GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: The Mad Hatter on May 22, 2007, 11:37:26 PM

Title: The Art of Fugue
Post by: The Mad Hatter on May 22, 2007, 11:37:26 PM
Ok, what I'm specifically looking for is an Art of Fugue that's been completed well, preferably recorded on piano. Apparently Joe Grucock did an excellent completion, but I don't think there's a recording available.

Anyone any reccomendations?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 23, 2007, 04:13:08 AM
Some organists (Walcha, Rogg and Fergusson) and one harpsichordist (Moroney) have recorded the AoF including their "completed" version of the Fuga a 4 sogetti, but as far as I know, no pianist has done this.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: The Mad Hatter on May 24, 2007, 11:21:35 AM
Really? Darn.

Any reccomendations for best organ recording, then?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 24, 2007, 12:15:53 PM
Really? Darn.

Any reccomendations for best organ recording, then?

Yes, Walcha (DG Archive) available separately om 2 CD´s including some other Choral-free works. A magnificent passionate interpretation.

http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Art-Fugue-Johann-Sebastian/dp/B000M05VMU/ref=sr_1_4/002-3853430-3337623?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1180040952&sr=1-4

His recording of the completed Fuga a 3 sogetti is only released as a part of the 12 CD stereo integral (also containing the AoF - same recording as above Alkmaar 1956).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Organ-Works-Johann-Sebastian/dp/B00004SAAX/ref=pd_bowtega_2/203-0548657-6729513?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1180041263&sr=1-2
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Que on May 24, 2007, 09:34:47 PM
Hope a recommendation on harpsichord is OK too? :)


My absolute favourite: Robert Hill.

(http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-NonVocal-BIG/Hill-A02[Hanssler].jpg)

Q




P.S. I'm not in the know on this, but word has it that on the piano Koroliov's interpretation is the one to go for.
But you'd better consult Don on this matter! :)

(http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-NonVocal-BIG/AOF-Koroliov.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: FideLeo on May 24, 2007, 10:39:59 PM
Hope a recommendation on harpsichord is OK too? :)


My absolute favourite: Robert Hill.

(http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-NonVocal-BIG/Hill-A02[Hanssler].jpg)

Q


Andre Isoir on Calliope is very interesting as well on a (baroque style) organ.


Quote

P.S. I'm not in the know on this, but word has it that on the piano Koroliov's interpretation is the one to go for.
But you'd better consult Don on this matter! :)

(http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-NonVocal-BIG/AOF-Koroliov.jpg)


I have this and can confirm the piano sound is well recorded.  The interpretation is not terribly dynamic to me, but then, as a card-carrying member of the Harpsichord Brigade (see below), I am happy to be biased in this aspect.  ;D
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Don on May 25, 2007, 01:18:46 AM
On piano, my favored versions come from Koroliov, Nikolayeva, Sokolov and Rosen.  Just as fine is Gould's recording where he plays both piano and organ.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: The Mad Hatter on May 27, 2007, 04:07:35 AM
On piano, my favored versions come from Koroliov, Nikolayeva, Sokolov and Rosen.  Just as fine is Gould's recording where he plays both piano and organ.

Yeah, but he doesn't play all of it. Plus there's that stop where Bach went and died - I'd actually really like to hear a complete version, even if it's not all his. If you'll forgive my desire for a cadence.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Don on May 27, 2007, 08:24:20 AM
Yeah, but he doesn't play all of it. Plus there's that stop where Bach went and died - I'd actually really like to hear a complete version, even if it's not all his. If you'll forgive my desire for a cadence.

Yes, he died without completing the work.  I can live with that, and I don't need someone else completing it.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bogey on May 27, 2007, 08:40:25 AM
(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/8a/63/6913224128a0d0f3c8428010._AA240_.L.jpg)

I am still "slicing" through this set, which contains probably more than you need, but for as low as $5 a disc from some sellers, you will not be disappointed.

Don,
Please look for PM.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: The Mad Hatter on May 27, 2007, 03:30:56 PM
Yes, he died without completing the work.  I can live with that, and I don't need someone else completing it.

I don't 'need' it either, but I do think it's very interesting to hear the 'might-have-beens', especially if they do give the piece a real sense of wholeness.

I hope you can forgive that.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Josquin des Prez on May 27, 2007, 05:28:41 PM
Koriolov's Art of Fugue is a tough act to beat. One of the very best recordings ever made, of every kind. 

For Harpsichord, i like Gilbert, who seems to really excel when playing Bach (not a big fan of everything else he has done), and for Organ, Walcha.

I also have a cool string quartet version by Keller, an orchestral version by Hermann Scherchen and one by Canadian Brass. As soon as i can get some extra cash together i also plan on buying the Savall, which is long over-due for me.

As you can see, lot's of excellent choices for this work...
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Don on May 27, 2007, 06:58:50 PM
I don't 'need' it either, but I do think it's very interesting to hear the 'might-have-beens', especially if they do give the piece a real sense of wholeness.

I hope you can forgive that.

Sure.  I was just stating my preference.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Josquin des Prez on September 24, 2007, 08:10:49 PM
The interpretation is not terribly dynamic to me

Koroliov's Art of Fugue was Ligeti's desert Island disc. You can't get a higher pedegree than that. Repent, now.  >:(
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: FideLeo on September 24, 2007, 08:46:45 PM
Koroliov's Art of Fugue was Ligeti's desert Island disc. You can't get a higher pedegree than that. Repent, now.  >:(

Yes but Art of Fugue wasn't even composed by Ligeti....pedigree?   ???
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: DavidW on September 25, 2007, 02:07:12 AM
I also have a cool string quartet version by Keller,

I really tried to get into the Keller Quartet recording, but I think it just sounds dull to me.  Maybe I just really like it to be played on keyboard.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: DavidW on September 25, 2007, 02:07:47 AM
My absolute favourite: Robert Hill.

Second that. :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Josquin des Prez on September 25, 2007, 03:25:34 AM
Yes but Art of Fugue wasn't even composed by Ligeti ???

You don't think the word of a world class composer (perhaps the best we had this side of the century) isn't worth something?  ;D

Koroliov's Art of Fugue is otherworldly. Suffer not the heathen.  >:(
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Josquin des Prez on September 25, 2007, 03:28:30 AM
I really tried to get into the Keller Quartet recording, but I think it just sounds dull to me.  Maybe I just really like it to be played on keyboard.

Try Emerson. I know they usually get a bad rap from me but their style seems to land very well for this piece. They are much more agile then Keller and their texture if very clear as well.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Josquin des Prez on September 25, 2007, 03:31:05 AM
What is with the extra few bars at the end of the unfinished fugue on the Sokolov recording?  I don't see those in any score of mine, and it sure isn't a completion since it still doesn't end on a cadence... ???

(Sorry to dig up a dead thread, but I didn't want to start a new one just for this question.)


Forget about the completition. Bach didn't finish the piece, and that's that. Story over.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: FideLeo on September 25, 2007, 03:43:17 AM
You don't think the word of a world class composer (perhaps the best we had this side of the century) isn't worth something?  ;D

Koroliov's Art of Fugue is otherworldly. Suffer not the heathen.  >:(


Evangelism Koroliov, isn't it?   ;D
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: DavidW on September 25, 2007, 01:39:22 PM
Try Emerson. I know they usually get a bad rap from me but their style seems to land very well for this piece. They are much more agile then Keller and their texture if very clear as well.

Okey doke, I'll check 'em out. :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: orange on July 07, 2008, 06:05:09 AM
I'm looking for a transcription of the art of fugue for a string quartet. I cant find it anywhere. can anyone help me?

I would like to play this work in clarinet quartet. Do you think we should play it in original tonalities or should be ok to be played in Bb?

thanks for advice

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on July 07, 2008, 07:02:28 AM
I'm looking for a transcription of the art of fugue for a string quartet. I cant find it anywhere.

Huh? The Emerson SQ version is the top-selling CD of the ensemble on Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Bach-The-Art-of-Fugue/dp/B00008O8B3/ref=wl_itt_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1VDENXC0WP1Y9&colid=I7682ALB5LG2
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Szykneij on July 07, 2008, 07:29:03 AM
Huh? The Emerson SQ version is the top-selling CD of the ensemble on Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Bach-The-Art-of-Fugue/dp/B00008O8B3/ref=wl_itt_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1VDENXC0WP1Y9&colid=I7682ALB5LG2

I believe he's looking for the music in print for performance.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: scarpia on July 07, 2008, 07:29:46 AM

Although probably intended to be playable on a keyboard, Bach's original edition was written in score form, so I don't think a string quartet version would be any easier to transcribe for clarinet quartet than the original.  Mainly you would have to deal with the transposition.  One transcription for string quartet by Robert Simpson and recorded by the Delme quartet transposes the entire work to better suite the ranges of the string instruments, so transposition would not without president.  The original is in d minor, so presumably you'd want to transpose to the relative minor of B flat, or g-minor.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on July 07, 2008, 07:35:09 AM
Please accept my apology.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: orange on July 07, 2008, 11:37:14 AM
Although probably intended to be playable on a keyboard, Bach's original edition was written in score form, so I don't think a string quartet version would be any easier to transcribe for clarinet quartet than the original.  Mainly you would have to deal with the transposition.  One transcription for string quartet by Robert Simpson and recorded by the Delme quartet transposes the entire work to better suite the ranges of the string instruments, so transposition would not without president.  The original is in d minor, so presumably you'd want to transpose to the relative minor of B flat, or g-minor.


I'm asking if it's weird, if we just take the score for string quartet, so it would sound c-minor and not d-minor.

I dont understand want you mean with that I should transpose it to g-minor? why to g-minor, because of the range of clarinet?

Or should sound like original in d-minor?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: scarpia on July 07, 2008, 11:51:50 AM
I'm asking if it's weird, if we just take the score for string quartet, so it would sound c-minor and not d-minor.

I dont understand want you mean with that I should transpose it to g-minor? why to g-minor, because of the range of clarinet?

Or should sound like original in d-minor?
You are the one who said you want to transcribe into the key of B-flat.  I'm just pointing out that the piece is in minor key and the relative minor of B-flat is g-minor.  Of course if you interpret the score as a part of B-flat clarinet it will sound in c-minor instead of d-minor.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: orange on July 07, 2008, 12:24:16 PM
You are the one who said you want to transcribe into the key of B-flat.  I'm just pointing out that the piece is in minor key and the relative minor of B-flat is g-minor.  Of course if you interpret the score as a part of B-flat clarinet it will sound in c-minor instead of d-minor.

I just asking you guys, what do you think. Should it sound in original d-minor or it doesnt matter if it sounds in c-minor or even g-minor.. 0:)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Don on July 07, 2008, 12:42:24 PM

I would like to play this work in clarinet quartet.

Why? 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: scarpia on July 07, 2008, 12:47:38 PM
I just asking you guys, what do you think. Should it sound in original d-minor or it doesnt matter if it sounds in c-minor or even g-minor.. 0:)

It will sound best in whatever key you can play it in.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: FideLeo on July 08, 2008, 12:18:56 AM
I just asking you guys, what do you think. Should it sound in original d-minor or it doesnt matter if it sounds in c-minor or even g-minor.. 0:)

Bach would have approved of transpositions if he had to re-score the work (he did exactly that many times).
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 08, 2008, 04:57:34 PM
It will sound best in whatever key you can play it in.


