:16 AM »
I'd argue that music originally written for fortepiano is better played on a piano because a piano is, above any other considerations, simply a good fortepiano. However music written for harpsichord is best on a harpsichord because the two are far too different, indeed inhabiting different aesthetic worlds.

Kenneth Gilbert's 48 is surely still unsurpassed, finding extreme subtlety and variety within the idiom.

Offline Bunny

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #48 on: May 11, 2007, 03:33:43 AM »
Do you really imagine a harpsichord being able to meet the expressive demands of Beethoven?

True, but it would be very interesting to hear certain pieces in which he makes use of broken chords on the harpsichord.  I think Für Elise would translate very well.

Don

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #49 on: May 11, 2007, 05:51:09 AM »
Do you really imagine a harpsichord being able to meet the expressive demands of Beethoven?

Probably not, but I'm more than willing to hold judgement until I hear the results.

The Mad Hatter

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #50 on: May 13, 2007, 03:05:57 PM »
I didn't know, actually. Thanks.

I believe that Horowitz said that Rubinstein once said that the Hammerklavier is the 9th symphony for piano, so I naturally thought that it would work as a symphony.



I imagine they meant in expressive range and technical accomplishment, rather than any more direct comparison to it as a symphony. I certainly can't imagine any orchestration that would work - . But that said, I can no longer hear Pictures at an Exhibition as a piano piece either, so I suppose it's possible.

Offline Bogey

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #51 on: May 13, 2007, 07:00:17 PM »
I imagine they meant in expressive range and technical accomplishment, rather than any more direct comparison to it as a symphony. I certainly can't imagine any orchestration that would work - . But that said, I can no longer hear Pictures at an Exhibition as a piano piece either, so I suppose it's possible.

I would like to hear that.  Hatter, did you get my PM?

Offline Opus106

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #52 on: September 22, 2008, 06:46:37 AM »
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to convince me of the greatness of Gould's recording of WTC Book 1.   ;D

You see, as a Bach fan, I want a copy of the WTC. Right now in shops locally, I can obtain Gould (Bk. 1), Kirkpatrick (Bk. 1) and Tureck (DG Bk. 1 and 2). I don't want the last two because of the instrument and price, respectively. I know that a lot of people rave about Gould's recording of this work. But a few days ago, I sampled the first prelude - it went 'plop plop plop ploP PLOP Plop plop plop'. A little later I sampled Schiff and I could easily hear the lovely 'Ave Maria' tune. I have also listened to harpsichord and clavichord...no "plopping" there. Is this why many people complain Gould of being "mechanical" and "cold"?


P.S.: This post will NOT self-destruct in 5 seconds.

Regards,
Navneeth

Bulldog

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #53 on: September 22, 2008, 01:20:19 PM »
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to convince me of the greatness of Gould's recording of WTC Book 1.   ;D

You see, as a Bach fan, I want a copy of the WTC. Right now in shops locally, I can obtain Gould (Bk. 1), Kirkpatrick (Bk. 1) and Tureck (DG Bk. 1 and 2). I don't want the last two because of the instrument and price, respectively. I know that a lot of people rave about Gould's recording of this work. But a few days ago, I sampled the first prelude - it went 'plop plop plop ploP PLOP Plop plop plop'. A little later I sampled Schiff and I could easily hear the lovely 'Ave Maria' tune. I have also listened to harpsichord and clavichord...no "plopping" there. Is this why many people complain Gould of being "mechanical" and "cold"?


I wouldn't want to try to convince anyone that my opinion of Gould's WTC is the one that others should hold or adopt, particularly for a body of music that is compelling in so many different types of interpretation.  There are folks who find Gould not very musical, but I'm not one of them.  If you don't like how Gould plays the Prelude in C major, perhaps you won't care much for his other performances of the set.

I gather you're not a fan of the fortepiano; that's fine.  As for Tureck's DG complete set, yes the price is quite high, but this set is probably the most compelling classical music performance I have ever heard.  So as far as I'm concerned, the cost means nothing.  And don't forget her other sets on BBC Legends.  Of course, if you don't take well to Tureck (and plenty don't), you'll feel like a big-time loser.