F# major?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: scarpia on July 08, 2008, 05:06:56 PM
F# major?

I'm assuming you meant to type d# minor
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 08, 2008, 06:41:57 PM
I'm assuming you meant to type d# minor


I was making a joke, caro barone.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: scarpia on July 08, 2008, 07:04:49 PM
I was making a joke, caro barone.

So was I, it was almost as funny as yours.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on July 08, 2008, 11:53:45 PM
So was I, it was almost as funny as yours.


No, Sf´s joke was a Major joke. ;D
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Josquin des Prez on July 09, 2008, 10:02:51 AM
They were both pretty sharp though.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Valentino on July 09, 2008, 10:14:01 AM
I like Fretworks' recording. Even if they don't do it on keyboards.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 13, 2008, 06:03:56 PM
My understanding of the musicological issues is that it is definitely a keyboard work. Nonetheless, my all-time favorite recording is the chamber-orchestra arrangement by William Malloch on Sheffield CDs known as "The Art of Fuguing." Not to be missed.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: czgirb on March 11, 2011, 04:04:01 PM
Please recommend me a recordings to hear ...
Thank you
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 11, 2011, 04:26:28 PM
Although some consider the organ the only appropriate instrument for performing this work, I like the Emerson quartet.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bulldog on March 11, 2011, 04:35:11 PM
Glenn Gould - Piano/Organ/Sony
Evgeni Koroliov - Piano/Tacet
Tatiana Nikolayeva - Piano/Hyperion
Kenneth Gilbert - Harpsichord/Archiv
Davitt Moroney - Harpsichord/Harmonia Mundi
Robert Hill - Harpsichord/Hanssler
Gustav Leonhardt - Harpsichord/Vanguard
Rinaldo Alessandrini/Concerto Italiano - Opus 111/Naive
Jordi Savall/Hesperion XX - Astree/Alia Vox
Walter Riemer - Fortepiano/Eroica
Gerhard Weinberger - Organ/CPO
Sergio Vartolo - Harpsichord/Naxos
Bradley Brookshire - Harpsichord/Bach Harsichord Inc.

Although a rather long list, it could be much longer.  My top pick is Kenneth Gilbert, but all the others are mighty fine.

If you provide a few preference features, I could shorten the list.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bulldog on March 11, 2011, 04:39:42 PM
Although some consider the organ the only appropriate instrument for performing this work, I like the Emerson quartet.



A fine choice, although I think czgirb should be aware that the Emerson is a modern strings outfit.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 11, 2011, 04:41:04 PM
A fine choice, although I think czgirb should be aware that the Emerson is a modern strings outfit.

Since Bach did not write the piece for strings, I consider modern strings no less appropriate than period strings.   0:)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 11, 2011, 04:41:58 PM
Glenn Gould - Piano/Organ/Sony
Evgeni Koroliov - Piano/Tacet
Tatiana Nikolayeva - Piano/Hyperion
Kenneth Gilbert - Harpsichord/Archiv
Davitt Moroney - Harpsichord/Harmonia Mundi
Robert Hill - Harpsichord/Hanssler
Gustav Leonhardt - Harpsichord/Vanguard
Rinaldo Alessandrini/Concerto Italiano - Opus 111/Naive
Jordi Savall/Hesperion XX - Astree/Alia Vox
Walter Riemer - Fortepiano/Eroica
Gerhard Weinberger - Organ/CPO
Sergio Vartolo - Harpsichord/Naxos
Bradley Brookshire - Harpsichord/Bach Harsichord Inc.

Although a rather long list, it could be much longer.  My top pick is Kenneth Gilbert, but all the others are mighty fine.

If you provide a few preference features, I could shorten the list.

I would get that it it weren't so out of print.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bulldog on March 11, 2011, 04:53:10 PM
Since Bach did not write the piece for strings, I consider modern strings no less appropriate than period strings.   0:)

Understood.  I just much prefer period strings for baroque pieces.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bulldog on March 11, 2011, 04:56:02 PM
I would get that it it weren't so out of print.

The Alessandrini is a special order at ArkivMusic, but my experiences with special orders are not very successful.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on March 11, 2011, 05:01:54 PM
Talking about "alternative" versions, Münchinger and his Stuttgarter Kammerorchester are a top choice, too.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41E3ETK0M3L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 11, 2011, 05:20:05 PM
Talking about "alternative" versions, Münchinger and his Stuttgarter Kammerorchester are a top choice, too.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41E3ETK0M3L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I have that too, but it is the only instance I can recall of preferring the Marriner version of something.



But the most interesting is the version by Roger Vuatez, performed by Scherchen leading the Orchester des Radios Beromünster, recorded November, 1949 and released by Decca (I have the vinyl).

(http://store.acousticsounds.com/images/large/XXXX__72602__01182011050349-9453.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on March 11, 2011, 08:52:18 PM
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1044
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: czgirb on March 11, 2011, 09:50:32 PM
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1044

Before I made the thread, I've tried to search "Art of Fugue" ... but NONE appeared ... that's why I made the thread.
Thank you for the guidance and for people who tried to recommends a recording to me.

Art of Fugue ... in Strings? What a surprise ... I think it's for Harpsichord/Organ only.
Thank you for your recommendation ... it's worth for giving it a try ...
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 11, 2011, 10:18:54 PM
Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov Koroliov
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 11, 2011, 10:32:36 PM
If not Koroliov, the  two I've enjoyed  most over the years is Reinhard Goebel's and Scherchen's first recording.

I've also enjoyed Marriner (rather edgy), Berlin Saxaphone Quartet  and Savall. And Scherchen's

On the whole I have tended to avoid piano or harpsichord versions == I find that there's not enough variety. Gould however is extremely good in the late  recordings -- Contapunctus 13 and 14.

Koroliov was a real revelation -- a sort of miracle of articulation: somehow he manages to find a medium between staccato and legato. And a miracle of dynamic control -- he's very memorable at building climaxes. Maybe the pianists here could tell me what piano he's playing -- I suspect it's just a Steinway 88, but he makes it sound very right for the music.

I have some others which I have never really got into for one reason or another: Sokolov, Macgregor, Walcha  and Aimard. But I need to give them more time --  Aimard especially has always sounded interested on brief sampling -- but I've never gotten round to sustained critical listening.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 11, 2011, 11:25:08 PM

But the most interesting is the version by Roger Vuatez, performed by Scherchen leading the Orchester des Radios Beromünster, recorded November, 1949 and released by Decca (I have the vinyl).

(http://store.acousticsounds.com/images/large/XXXX__72602__01182011050349-9453.jpg)

Yes superb, and  in outstanding sound on a Tahra CD. It really is one of the great Bach recordings I think.

Scherchen recorded his own orchestration too -- premiered in Lugano in 1965. There's a CD of the event. I haven't really done the groundwork yet to justify this, but I suspect that Scherchen's orchestration was very influential. I'd be surprised if Marriner and Savals and Goebel were't influenced stongly by Scheren's work/

Also there's a DVD of Scherchen rehearsing it in 1965 (on VAI) which I've never seen -- this thread has prompted me to place the order!

Other fun oldies are Winograd's and Ristenpart's, which are available in amateur transfers from symphonyshare, so you've got no excuse not to try.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 12, 2011, 01:15:00 AM
On the whole I have tended to avoid piano or harpsichord versions == I find that there's not enough variety.

But the Art of Fugue is about musical variety - which it has got in abundance.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 12, 2011, 01:18:51 AM
But the Art of Fugue is about musical variety - which it has got in abundance.

I meant colour really. It's the range of colours which you get from organ and from orchestrated versions which I find very attractive. Harpsichord and piano are sometimes hard work, austere, tutonnic and ultimately too tiring for little me.

Having said that I enjoyed Koroliov a lot so maybe it's time for me to revisit some keyboard versions.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: FideLeo on March 12, 2011, 01:25:06 AM
But the Art of Fugue is about musical variety - which it has got in abundance.

It's musical variety in a fairly strict uniform - all cpti are in d minor, etc.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Que on March 12, 2011, 01:36:45 AM
Before I made the thread, I've tried to search "Art of Fugue" ... but NONE appeared ... that's why I made the thread.

When you are doing a search for a thread, make sure that you:

1) first go to the home page, or else only the thread you are in is being searched.
2) tick the box that says "Search in topic subjects only"

Anyway, you have arrived on the right thread! :) On harpsichord I love Robert Hill:



Q
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 12, 2011, 01:39:10 AM
I meant colour really.

Well, this makes more sense. But still I think, that the musical variety is so great, that a variety in colour is unnecessary, and maybe even  distracts from the musical variety. Personally I prefer the organ for this work - not because of the variations in colour made possible, but because of the sustaining power of the organ as compared to harpsichord and piano.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 12, 2011, 01:43:03 AM
It's musical variety in a fairly strict uniform - all cpti are in d minor, etc.

Uniform, and for that very reason, concentrated variety is often one of the points in Bachs works.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: FideLeo on March 12, 2011, 01:48:48 AM
Uniform, and for that very reason, concentrated variety is often one of the points in Bachs works.

(Inward variety)
Perhaps one that labeled him 'old-fashioned' even among his contemporaries?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 12, 2011, 01:55:50 AM
(Inward variety)
Perhaps one that labeled him 'old-fashioned' even among his contemporaries?

Yes, inward variety. This illustrates well why "fashion" is so endless irrelevant.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 12, 2011, 03:02:51 AM
During the last plm. 6 months, Die Kunst der Fuge has 'developed' itself to one of my favourite pieces ever.

I like Lionel Rogg's recording (organ) very much:

(http://i55.tinypic.com/2gvkebs.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Art-Fugue-Organ-Concertos/dp/B000NPCMHQ/

Another good one, IMO, is played by Alessio Corti (organ again), part of his integral. Unfortunately, this one is not easy to get.
But here's a link to a live performance:

http://avaxhome.ws/music/classical/bach_kunst_der_fuge.html

For the harpsichord, I would recommand Christian Rieger:

(http://i52.tinypic.com/2v9orao.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/J-S-Bach-Fugue-Johann-Sebastian/dp/B002KPW3YE/

As Prem... err, Aulos said: variety in abundance! :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on March 12, 2011, 05:42:23 AM
I have that too, but it is the only instance I can recall of preferring the Marriner version of something.



I find Marriner's version creamy and a bit soporific; "nice" at its best. Münchinger, on the other hand, breathes contrapuntal clarity, concentration, a tremendous discipline and expressive economy. Before him I thought I would never enjoy an orchestral version without some feeling of falsification.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: mjwal on March 12, 2011, 08:30:21 AM
I got to know the Kunst der Fuge in performances by Gould (incomplete) on LP,and on CD Pommer conducting Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig in his version, Moroney on harpsichord, and Scherchen (Westminster/Millennium) conducting his own very varied instrumental version, which I often play for pleasure; I haven't heard the earlier recording of the Vuataz instrumentation mentioned above. I was bored by the Keller quartet version somebody presented us with.There is a pretty exhaustive discography here -
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV1080-Rec1.htm
 Does anyone know the "Renaissance" version (viols etc) by Savall? or the Zender-led Stiedry version? This and the Musikalisches Opfer are my favourite Bach works, perhaps also because I love encountering these two works anew in different forms, though I think it is a good idea to return to a relatively unvarnished presentation at times e.g.. the Moroney (of the KdF) - I'm probably not going to buy any more interpretations to weigh down the groaning shelves, though if I find interesting versions online I might download them. I find it odd that the first recording of the work was of the string quartet version in 1934. As far as the putative unity of the work is concerned, what is the best order of the fugues and canons? I have read that Bach probably did complete the quadruple fugue after all - but it strikes me as strange that his sons didn't know about it. Anybody have something to say about this? I would also be interested to hear what any of you might have to say about Busoni's meditation on and partial incorporation of the KdF  in his Fantasia Contrappuntistica (not to mention Sorabji's response to that in his Opus Clavicembalisticum...)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 12, 2011, 09:28:47 AM
IMO the logical sequence is

Contrapunctus I - XI
Four-part mirror fugue + inversion
Three-part mirror fugue + inversion
Canon I - IV
Incomplete Fugue á 4

You may even consider the Canons a kind of appendix (like the Duets in Clavierübung III).

But maybe any supposed sequence only serves editoral purposes, since it is uncertain whether the work was meant to be performed in one sitting or not.

Bach probably beforehand completed the unfinished Fugue á 4 in his head, but never managed to write it down.

It is also possible that more complex Contrapuncti was intended to follow.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 12, 2011, 11:05:47 AM
Well, this makes more sense. But still I think, that the musical variety is so great, that a variety in colour is unnecessary, and maybe even  distracts from the musical variety. Personally I prefer the organ for this work - not because of the variations in colour made possible, but because of the sustaining power of the organ as compared to harpsichord and piano.

My feeling is that some good orchestra performances -- like the one in the 1949 Scherchen recording --  helps to bring out the argument of the fugues. And at the same time introduces an element of sensuality, which is really fun. But I wouldn't want to be without Koroliov or Tachezi.



Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 12, 2011, 11:31:52 AM
My feeling is that some good orchestra performances -- like the one in the 1949 Scherchen recording --  helps to bring out the argument of the fugues. And at the same time introduces an element of sensuality, which is really fun. But I wouldn't want to be without Koroliov or Tachezi.

I often feel, that we (modern educated listeners) are prone to listen in a too analytical way to works like The AoF.  We are very concerned about hearing every statement of the fugal subject, and whether the subject is heard in diminution, mirror version et.c., but maybe the important point for Bach was the musical expression as such. And once having analyzed the work we should maybe forget about theory while listening. This is the reason (other than the fact that I consider the work to be a keyboard work) why I do not wholeheartily favour a rendering with chamber ensemble which tends to make every thematic statement too prominent.

BTW, a good orchestral performance, have you heard the recording of Eric Bergel.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 12, 2011, 12:58:53 PM
I often feel, that we (modern educated listeners) are prone to listen in a too analytical way to works like The AoF.  We are very concerned about hearing every statement of the fugal subject, and whether the subject is heard in diminution, mirror version et.c., but maybe the important point for Bach was the musical expression as such. And once having analyzed the work we should maybe forget about theory while listening. This is the reason (other than the fact that I consider the work to be a keyboard work) why I do not wholeheartily favour a rendering with chamber ensemble which tends to make every thematic statement too prominent.

Where did you get the notion that performance by a chamber ensemble has the effect or making statements of theme more prominent?   A good performance can enhance the clarity of the voice-leading but has nothing to do with making one part of another more prominent at the expense of another. 

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 12, 2011, 02:09:16 PM
Where did you get the notion that performance by a chamber ensemble has the effect or making statements of theme more prominent?   A good performance can enhance the clarity of the voice-leading but has nothing to do with making one part of another more prominent at the expense of another.

I have actually heard all chamber ensemble recordings which have been made but a few (HIP as well as non HIP). My experience is, that exactly what you call enhanced clarity of the voice-leading results in enhanced focus on the thematic statements.  Actually the musicians "instinctively" play in this way. Many pianists play in the same way (Koroliov, Nicolayeva f.i.) On an organ (and a harpsichord) , properly registered, this is impossible.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 12, 2011, 02:13:13 PM
I have actually heard all chamber ensemble recordings which have been made but a few (HIP as well as non HIP). My experience is, that exactly what you call enhanced clarity of the voice-leading results in enhanced focus on the thematic statements.  Actually the musicians "instinctively" play in this way. Many pianists play in the same way (Koroliov, Nicolayeva f.i.) On an organ (and a harpsichord) , properly registered, this is impossible.

I have noticed no such effect and it seems odd that every set of performers would fall victim to the fault.  I think it is more reasonable to attribute this effect to yourself, rather than to the performers.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 12, 2011, 02:18:59 PM
I have noticed no such effect, and I think you should attribute this effect to yourself, rather than to the performers.

I rather think, that since you have noticed no such effect, you find this way of playing natural.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 12, 2011, 02:42:39 PM
I often feel, that we (modern educated listeners) are prone to listen in a too analytical way to works like The AoF.  We are very concerned about hearing every statement of the fugal subject, and whether the subject is heard in diminution, mirror version et.c., but maybe the important point for Bach was the musical expression as such. And once having analyzed the work we should maybe forget about theory while listening. This is the reason (other than the fact that I consider the work to be a keyboard work) why I do not wholeheartily favour a rendering with chamber ensemble which tends to make every thematic statement too prominent.

BTW, a good orchestral performance, have you heard the recording of Eric Bergel.

No I haven't heard Eric Bergel -- I'll try to.


I'm not sure I understand what you mean though. Can you find an example (on youtube if possible)  of  voice leading which you like -- voice leading which doesn't over - emphasise the theme. If I had that I could contrast it with Scherchen , Koroliov etc.


I know it's cheeky to ask -- I'd fully understand if you don't have the time to go hunting around for recordings.

The discussion is interesting. Thanks to all of you.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 12, 2011, 03:06:52 PM
No I haven't heard Eric Bergel -- I'll try to.

This link might be helpful to give you an idea:

http://www.jsbach.org/bergeldiekunstderfuge.html

Quote from: Mandryka
The discussion is interesting. [....]

Indeed.
At first, I didn't think Die Kunst der Fuge was music for me, even though I loved Bach very much.
Reading about it gave me the idea that it was some kind of an abstract and theoretical musical monument. It scared me.
My first encounter with it wasn't very encouraging, either. The Musica Antiqua Köln did not manage to grab and keep my attention. And because I've always liked the MAK, I was even more convinced that this work wasn't 'made for me'.

But some years ago, organist Bram Beekman and harpsichordist Sébastian Guillot convinced me otherwise. Since then, I've begun admiring and loving this work more and more.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 12, 2011, 03:15:57 PM
No I haven't heard Eric Bergel -- I'll try to.

It is time to go to bed in my country now, but to morrow I shall upload a couple of Counterpoints´s from Bergels recording.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean though. Can you find an example (on youtube if possible)  of  voice leading which you like -- voice leading which doesn't over - emphasise the theme. If I had that I could contrast it with Scherchen , Koroliov etc.

I am not sure I can find a chamber version, which lives up to this. But certainly many organ- and harpsichord versions.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 12, 2011, 03:28:26 PM
But some years ago, organist Bram Beekman and harpsichordist Sébastian Guillot convinced me otherwise. Since then, I've begun admiring and loving this work more and more.

As a youngster I played the AoF eagerly on my mothers piano, but I found it for a long time rather abstract. An important experience was a concert (AoF complete) with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra / Münchinger, but the recordings which eventually opened this work to me were first and foremost Walcha´s  and later Leonhardt´s - both of them interpretations which treat this work as expressive music in the same way as Guillot.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 12, 2011, 03:33:47 PM
As a youngster I played the AoF eagerly on my mothers piano, but I found it for a long time rather abstract. An important experience was a concert (AoF complete) with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra / Münchinger, but the recordings which eventually opened this work to me were first and foremost Walcha´s  and later Leonhardt´s - both of them interpretations which treat this work as expressive music in the same way as Guillot.

Yes, Walcha´s a good one.
It belongs to my ´train discs´ during my travelling to and from work.
I don´t think I have the Leonhardt, not even in cellophane. :)
Something for the future .... but first I need a good night sleep!
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 13, 2011, 02:46:42 AM
At first, I didn't think Die Kunst der Fuge was music for me, even though I loved Bach very much.
Reading about it gave me the idea that it was some kind of an abstract and theoretical musical monument. It scared me.

That was also my initial reaction. Also, I think I was prejudiced against the work by the common opinion that it wasn't meant for performance, but was just intended as a kind of theoretical compendium of the fugal art.

I can't compare a lot of recordings, but I'm happy with the Canadian Brass (Sony) and the Simpson transcription for string quartet (Hyperion). Neither one "authentic" or HIP in the least; but so what, I like 'em both.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 13, 2011, 04:14:03 AM
It is time to go to bed in my country now, but to morrow I shall upload a couple of Counterpoints´s from Bergels recording.

Here are some examples from Bergel´s AoF.

Erich Bergel (1930 - 1998) conducting the Cluj Philharmonic Orchestra.
He was himself an organist, and obviously his point of departure was the sound of the organ. One can in a way say, that he registers rather than arranges  the work for orchestra. He even made a conclusion for the unfinished Fugue. I have included this in the examples. The sound quality is mp3 , 320 kbps


Contrapunctus I
http://www.mediafire.com/file/2v1yfdm4volo5jr/Contrapunctus%20I.mp3


Contrapunctus III
http://www.mediafire.com/file/7fe73zz8poye7hc/Contrapunctus%20III.mp3


Contrapunctus VII
http://www.mediafire.com/file/9zzdgy63y6lge7c/Contrapunctus%20VII.mp3


Contrapunctus Inversus a 4, Inversus
http://www.mediafire.com/file/cusyk5ulc0tq47x/Contrapunctus%20inv.%20a%204%2C%20inversus.mp3


Fuga a 3 soggetti (conclusion by Erich Bergel)
http://www.mediafire.com/file/3h53smi57nl3h65/Fuga%20a%203%20soggetti.mp3
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 13, 2011, 04:23:30 AM
In Bergel's own words:

Bach's last great composition: The Art of Fugue is widely regarded as the climax of his creative work; indeed, some see it as the apogee of all European music. Here his contrapunctual technique reaches a crystalline clarity which has no equal in the music of all times. [....] It would be wrong to classify The Art of Fugue as either a pedagogical or art work. The one does not exclude the other; they are complementary. [....] Without a doubt the organ is the most suitable instrument to do justice to the polyphonic structures of Bach's concepts. However, in contrast to the objectivity of the organ sound, violinist and woodwind players are better equipped to express intense emotions. Consequently, the ideal choice seems to be a form of instrumentation which has the possibility of being expressive as well as powerful: the symphony orchestra. The orchestra need not necessarily be used according to the principles of Richard Strauss or Stravinsky. By means of octave doublings and combinations of instruments with different tone colours, it is possible to approximate the tonal qualities of the organ. These considerations served as guidelines for my orchestration. [....]