These are hard times, and WTC acquisition decisions are difficult.  If you offer up some of your basic musical preferences, I could possibly provide you with decent insights.  Some potential considerations:

1.  Any problem with historical recordings with sub-par sound; that's Tureck's DG situation.
2.  In the sound spectrum from very dry to wet, what's your preference?
3.  Prefer rounded or sharp contours.
4.  Prefer exuberant or reflective interpreations.
5.  Do you want Bach's dark side prominently displayed?
6.  How about Bach heard as "Papa Bach"?
7.  Is detail important to you or are you more concerned with musical sweep?
8.  Harpsichord okay?
9.  Lean or full textures.
10.Etc.

I own many dozens of WTC sets, and it's clear to me that no one artist can give you everything that's great about Bach's music.

Offline E d o

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #54 on: September 22, 2008, 02:36:43 PM »
The sound on Tureck's set is pretty bad. Hell, I find Fisher's more listenable. I wouldn't want to be without my Gould set though.

Bulldog

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #55 on: September 22, 2008, 02:47:03 PM »
The sound on Tureck's set is pretty bad. Hell, I find Fisher's more listenable.

Although I find the sound on both rather lousy, I notice it less with Tureck.  I suppose that's because I find her interpretations more transcendent.

Offline Opus106

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #56 on: September 23, 2008, 06:36:02 AM »
Thanks for the reply, Don.

If you don't like how Gould plays the Prelude in C major, perhaps you won't care much for his other performances of the set.

Maybe, or maybe not. I was already familiar with the tune of the Prelude in C major, and that was why I found it a bit off-putting. The rest of the WTC are virtually unknown to me. So, if I do end up getting Gould, it could be the "standard" (first exposure to a work) against which I compare others.

Quote
I gather you're not a fan of the fortepiano; that's fine.
 

I didn't say that. Kirkpatrick plays the clavichord, an instrument that I'm not familiar with. :)

Quote
These are hard times, and WTC acquisition decisions are difficult.
 

You make it sound like some sort of economic crisis.  :D  ;)

Quote
If you offer up some of your basic musical preferences, I could possibly provide you with decent insights.  Some potential considerations:

1.  Any problem with historical recordings with sub-par sound; that's Tureck's DG situation.
2.  In the sound spectrum from very dry to wet, what's your preference?
3.  Prefer rounded or sharp contours.
4.  Prefer exuberant or reflective interpreations.
5.  Do you want Bach's dark side prominently displayed?
6.  How about Bach heard as "Papa Bach"?
7.  Is detail important to you or are you more concerned with musical sweep?
8.  Harpsichord okay?
9.  Lean or full textures.
10.Etc.

I own many dozens of WTC sets, and it's clear to me that no one artist can give you everything that's great about Bach's music.


Wow...that's a lot of questions. I don't even know what to answer for some of them.

1. Prefer newer recordings. No scratchy/hissy ones for now, however historic the recording may be.

5. This interests me a lot. Please do suggest a few recordings that shows JSB's "dark side" according to you. (Even though this is a WTC thread, I am open suggestions for other works, as well.)

6. ???

8. Harpsichord is not an issue, and suggestions are welcome, but I'm usually constrained to buy what's available locally. Ordering from overseas can be a costly affair.
Regards,
Navneeth

Bulldog

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #57 on: September 23, 2008, 08:24:18 AM »


5. This interests me a lot. Please do suggest a few recordings that shows JSB's "dark side" according to you. (Even though this is a WTC thread, I am open suggestions for other works, as well.)


I'll just stick to the WTC.  For the dark side, Tureck, Fellner and Richter fully satisfy.

Offline Opus106

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #58 on: September 23, 2008, 08:27:10 AM »
Thanks. :)
Regards,
Navneeth

Offline Norbeone

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #59 on: September 23, 2008, 09:11:51 AM »
Maybe, or maybe not. I was already familiar with the tune of the Prelude in C major, and that was why I found it a bit off-putting. The rest of the WTC are virtually unknown to me. So, if I do end up getting Gould, it could be the "standard" (first exposure to a work) against which I compare others.
 


There is no reason why Gould's WTC shouldn't be the first recording you hear. To be honest, the quirky phrasing and articulation he employs in the C Major Prelude is not the kind of thing that runs throughout the whole set. I find almost all of Gould's Preludes and Fugues (particularly the fugues) to be absolutely mesmerizing, full of spontaneity (not randomness) and vitality. There are certainly a few unique Gouldian quirks in some of the preludes that you'll hear no other pianist do, but that's half the fun. 

I'm confident you'll find this a Goulden recommendation!



If you also go for a harpsichord version, I really like Bob van Asperen's recording, and also Gustav Leonardt's.

 :)

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