Btw: I ordered his version yesterday. Thanks for mentioning him!
(Listening to the downloaded final fugue right now .... I must say: I still prefer the organ or harpsichord ....)

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 13, 2011, 04:41:44 AM
(Listening to the downloaded final fugue right now .... I must say: I still prefer the organ or harpsichord ....)

So do I, and I do not intend trying to convert anybody to prefer chamber- or orchestral arrangements to keyboard renderings.
But some of these "arrangements" may be rather interesting even if they only rarely are relevatory.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 13, 2011, 05:39:08 AM
Here are some examples from Bergel´s AoF.

Erich Bergel (1930 - 1998) conducting the Cluj Philharmonic Orchestra.
He was himself an organist, and obviously his point of departure was the sound of the organ. One can in a way say, that he registers rather than arranges  the work for orchestra. He even made a conclusion for the unfinished Fugue. I have included this in the examples. The sound quality is mp3 , 320 kbps


Contrapunctus I
http://www.mediafire.com/file/2v1yfdm4volo5jr/Contrapunctus%20I.mp3


Contrapunctus III
http://www.mediafire.com/file/7fe73zz8poye7hc/Contrapunctus%20III.mp3


Contrapunctus VII
http://www.mediafire.com/file/9zzdgy63y6lge7c/Contrapunctus%20VII.mp3


Contrapunctus Inversus a 4, Inversus
http://www.mediafire.com/file/cusyk5ulc0tq47x/Contrapunctus%20inv.%20a%204%2C%20inversus.mp3


Fuga a 3 soggetti (conclusion by Erich Bergel)
http://www.mediafire.com/file/3h53smi57nl3h65/Fuga%20a%203%20soggetti.mp3

That's very very  kind and generous. Much appreciated.

So do I, and I do not intend trying to convert anybody to prefer chamber- or orchestral arrangements to keyboard renderings.
But some of these "arrangements" may be rather interesting even if they only rarely are relevatory.

I don't want to put you on the spot -- but please, give me an example of a performance of a fugue played on organ or harpsichord or piano which is revelatory in the sense you mean -- I'm having a hard time getting what you're driving at. On the one hand there's internal variety.  On the other hand it's best not to try to listen analytically, but rather enjoy the musical expression. And on the third hand orchestral versions are may actually distract the listener from appreciating this internal variety (?) because of the colour, the sensuality, they bring.

I hope that doesn't sound too aggressive -- I should say that I'm finding this discussion one of the most interesting I've been involved in on the web for a long time. It's certainly making me think -- though I suspect that my paraphrase above is full of misunderstandings. If so. sorry!
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on March 13, 2011, 06:42:05 AM
Here are some examples from Bergel´s AoF.

Erich Bergel (1930 - 1998) conducting the Cluj Philharmonic Orchestra.
He was himself an organist, and obviously his point of departure was the sound of the organ. One can in a way say, that he registers rather than arranges  the work for orchestra. He even made a conclusion for the unfinished Fugue. I have included this in the examples. The sound quality is mp3 , 320 kbps


Contrapunctus I
http://www.mediafire.com/file/2v1yfdm4volo5jr/Contrapunctus%20I.mp3


Contrapunctus III
http://www.mediafire.com/file/7fe73zz8poye7hc/Contrapunctus%20III.mp3


Contrapunctus VII
http://www.mediafire.com/file/9zzdgy63y6lge7c/Contrapunctus%20VII.mp3


Contrapunctus Inversus a 4, Inversus
http://www.mediafire.com/file/cusyk5ulc0tq47x/Contrapunctus%20inv.%20a%204%2C%20inversus.mp3


Fuga a 3 soggetti (conclusion by Erich Bergel)
http://www.mediafire.com/file/3h53smi57nl3h65/Fuga%20a%203%20soggetti.mp3

Thanks for this!

I found the 2-CD set with this wonderful cover:

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5998309300110.jpg)

I supposse it reflects the mental image of many of our about the AoF.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Toccata&Fugue on March 13, 2011, 08:52:37 AM
If you want to hear the ultimate realization of the final fugue, listen to Busoni's 30-minute Fantasia Contrapuntistica--it's his attempt to complete the piece!  :) (I suggest Jon Ogdon's on the Altarus label.)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 13, 2011, 09:18:06 AM
I don't want to put you on the spot -- but please, give me an example of a performance of a fugue played on organ or harpsichord or piano which is revelatory in the sense you mean -- I'm having a hard time getting what you're driving at. On the one hand there's internal variety.  On the other hand it's best not to try to listen analytically, but rather enjoy the musical expression. And on the third hand orchestral versions are may actually distract the listener from appreciating this internal variety (?) because of the colour, the sensuality, they bring.

The AoF is without doubt concieved for harpsichord or organ (manual only) enabling all the parts to sound in perfect equilibrium. This ideal is realised in the recording Gerd Zacher made (Aeolus 1999) on the restored Balthasar König-organ (1714) der Pfarrkirche St.Leodegar, Niederehe. The organ contains a manual section of nine stops and a pedal section of three stops. He only uses the manual for this recording. In his interpretation one can concentrate upon the internal variety or upon the musical expression.  If one does not know the work so well it is tempting to concentrate upon the internal variety (the counterpoint which often is so dense as to become confusing) in order not to loose the orientation, but as one gets to know the work better it may be relevatory deliberately to ignore the counterpoint and just listen to the rich musical expression. Zacher´s version is indeed contemplative and expressive. This IMO concerning these issues (counterpoint and expression) ideal interpretation permits both points of view in equal mesure, and ideally even both ways of listening at the same time, experiencing the balanced synthesis of spirit and emotion, which this work reflects more than any other of Bach´s (or anyone else´s) works, and which I consider the essential meaning of the work. It takes time to reach this way of listening, compare the way Marc, Velimir and I described our initial problems about understanding the work at all. Hope you understand. It is indeed difficult to explain things like these in a foreign language.

Preferring a rendering with all the parts in equilibrium, I think chamber and orchestral versions often disturb the balance of the work, the parts being scored in different colours, and the playing often with enhanced focus on the thematic statements, the purpose of which seems to be some wish for expression rather than to bring contrapunctal clarity to the playing. I only mention this as some kind of tendency. There are exceptions - the recording by Stuttgart CO / Münchinger being one such exception, because of the homogeneous sound of the very disciplined Stuttgart strings, and because of Münchinger´s balanced vision of the work. 

Gerd Zacher The Art of Fugue

Contrapunctus I
http://www.mediafire.com/file/m6ccs8d5woib38j/01%20-%20Contrapunctus%20I%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3

Contrapunctus III
http://www.mediafire.com/file/yfo0mtmdsoo7uj7/03%20-%20Contrapunctus%20III%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3

Contrapunctus VII
http://www.mediafire.com/file/xx8ngbb2fwdqht9/07%20-%20Contrapunctus%20VII%20%28A%204%20Per%20Augmentationem%20Et%20Diminutionem%29%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3


It might seem relevant to choose Walcha´s recording for my purpose, but as he uses the pedal almost throughout, he does not really illustrate my argument.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 13, 2011, 09:38:01 AM


(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5998309300110.jpg)

I supposse it reflects the mental image of many of our about the AoF.

At least it is more telling than the cover of the original  issue, which depicts some blurred landscape in strange brown nuances (reminds me of Lars von Trier´s movies).
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 13, 2011, 12:27:17 PM
Thanks for everything Aulos. I've just downloaded the files and I'm looking forward to hearing them.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 13, 2011, 12:48:04 PM
Thanks for everything Aulos. I've just downloaded the files and I'm looking forward to hearing them.

Same here!

Good night everybody.
Everybody everywhere .... good night.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 14, 2011, 01:01:28 PM
The AoF is without doubt concieved for harpsichord or organ (manual only) enabling all the parts to sound in perfect equilibrium. This ideal is realised in the recording Gerd Zacher made (Aeolus 1999) on the restored Balthasar König-organ (1714) der Pfarrkirche St.Leodegar, Niederehe. The organ contains a manual section of nine stops and a pedal section of three stops. He only uses the manual for this recording. In his interpretation one can concentrate upon the internal variety or upon the musical expression.  If one does not know the work so well it is tempting to concentrate upon the internal variety (the counterpoint which often is so dense as to become confusing) in order not to loose the orientation, but as one gets to know the work better it may be relevatory deliberately to ignore the counterpoint and just listen to the rich musical expression. Zacher´s version is indeed contemplative and expressive. This IMO concerning these issues (counterpoint and expression) ideal interpretation permits both points of view in equal mesure, and ideally even both ways of listening at the same time, experiencing the balanced synthesis of spirit and emotion, which this work reflects more than any other of Bach´s (or anyone else´s) works, and which I consider the essential meaning of the work. It takes time to reach this way of listening, compare the way Marc, Velimir and I described our initial problems about understanding the work at all. Hope you understand. It is indeed difficult to explain things like these in a foreign language.

Preferring a rendering with all the parts in equilibrium, I think chamber and orchestral versions often disturb the balance of the work, the parts being scored in different colours, and the playing often with enhanced focus on the thematic statements, the purpose of which seems to be some wish for expression rather than to bring contrapunctal clarity to the playing. I only mention this as some kind of tendency. There are exceptions - the recording by Stuttgart CO / Münchinger being one such exception, because of the homogeneous sound of the very disciplined Stuttgart strings, and because of Münchinger´s balanced vision of the work. 

Gerd Zacher The Art of Fugue

Contrapunctus I
http://www.mediafire.com/file/m6ccs8d5woib38j/01%20-%20Contrapunctus%20I%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3

Contrapunctus III
http://www.mediafire.com/file/yfo0mtmdsoo7uj7/03%20-%20Contrapunctus%20III%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3

Contrapunctus VII
http://www.mediafire.com/file/xx8ngbb2fwdqht9/07%20-%20Contrapunctus%20VII%20%28A%204%20Per%20Augmentationem%20Et%20Diminutionem%29%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3


It might seem relevant to choose Walcha´s recording for my purpose, but as he uses the pedal almost throughout, he does not really illustrate my argument.

I listened to Contrapunctus 7. It is just as you say.

The organ performance I know best is Tachezi's. He is helpful because he uses colours to highlight themes coming and going. And Zacher doesn't do that. And as you say, the counterpoint is confusing -- hard to follow without some help from the performer.

So I'm left with the expression. But what do you mean -- expression? On the emotional, affective, level, Zacher's Cpt 7 is a sort of noble, powerful, somewhat contemplative field of moving sounds. That's nice.

I guess what I'm scared of is that they will all be just that. 19 noble powerful, somewhat contemplative fields of moving sounds!

I've ordered the CD to find out.

This is a new way of listening to AofF for me -- great! You have really made me rethink things.

And I can imagine how hard it must have been to write what you did in a foreign language  (I often try to write in French -- I'm an anglophone). You did it perfectly though -- I wish my French were as good as your English.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: purephase on March 14, 2011, 05:08:43 PM
IMO the logical sequence is

Contrapunctus I - XI
Four-part mirror fugue + inversion
Three-part mirror fugue + inversion
Canon I - IV
Incomplete Fugue á 4

You may even consider the Canons a kind of appendix (like the Duets in Clavierübung III).

But maybe any supposed sequence only serves editoral purposes, since it is uncertain whether the work was meant to be performed in one sitting or not.

Bach probably beforehand completed the unfinished Fugue á 4 in his head, but never managed to write it down.

It is also possible that more complex Contrapuncti was intended to follow.
I quite liked Indra Hughes' theory (http://www.indrahughes.com/indra_hughes_thesis.htm) that Bach left the Fugue á 4 unfinished as a kind of musical riddle for the student or performer to resolve.  It's hard to fully buy into his view simply because it involves a good deal of numerological speculation, but I do think he makes some very strong criticisms of the idea that a page of the manuscript went missing or that Bach died in the middle of writing the work.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Philoctetes on March 14, 2011, 10:35:06 PM
The AoF is without doubt concieved for harpsichord or organ (manual only) enabling all the parts to sound in perfect equilibrium. This ideal is realised in the recording Gerd Zacher made (Aeolus 1999) on the restored Balthasar König-organ (1714) der Pfarrkirche St.Leodegar, Niederehe. The organ contains a manual section of nine stops and a pedal section of three stops. He only uses the manual for this recording. In his interpretation one can concentrate upon the internal variety or upon the musical expression.  If one does not know the work so well it is tempting to concentrate upon the internal variety (the counterpoint which often is so dense as to become confusing) in order not to loose the orientation, but as one gets to know the work better it may be relevatory deliberately to ignore the counterpoint and just listen to the rich musical expression. Zacher´s version is indeed contemplative and expressive. This IMO concerning these issues (counterpoint and expression) ideal interpretation permits both points of view in equal mesure, and ideally even both ways of listening at the same time, experiencing the balanced synthesis of spirit and emotion, which this work reflects more than any other of Bach´s (or anyone else´s) works, and which I consider the essential meaning of the work. It takes time to reach this way of listening, compare the way Marc, Velimir and I described our initial problems about understanding the work at all. Hope you understand. It is indeed difficult to explain things like these in a foreign language.

Preferring a rendering with all the parts in equilibrium, I think chamber and orchestral versions often disturb the balance of the work, the parts being scored in different colours, and the playing often with enhanced focus on the thematic statements, the purpose of which seems to be some wish for expression rather than to bring contrapunctal clarity to the playing. I only mention this as some kind of tendency. There are exceptions - the recording by Stuttgart CO / Münchinger being one such exception, because of the homogeneous sound of the very disciplined Stuttgart strings, and because of Münchinger´s balanced vision of the work. 

Gerd Zacher The Art of Fugue

Contrapunctus I
http://www.mediafire.com/file/m6ccs8d5woib38j/01%20-%20Contrapunctus%20I%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3

Contrapunctus III
http://www.mediafire.com/file/yfo0mtmdsoo7uj7/03%20-%20Contrapunctus%20III%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3

Contrapunctus VII
http://www.mediafire.com/file/xx8ngbb2fwdqht9/07%20-%20Contrapunctus%20VII%20%28A%204%20Per%20Augmentationem%20Et%20Diminutionem%29%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3


It might seem relevant to choose Walcha´s recording for my purpose, but as he uses the pedal almost throughout, he does not really illustrate my argument.

Thanks that's fantastic.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 15, 2011, 02:35:33 PM
So I'm left with the expression. But what do you mean -- expression? On the emotional, affective, level..

Yes, on the affective level. The expression of the affect, which the performer thinks the music represents
The affect expressed by the AoF is in my opinion confidence, sometimes in the shape of silent consolation, sometimes in the shape of jubilant conviction, and often something in between. The conviction that a guiding principle (in Bach´s world the will of God) permeates the confusing diversity of our world. In a similar way as the main subject of the AoF permeates the diversity of the entire work as a kind of guiding principle.




Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 15, 2011, 02:53:52 PM
I quite liked Indra Hughes' theory (http://www.indrahughes.com/indra_hughes_thesis.htm) that Bach left the Fugue á 4 unfinished as a kind of musical riddle for the student or performer to resolve.  It's hard to fully buy into his view simply because it involves a good deal of numerological speculation, but I do think he makes some very strong criticisms of the idea that a page of the manuscript went missing or that Bach died in the middle of writing the work.

One has to take into consideration, that the unfinished fugue maybe wasn´t intended to become a part of the AoF. Bach worked quite a lot with counterpoint in these days and he might have had plans for other kinds of works. However it is thought provoking that the main subject of the AoF theoretically fits into the unfinished fugue, and that Bach also used the Bach-theme in an elaborated variant already in Contrapunctus VIII and XI.

It is also possible that the idea of how the piece was to end (considering the complexity of the task) was something which had not yet matured fully in his mind. He also left other difficult tasks unfinished, compare with the rather complex incomplete fugue for harpsichord BWV 906 c-minor.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 15, 2011, 03:20:33 PM
While Gerd Zacher in his recording plays the Contrapuncti I - XI in sequence and adds the incomplete fugue as an appendix, but omits the four Canons and the mirror fugues, Rudolf Scheidegger omits the mirror fugues and the incomplete fugue, but includes Contrapuncti I - XI and the four Canons. He spreads the Canons in between the Contrapuncti like intermezzi and spoils the effect of the growing tension in Cpt. I - XI when played in sequence. But his playing is still expressive with the parts in perfect balance.

Rudolf Scheidegger playing the Martin Pflüger organ (1994) in St. Corneli in Tosters near Feldkirch, Austria.

Contrapunctus I
http://www.mediafire.com/file/748bahuo5sj3z73/cpt1.mp3

Contrapunctus III
http://www.mediafire.com/file/5w4f4pphqof5p0j/cpt3.mp3

Contrapunctus VII
http://www.mediafire.com/file/g4rovafrcixrhrt/cpt11.mp3


Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 20, 2011, 08:32:42 AM
I've lived with the Zacher A of F for quite a few days now and I'm clear that I was wrong to be worried about expressive variety. This is a great recording in a style completely new to me which has made me see this work in a completely new light. Cpt 6 is haunting me particularly powerfully at the moment. Also the way the thing climaxes towards the end -- cpt 11 I think -- is quite astonishing.

What is this like?





As Prem... err, Aulos said: variety in abundance! :)

I just saw that -- I didn't know I was speaking to you! Not the first time you've helped me  :)

Another good one, IMO, is played by Alessio Corti (organ again), part of his integral. Unfortunately, this one is not easy to get.
But here's a link to a live performance:

http://avaxhome.ws/music/classical/bach_kunst_der_fuge.html

For the harpsichord, I would recommand Christian Rieger:



I'll try Conti and Rieger soon -- thanks for the pointers. I've never heard it on harpsichord, so I'm particularly looking forward to hearing Rieger. I have Rogg's CD , though I haven't played it for years: I remember being very impressed by the colourfulness and the sense of forward motion (even though it's slower than Tachezi's I think)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 20, 2011, 01:57:56 PM
I've lived with the Zacher A of F for quite a few days now and I'm clear that I was wrong to be worried about expressive variety. This is a great recording in a style completely new to me which has made me see this work in a completely new light. Cpt 6 is haunting me particularly powerfully at the moment. Also the way the thing climaxes towards the end -- cpt 11 I think -- is quite astonishing.

Happy to see this.

What is this like?


I have not heard it. It belongs so far I can understand to that kind of arrangements I usually avoid.

I'll try Conti and Rieger soon -- thanks for the pointers. I've never heard it on harpsichord, so I'm particularly looking forward to hearing Rieger. I have Rogg's CD , though I haven't played it for years: I remember being very impressed by the colourfulness and the sense of forward motion (even though it's slower than Tachezi's I think)

For variety I would prefer Rieger. You describe Rogg´s interpretation very well. Corti´s is much in the same vein, actually he is a pupil of Rogg.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 20, 2011, 08:50:14 PM
[....]
I'll try Conti and Rieger soon -- thanks for the pointers. I've never heard it on harpsichord, so I'm particularly looking forward to hearing Rieger. I have Rogg's CD , though I haven't played it for years: I remember being very impressed by the colourfulness and the sense of forward motion (even though it's slower than Tachezi's I think)

[....]
For variety I would prefer Rieger. You describe Rogg´s interpretation very well. Corti´s is much in the same vein, actually he is a pupil of Rogg.

Since a couple of days I've also grown attached to Leonhardt (& Van Asperen) on harpsichord. There's no Fuga à 3 soggetti in this one, though.
For a more chamber-like organ version, Bernard Foccroulle comes to mind. But yes, Tachezi is quite good, too!
And for the piano, I would suggest Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Deutsche Grammophon), with good mastering of the counterpoint and some very powerful climaxes. I must admit though that I do not own other paino versions to compare with.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 21, 2011, 12:31:36 AM
Since a couple of days I've also grown attached to Leonhardt (& Van Asperen) on harpsichord. There's no Fuga à 3 soggetti in this one, though.
Leonhardts second version has always been my favorite harpsichord version. But the choice  above seemed to be between Rieger and Corti, and my remark about variety was adressed to Rieger versus Corti, since Mandryka already knows Rogg´s version.

Quote from: Marc
For a more chamber-like organ version, Bernard Foccroulle comes to mind. But yes, Tachezi is quite good, too!
And for the piano, I would suggest Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Deutsche Grammophon), with good mastering of the counterpoint and some very powerful climaxes. I must admit though that I do not own other paino versions to compare with.

Aimard´s version gets rather hectic and "hammering" during the course of the work, as the counterpoint gets more dense. I do not think his way suits the work. Your countryman Ivo Janssen is much to prefer to Aimard. But most (on the piano) I prefer Hans Petermandl (Gramola) and Walter Riemer (ORF). Both are noble and balanced accounts.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 21, 2011, 11:38:32 AM
[....]
Aimard´s version gets rather hectic and "hammering" during the course of the work, as the counterpoint gets more dense. I do not think his way suits the work. Your countryman Ivo Janssen is much to prefer to Aimard. But most (on the piano) I prefer Hans Petermandl (Gramola) and Walter Riemer (ORF). Both are noble and balanced accounts.

Yes, I agree that listening to Aimard with headpones on can be a violent expierence.
But if you're in the mood of letting it all out his interpretation can be helpful. ;)

You know: Bach's music can get you anywhere!

I might consider buying (or borrowing) another piano version, but, as you know, Bach on the piano is not entirely my Bach. Therefore it's more likely I'll hunt for other harpsichord or organ versions in the future.

Btw: it's Bach's 326th birthday today!
For that reason I've changed my listening habits tonight, to have a go at .... :P
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 21, 2011, 12:34:29 PM
Yes, I agree that listening to Aimard with headpones on can be a violent expierence.
But if you're in the mood of letting it all out his interpretation can be helpful. ;)

Yes, but if I am interpreting you correctly, I do not listen to Bach, when I am in that mood.
It must be added, that I listen much to Bach, so you may conclude, that I am not often in that mood.

Quote from: Marc
I might consider buying (or borrowing) another piano version, but, as you know, Bach on the piano is not entirely my Bach. Therefore it's more likely I'll hunt for other harpsichord or organ versions in the future.

Point taken.  :)   As they say : I understand where you are coming from.

Quote from: Marc
Btw: it's Bach's 326th birthday today!
For that reason I've changed my listening habits tonight, to have a go at .... :P

Yes, congratulations to him. Unfortunately I am ill at the moment, suffering acute bronchitis (I must add that I never smoke) and rather much prostration, so I am "indisposed" these days. :(
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 21, 2011, 12:43:42 PM

 Unfortunately I am ill at the moment, suffering acute bronchitis (I must add that I never smoke) and rather much prostration, so I am "indisposed" these days. :(

That's very nasty. I hope you get better soon.

If you're better on the 31st you can always celebrate his birthday new calendar style!
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 21, 2011, 01:11:36 PM
Yes, congratulations to him. Unfortunately I am ill at the moment, suffering acute bronchitis (I must add that I never smoke) and rather much prostration, so I am "indisposed" these days. :(

Hey Premo.... errr Aulos: I wish you a quick recovery!
Thanks to Mandryka you've got something to look forward to! ;)

Later!
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 21, 2011, 01:12:32 PM
That's very nasty. I hope you get better soon.

Thanks  :)

Quote from: Mandryka
If you're better on the 31st you can always celebrate his birthday new calendar style!

I expect to be. Bach is the composer I celebrate whenever I can.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 21, 2011, 01:16:23 PM
Hey Premo.... errr Aulos: I wish you a quick recovery!

Thanks to you too. My actual state is the reason why I have not listened to you-know-what more than once yet,
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on March 22, 2011, 06:35:39 AM
Unfortunately I am ill at the moment, suffering acute bronchitis (I must add that I never smoke) and rather much prostration, so I am "indisposed" these days. :(

I'm sorry to listen that, dear Premont. Definitely this was a hard winter for you. I hope you will be totally recovered very soon.  :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 22, 2011, 07:22:31 AM
I'm sorry to listen that, dear Premont. Definitely this was a hard winter for you. I hope you will be totally recovered very soon.  :)

Aulos is Premont, had no idea. 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: marvinbrown on March 22, 2011, 08:08:01 AM

  For the past couple of days I have been immersed in this recorinding:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Vlm-9ipXL._SS500_.jpg)

  I find Bach's Art of Fugue one of the most difficult compositions in the classical music repertoire to absorb.  I try hard to identify the principal theme, then the counterpoint theme then the marriage of the two.  I have had a lot of success over the years with this technique but every once in a while I lose the train of thought and I find myslef having to start all over again. 

  The most elusive are : Contrapunctus 13 a 3 voix; rectus and Contrpunctus 13 a 3 voix; inversus. 

  Anyone here face similar difficultues with this work?  I would be interested in how you approach this work.

  marvin
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: marvinbrown on March 23, 2011, 08:05:54 AM
  Ok I tried this on another thread (the Art of Fugue in the Great Recordings Section of GMG) with limited success.  Perhaps I can find a larger audience here??  Well it is worth a shot so here goes:

 
  For the past couple of days I have been immersed in this recorinding:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Vlm-9ipXL._SS500_.jpg)

  I find Bach's Art of Fugue one of the most difficult compositions in the classical music repertoire to absorb.  I try hard to identify the principal theme, then the counterpoint theme then the marriage of the two.  I have had a lot of success over the years with this technique but every once in a while I lose the train of thought and I find myslef having to start all over again. 

  The most elusive are : Contrapunctus 13 a 3 voix; rectus and Contrpunctus 13 a 3 voix; inversus. 

  Anyone here face similar difficultues with this work?  I would be interested in how you approach this work.


  marvin
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: DavidRoss on March 23, 2011, 08:11:04 AM
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 23, 2011, 08:18:29 AM
Are you just listening, or do you have a score in front of you?  If you are familiar with musical notation, following along in the score makes a huge difference with contrapuntal works.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: marvinbrown on March 23, 2011, 10:52:17 AM
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

  Ok but you have not answered my question: How have you handled this work?  Can you honestly say that you can identify the various themes in each contrapunctus and Bach's skill in weaving them togther? Or do you find that your concentration "slips" every now and then?

  @ Scarpia: I can not read scores well unfortunately  :(.

  marvin
 


 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 23, 2011, 10:58:37 AM
@ Scarpia: I can not read scores well unfortunately  :(.

Well, me neither.  Reading a score means looking at it and hearing how it sounds in your head.  But if you can read musical notation at all, following along as you listen can still help, since you can see which voice is which, and can pick up on when a motif or theme is introduced, even if it is concealed in a thick texture.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 23, 2011, 12:06:37 PM
  For the past couple of days I have been immersed in this recorinding:

 

Have you tried other recordings? For this work in particular, a different range of approaches, utilizing the range of colors ensembles of various types can provide, might be a winning approach, by keeping your ears refreshed through timbral variety. There's a whole bunch of different scorings of this thing (orchestra, string orchestra, brass quintet, saxophone quartet, string quartet, etc). Personally I would not want to listen to such a concentrated piece strictly on a harpsichord.

Also, don't listen to it straight through, the way you would to a symphony or sonata. Break your listening into pieces to make concentration easier.

That said, I don't consider that I've cracked the secrets of this work myself. But I have made some progress.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bulldog on March 23, 2011, 12:07:26 PM
I find Bach's Art of Fugue one of the most difficult compositions in the classical music repertoire to absorb.  I try hard to identify the principal theme, then the counterpoint theme then the marriage of the two.  I have had a lot of success over the years with this technique but every once in a while I lose the train of thought and I find myslef having to start all over again. 

The most elusive are : Contrapunctus 13 a 3 voix; rectus and Contrpunctus 13 a 3 voix; inversus. 

Anyone here face similar difficultues with this work?  I would be interested in how you approach this work.


marvin

I just listen and enjoy the work, not forcing any listening strategy.  Once that's done, it's easy to identify the myriad of themes.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 24, 2011, 02:07:17 AM
[....]
  I find Bach's Art of Fugue one of the most difficult compositions in the classical music repertoire to absorb.  I try hard to identify the principal theme, then the counterpoint theme then the marriage of the two.  I have had a lot of success over the years with this technique but every once in a while I lose the train of thought and I find myslef having to start all over again. 

  The most elusive are : Contrapunctus 13 a 3 voix; rectus and Contrpunctus 13 a 3 voix; inversus. 

  Anyone here face similar difficultues with this work?  I would be interested in how you approach this work.

Maybe you should give up the absorbing bit?

Your difficulties are well-known among other listeners, as some earlier comments in this thread proved. Personally, I gave up this 'trying to understand' part (it's not my 'profession' anyway) and just enjoyed the composition as plain music.
Now I listen to all those movements as beautiful Variations in a skilled contrapuntal manner and I can't get enough of them! :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 24, 2011, 03:12:37 AM
  I find Bach's Art of Fugue one of the most difficult compositions in the classical music repertoire to absorb.  I try hard to identify the principal theme, then the counterpoint theme then the marriage of the two.  I have had a lot of success over the years with this technique but every once in a while I lose the train of thought and I find myslef having to start all over again. 

  The most elusive are : Contrapunctus 13 a 3 voix; rectus and Contrpunctus 13 a 3 voix; inversus. 

  Anyone here face similar difficultues with this work?  I would be interested in how you approach this work.

  marvin
Doing this along with the music in hand would make it much easier I would think. This piece was actually the first Bach in my collection (the one with the Canadian Brass) and it is not so hard if you just sit back and enjoy it. As you listen to it, you'll get better at picking out all the details. But the best way is with a score in hand - you would save time and get more out of it I would think. If you don't read music, you could probably learn the basics fairly quickly and this would help with all future pieces.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Ten thumbs on March 24, 2011, 02:56:54 PM
I find the main difficulty with this work is the lack of an ending. If Bach had been able to complete it we would know what the music was driving towards and that is always a great help in understanding  a musical process.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 24, 2011, 03:18:16 PM
I find the main difficulty with this work is the lack of an ending. If Bach had been able to complete it we would know what the music was driving towards and that is always a great help in understanding  a musical process.

There is a lot of mythology about this piece, but sensible people claim there is no strong reason to believe it is unfinished.  IIRC, the "Fuga a 3 Soggetti" does not contain the Kunst der Fuge theme and may not have been intended as part of the work.  In any case, the manuscript for the Fuga a 3 Soggetti was clearly written in Bach's hand before his vision deteriorated, which means he likely hadn't worked on it for two years before he died.  Die Kunst der Fuge was a collection of compositions on one theme that wasn't necessarily driving towards anything.

In any case, I find it a wonderful piece, but I don't feel the need to listen to it in any particular order to appreciate it.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Chaszz on March 25, 2011, 06:19:07 PM
Bach is my favorite composer, but I've never loved the Art of Fugue. Have listened to it repeatedly in several recommended versions, but never returned to it the next day with any real enthusiasm, as opposed to many of his other works which have grabbed hold of me and not let me go for days or weeks on end. I would respectfully and nervously hazard the opinion that it is academic, dry and not really musically inspired. I do not think one should have to follow the score to appreciate a work, not when there are so many works in the repertory by Bach and other greats that make you almost fall on your knees with joy and wonder without a thought of looking at the score.

I also think that perhaps there is an Emperor's New Clothes effect at work. Here is a serious contender for greatest composer in history perhaps unintentionally producing a clunker. There is an old expression for this: Homer nods.* Nobody can believe it's not so good, so they keep trying new instrumentations, new interpretative ideas, etc. Perhaps there is not another layer under the skin of this particular onion. The composer certainly doesn't really need another jewel in his heavily-jeweled crown.

I am much more attached to the Musical Offering, written during the same late period of his life, which to me has transcendent beauty and inspiration throughout.

All right, gentlemen, take aim and fire... 

* I also hazard the opinion that some of the many arias in the cantatas are formulaic and not really inspired.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 25, 2011, 07:39:36 PM
I also think that perhaps there is an Emperor's New Clothes effect at work. Here is a serious contender for greatest composer in history perhaps unintentionally producing a clunker. There is an old expression for this: Homer nods.* Nobody can believe it's not so good, so they keep trying new instrumentations, new interpretative ideas, etc. Perhaps there is not another layer under the skin of this particular onion. The composer certainly doesn't really need another jewel in his heavily-jeweled crown.

[...]

All right, gentlemen, take aim and fire...

You don't like it, so those who like it are deceiving themselves?   That doesn't strike you as a tad narcissistic?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Philoctetes on March 25, 2011, 07:42:48 PM
I can't add much, but this is my favorite version:

http://www.youtube.com/v/3jYEHzeNPs8
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Philoctetes on March 25, 2011, 07:52:19 PM
Have you tried other recordings?

For me, at least, this helped out a lot.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Chaszz on March 26, 2011, 06:52:17 AM
You don't like it, so those who like it are deceiving themselves?   That doesn't strike you as a tad narcissistic?

This is I believe the 2nd thread recently in which you have tried to put words in my mouth that are different from what I said. I nowhere said anyone was deceiving himself. I hedged my opinions about with modifiers like "perhaps," "respectfully," "nervously," "hazard the opinion".  And since I knew others would differ with me, I invited them to fire back at me.

That's all they are, opinions. I don't pretend to speak for other peoples' feelings and opinions.

You, on the other hand, do.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 26, 2011, 07:04:06 AM
This is I believe the 2nd thread recently in which you have tried to put words in my mouth that are different from what I said. I nowhere said anyone was deceiving himself. I hedged my opinions about with modifiers like "perhaps," "respectfully," "nervously," "hazard the opinion".  And since I knew others would differ with me, I invited them to fire back at me.

That's all they are, opinions. I don't pretend to speak for other peoples' feelings and opinions.

You, on the other hand, do.

Sorry, I did not intend to "put words in your mouth."  You said it was a case of the "Emperor's New Clothes."  In that story people pretend to like the Emperor's clothes because they think that they will be accused of being fools if they admit the obvious fact that the Emperor is not wearing clothes.   The analogy (it seemed obvious to me) is that people pretend to like the Art of the Fugue because they fear being called fools if they admit the obvious fact that it stinks.  Those are the words I supposedly "put in your mouth," that people pretend to enjoy that Art of the Fugue because of social pressure.  Is there another interpretation of your reference to this story?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Que on March 26, 2011, 07:27:03 AM
  Ok I tried this on another thread (the Art of Fugue in the Great Recordings Section of GMG) with limited success.  Perhaps I can find a larger audience here??  Well it is worth a shot so here goes:

For the past couple of days I have been immersed in this recording:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Vlm-9ipXL._SS500_.jpg)

  I find Bach's Art of Fugue one of the most difficult compositions in the classical music repertoire to absorb.  I try hard to identify the principal theme, then the counterpoint theme then the marriage of the two.  I have had a lot of success over the years with this technique but every once in a while I lose the train of thought and I find myself having to start all over again. 

  The most elusive are : Contrapunctus 13 a 3 voix; rectus and Contrpunctus 13 a 3 voix; inversus. 

  Anyone here face similar difficultues with this work?  I would be interested in how you approach this work.


  marvin

True, Art of the Fugue is not an easily accessable work. BTW Moroney's recording is IMO not the best guide into the work - it did not work for me either... ::) Same goes for the other, old-style and rather dogmatic approaches by Leonhardt and Gilbert. (Don and Premont are not going to like this ::) ;))

Try Robert Hill's more modern and more free approach.

Q
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 26, 2011, 07:39:28 AM
True, Art of the Fugue is not an easily accessable work. BTW Moroney's recording is IMO not the best guide into the work - it did not work for me either... ::) Same goes for the other, old-style and rather dogmatic approaches by Leonhardt and Gilbert. (Don and Premont are not going to like this ::) ;))

Well spotted, Que.

Moroney is didactic and understated as to expression. He is a good guide as to the counterpoint of the work.

Leonhardt is equally didactic, but he also interprets the work as the expresive music it is.

Gilbert is about transparency and beauty, also understated as to expression. Moreover he plays the manuscript version, omitting much of the final version.

On my own part I did not realise the great expressive potential of this work until I had heard the organ version of Helmut Walcha. This was the turning point for me. If listeners have problems with absorbing this work, I think they should concentrate on the expression and forget everything about counterpoint. It does not matter the least if one was not aware of this or that thematic statement in abbreviated note values in the tenor part or whatsoever. It is about listening and absorbing the expression.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Que on March 26, 2011, 07:44:16 AM
It is about listening and absorbing the expression.

And still we agree in the end.  :)

Q
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 26, 2011, 07:45:10 AM
Don't wanna ruin this thread, and obviously Marvin's questions are valid, but if this topic is really going to end in try this or that recording, then I don't see any reason why these posts shouldn't be merged with the previous thread.

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1044.0.html

Oh, btw, I do not consider BWV 1080 as the Emperor's new clothes.
Though being a fool, and certainly not recognizing each and every element of mr. Bach's genius, I just learned to listen to it and thoroughly enjoy it!

For the rest, as has been suggested before: try to read the score, if possible. Or begin with learning to read musical notation. I would not be surprised if this really helps in this particular case, especially with the aid of some articles and books that have been written about the piece.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on March 26, 2011, 07:59:04 AM
Contrapunctus IX/ Contrapunctus I-VIII/ Contrapunctus XIIa (conclusion), from The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin:

http://www.wgbh.org/programs/-803/episodes/-25390

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41nxC7OZq5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 26, 2011, 08:14:54 AM
Contrapunctus IX/ Contrapunctus I-VIII/ Contrapunctus XIIa (conclusion), from The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin:

http://www.wgbh.org/programs/-803/episodes/-25390
[....]

Nice link! :)

Had this Berliner KdF issue in me hands more than once during the last month or so, and decided not to buy it for the moment ... but it will be somewhere in the back on my head, I'm sure.

Next week, I hope, two 'new' Kdf's will arrive at da house: Gerd Zacher and Louis Thiry, the latter on the Silbermann/Kern organ of the Strasbourgh cathedral.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 26, 2011, 08:15:34 AM
Don't wanna ruin this thread, and obviously Marvin's questions are valid, but if this topic is really going to end in try this or that recording, then I don't see any reason why these posts shouldn't be merged with the previous thread.

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1044.0.html

I never saw the point of two threads, and if Que merges them, I shall not complain.

Quote from: Marc
For the rest, as has been suggested before: try to read the score, if possible. Or begin with learning to read musical notation. I would not be surprised if this really helps in this particular case, especially with the aid of some articles and books that have been written about the piece.

IMO - as I have written elsewhere - a beginner without experience in score reading and musical forms should rather approach the AoF with open ears and mind, and forget about theory. Love arises from repeated listening and ability to recognize the music as such. This is true of the AoF as well as all other music.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 26, 2011, 08:17:35 AM
Oh, I also found a free pdf-file of the score:

http://www.free-scores.com/download-sheet-music.php?pdf=151

This text was added:
For an unknown reason, the ZIP file will be corrupted if you are using Internet Explorer(IE). The file is working properly if you use Chrome, Firefox or Safari browser. The file will be converted in a uncompressed version as soon as possible!

Using IE myself, I downloaded and unzipped it nevertheless without any problems!
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 26, 2011, 08:23:33 AM
I never saw the point of two threads, and if Que merges them, I shall not complain.

IMO - as I have written elsewhere - a beginner without experience in score reading and musical forms should rather approach the AoF with open ears and mind, and forget about theory. Love arises from repeated listening and ability to recognize the music as such. This is true of the AoF as well as all other music.

Agreed. But in fact that was already my advice in the original thread, which apparently did not respond to Marvin's wishes. That's why I offered him a more challenging choice .... the same choice that was already offered by other members btw.

To make things more complicated, I just posted a link to the score in the original thread. ;D

Que, let's merge and mingle! :-*
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 26, 2011, 08:34:43 AM

Louis Thiry, the latter on the Silbermann/Kern organ of the Strasbourgh cathedral.

No, not the cathedral, but léglise de Saint-Thomas de Strassbourg, which is not the cathedral
The cathedral is called léglise de Notre Dame

see link:

http://www.google.dk/#hl=da&source=hp&biw=976&bih=757&q=l%C3%A9glise+de+saint+thomas+strassbourg&btnG=Google-s%C3%B8gning&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=l%C3%A9glise+de+saint+thomas+strassbourg&rlz=1R2GGLL_da&fp=758f715784bed336
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 26, 2011, 08:43:19 AM
IMO - as I have written elsewhere - a beginner without experience in score reading and musical forms should rather approach the AoF with open ears and mind, and forget about theory. Love arises from repeated listening and ability to recognize the music as such. This is true of the AoF as well as all other music.

I was merely relaying my own experience, that when listening to contrapuntal music on an instrument like a harpsichord, which does not provide explicit cues that indicate which is voice number 1, voice number 2, voice number 3, voice number 4, having the score in front of me can give that extra bit of information to recognize which voice is which, etc.   I got into this habit because my first recording of the piece (on organ) was an LP edition which came with a score (Tachezi on Telefunken).  I found it rewarding despite the fact that I do not have the training to properly read or analyze a score. 

Following the score is not at all inconsistent, in my experience, with having "open ears and mind."  An refreshing alternative, which has been mentioned, is to listen to a performance in which the voices are played by individual melody instruments, which can make the identity of the voices self-evident.

 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 26, 2011, 08:54:39 AM
No, not the cathedral, but léglise de Saint-Thomas de Strassbourg, which is not the cathedral

see link:

http://www.google.dk/#hl=da&source=hp&biw=976&bih=757&q=l%C3%A9glise+de+saint+thomas+strassbourg&btnG=Google-s%C3%B8gning&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=l%C3%A9glise+de+saint+thomas+strassbourg&rlz=1R2GGLL_da&fp=758f715784bed336

Stimmt.

Not this one:

(http://i53.tinypic.com/n6ck20.jpg)

(Andreas Silbermann, well, errr, inspired by)

but this one:

(http://i55.tinypic.com/zwff2a.jpg)

(Johann Andreas Silbermann)

In both cases, Alfred Kern was responsible for the (re)building respectively restoration.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 26, 2011, 09:02:15 AM
I was merely relaying my own experience, that when listening to contrapuntal music on an instrument like a harpsichord, which does not provide explicit cues that indicate which is voice number 1, voice number 2, voice number 3, voice number 4, having the score in front of me can give that extra bit of information to recognize which voice is which, etc.   I got into this habit because my first recording of the piece (on organ) was an LP edition which came with a score (Tachezi on Telefunken).  I found it rewarding despite the fact that I do not have the training to properly read or analyze a score.


And I was referring to my own experience, which is that score reading supports the formal analysis of the work, but this attitude did initially prevent me from taking in the expressive qualities of the music. Only later when I had listened to the work a lot of times without any thought of the score, and had experienced the expressive qualities to the full, did I succed in listening to it with my brain and my emotional part at the same time, so to say to listen with both halves of the brain simultaneously.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 26, 2011, 09:04:25 AM
Que, let's merge and mingle! :-*

Yes please Que, if you would be so kind  :-*
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scarpia on March 26, 2011, 09:06:38 AM
And I was referring to my own experience, which is that score reading supports the formal analysis of the work, but this attitude did initially prevent me from taking in the expressive qualities of the music. Only later when I had listened to the work a lot of times without any thought of the score, and had experienced the expressive qualities to the full, did I succed in listening to it with my brain and my emotional part at the same time, so to say to listen with both halves of the brain simultaneously.

Another possibility is to listen with the score, then subsequently listen without the score but with the insights that came from seeing the score.  In any case, just my own experience, obviously.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 26, 2011, 09:10:45 AM
In both cases, Alfred Kern was responsible for the (re)building respectively restoration.

Well, he was responsible for a lot of restorings of old French organs. A kind of French answer to Jürgen Ahrend.
However the organs he built from new are not bad at all, or at least those of them I have heard.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Philoctetes on March 26, 2011, 09:12:28 AM
Another possibility is to listen with the score, then subsequently listen without the score but with the insights that came from seeing the score.  In any case, just my own experience, obviously.

And as I, and at least one other pointed out, sometimes it is just the recording. You can hear the lines and the structure without the score.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 26, 2011, 10:49:53 AM
[....]
Que, let's merge and mingle! :-*

He did! He did! :-* :-*

Yes please Que, if you would be so kind  :-*

He is! He is! :-* :-* :-*
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 26, 2011, 10:57:53 AM
He did! He did! :-* :-*

He is! He is! :-* :-* :-*

I never doubted he would do everything to please us  :-* :-* :-*
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on March 26, 2011, 11:05:37 AM
He did! He did! :-* :-*

He is! He is! :-* :-* :-*

I never doubted he would do everything to please us  :-* :-* :-*

Oh, get a room!

;) ;D
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 26, 2011, 11:15:53 AM
In our Room of Music, we join together: Premont, Que and me:

(http://i56.tinypic.com/2mwfhvs.jpg)

Die Kunst des Kuschelns

 :-*  :-*  :-*  :-*
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 26, 2011, 11:15:59 AM
Oh, get a room!

;) ;D

Well, there is enough room in the forum for us to express our full satisfaction.  ;D
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 26, 2011, 11:18:04 AM
Contrapunctus IX/ Contrapunctus I-VIII/ Contrapunctus XIIa (conclusion), from The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin:

http://www.wgbh.org/programs/-803/episodes/-25390

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41nxC7OZq5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

On my wish-list now, I'm afraid .... ;)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 26, 2011, 11:24:51 AM
On my wish-list now, I'm afraid .... ;)

It is very well played, but the variable scoring often seems a bit arbitrary. Very efficient though is Cpt. VII which is played played on harpsichord, except for the four augmented statements of the subject going from bass to discant, which in this recording are played on solo strings, resulting in an effect not far from Rogg´s recording, Rogg playing the augmented statements on the pedal in ascending registers.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 26, 2011, 11:27:05 AM
In our Room of Music, we join together: Premont, Que and me:

OK., I have reestablished my username.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Que on March 26, 2011, 12:51:46 PM
OK., I have reestablished my username.

Hooray! :D

Q
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 27, 2011, 09:59:44 AM
I found this interview with Aimard where he makes this comment about AofF: http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/special/insighttext.htms?ID=aimard-bach&DETAIL=2

Interviewer: So the priorities are contrapuntal and formal clarity and respect for the different styles?


Aimard: Certainly, but that isn't enough. Interpreting The Art of Fugue demands a response to Bach's invitation to bring life and communicativeness to even the most contrapuntally sophisticated pieces. Take, for example, Contrapunctus IV: the main subject is combined with brief running motifs whose freshness, brevity and continual recurrence transform profuse polyphony into a delightful divertissement. The technical complexity of Contrapunctus XII, a mirror fugue - we first hear the subject rectus and then its inversion - can pass unnoticed thanks to its calm and fluid texture. The archaizing style, the pure form (the subject is stated four times, followed by a variant of it a further four times) and the conjunct lines lend a sense of great simplicity to this luminous, heavenly movement.


In Canon IV, a second voice imitates the first by inversion and twice as slowly. The listener doesn't notice the subtlety of the writing, however, but only the poignant anguish of a two-part lament. Bach is constantly operating on more than one level, and ensuring their coexistence is one of the interpreter's jobs.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 27, 2011, 10:22:21 AM
.. Aimard where he makes this comment about AofF...

In principle I think these are wise words.

BTW the music is so hard for him to play, that his words do not always shine through.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 27, 2011, 10:55:04 AM
In principle I think these are wise words.

BTW the music is so hard for him to play, that his words do not always shine through.

I know -- that's what I thought when I read it.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: marvinbrown on March 30, 2011, 01:30:44 PM


  OK I have disappeared for the past week and have spent most of my listening time on Bach's Art of Fugue (Moroney recording).  I have made considerable progress identifying many of the themes that permeate each and every contrapuntal fugue.  Some became more apparent with each additional listening, others remain tenaciously elusive  :(! I have discovered that simply listening to the music as music really does not work for me.  Fugues represent a composer's skill is varying a principal  "theme" and marrying these variations on a principal theme together.  Fugue composition is an exercise in skill after all.

   It will benefit me to seek out other recordings, preferably on different instruments than the harpsichord.

  marvin
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 30, 2011, 04:40:54 PM
I have discovered that simply listening to the music as music really does not work for me.

Taken ad notam.

Quote from: marvinbrown
It will benefit me to seek out other recordings, preferably on different instruments than the harpsichord.

Maybe an organ version? Walcha(DG Archive)  or Rogg (EMI)? Both strike a fine balance between counterpoint and expression.

Or  a chamber version. The newly released by AAM, Berlin (Harmonia Mundi) is quite expressive, and Münchinger´s recording with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (Decca) made wonders for me many years ago.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Que on April 03, 2011, 03:11:42 AM
A new recording performed on harpsichord with interludes on the organ.

(http://www.asinamusic.com/modules/shop/images/custom/item.142.j-s-bach-die-kunst-der-fuge.jpg)

FWIW Klassik-heute's reviewer likes it (http://www.klassik-heute.de/kh/3cds/20110315_20041.shtml).

Samples (http://www.amazon.de/Die-Kunst-Fuge-Cembalo-Orgel/dp/B0049CVUD6/)

Q
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on April 03, 2011, 07:01:56 AM
A new recording performed on harpsichord with interludes on the organ.

Q

I think I noticed about four or five new releases of the AoF in the pre-release charts earlier this year. And this was one of them.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on April 03, 2011, 07:29:28 AM
I think I noticed about four or five new releases of the AoF in the pre-release charts earlier this year. And this was one of them.

I think this is another one (also played on harpsichord), although it was recorded in 2008:

(http://www.glossamusic.com/glossa/files/References/220/GCD_P31510_HD.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on April 03, 2011, 07:55:05 AM
I think this is another one (also played on harpsichord), although it was recorded in 2008:

(http://www.glossamusic.com/glossa/files/References/220/GCD_P31510_HD.jpg)

Yep. Two on piano; the AAMB's version on HM, and a DVD (with artsy visuals) with der(?) MAK performing.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on April 03, 2011, 08:17:40 AM
Yep. Two on piano; the AAMB's version on HM, and a DVD (with artsy visuals) with der(?) MAK performing.

... after all the Goldbergs deserved to have a rest.  ;)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on April 03, 2011, 08:23:20 AM
... after all the Goldbergs deserved to have a rest.  ;)

Oh, they wish that.

;D
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: springrite on April 03, 2011, 08:31:28 AM
... after all the Goldbergs deserved to have a rest.  ;)

Calling off a banquet after a few appitizers having been served? Nah!
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on April 03, 2011, 08:54:18 AM
I think this is another one (also played on harpsichord), although it was recorded in 2008:
(http://www.glossamusic.com/glossa/files/References/220/GCD_P31510_HD.jpg)

Another harpsichordist whose playing is scholary and  committed, if a little more temperamental than Dirksen. Bonizzoni is Italian after all. Even he "constructs" his own version, which in short contains the Contrapuncti more or less - not completely consequential - in the sequence of the manuscript from 1742, but played in the posthumous printed (by Bach emended) version. So this is more of a kind of abstraction than it is a restoring. One consequence is that he omits Contrapunctus IV. Though the incomplete Fuga a 3 soggetti is offered as an appendix.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on April 03, 2011, 09:06:30 AM
Calling off a banquet after a few appitizers having been served? Nah!

That's right; additionally, those works are an irresistible dish that every harpsichordist wants to have in his repertoire.  :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on April 03, 2011, 10:48:53 AM
I find the main difficulty with this work is the lack of an ending. If Bach had been able to complete it we would know what the music was driving towards and that is always a great help in understanding a musical process.

I tend to see the Contrupuncti I-XI as a 'reliable' corpus.
To me, Contrapunctus XI is definitely one of the highlights of the piece and therefore acceptable as a closure.

The rest (mirror fugues, canons, final fugue) are bonuses to me.
Very impressive and enjoyable bonuses of course! :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on April 03, 2011, 11:16:41 AM
I tend to see the Contrupuncti I-XI as a 'reliable' corpus.
To me, Contrapunctus XI is definitely one of the highlights of the piece and therefore acceptable as a closure.

Seconded, and it is interesting to note, that the Bach-subject has got an important role in Comtrapunctus XI as well.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 05, 2011, 10:32:29 PM
I've been enjoying Menno van Delft a lot! It's so composed and tranquil and elegant, and somehow pure and simple.

And yet, despite this it is emotionally rich.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on April 06, 2011, 12:28:07 AM
I've been enjoying Menno van Delft a lot! It's so composed and tranquil and elegant, and somehow pure and simple.

And yet, despite this it is emotionally rich.

He is often forgotten, because his playing in a way is so unsensational. But I share your opinion, and exactly for the reasons you mention his interpretation is one of my faves, which grow on me with each listening.

I use to call this the Dutch way, since many Dutch keyboard players (even organists) play more or less in this way. (Koopman is the exception which confirms the rule)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on April 06, 2011, 03:22:32 AM
I use to call this the Dutch way, since many Dutch keyboard players (even organists) play more or less in this way. (Koopman is the exception which confirms the rule)

That's totally true about Koopman as a keyboardist (which was the subject of your statement), but curiously Koopman abandones almost all his eccentricities when he is conducting a chorus (although, for sure, he makes a lot of weird faces). 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 01, 2011, 10:20:34 PM
Someone gave me a few weeks ago Leonhardt's first AoF on Vanguard. It's clearly a major achievement, and I'm  enjoying getting to know it. The harpsichord doesn't always sound so good, maybe.

I see he recorded it a second time, for DHM. How does this later recording compare? What would I be getting if I buy the later recording -- just better sound, or some new and interesting ideas?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 07, 2011, 06:10:31 AM
Someone gave me a few weeks ago Leonhardt's first AoF on Vanguard. It's clearly a major achievement, and I'm  enjoying getting to know it. The harpsichord doesn't always sound so good, maybe.

I see he recorded it a second time, for DHM. How does this later recording compare? What would I be getting if I buy the later recording -- just better sound, or some new and interesting ideas?

Excuse me my late answer.

While I find Leonhardt´s 1952 recording for Vanguard (on a non-period Neupert harpsichord) deliberate, legato-dominated and rather understated as to exoression, his later recording for DHM is more energetic and rhytmically alert and more extrovert and exiting. I think this is close to  how I believe Bach may have played himself. Thought provoking though that our  ~Que~  does not like him.  IMO Leonhardt´s second recording is mandatory. (It omits the unfinished Fugue á 3 soggetti).
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Que on May 07, 2011, 07:56:52 AM
I think this is close to  how I believe Bach may have played himself. Thought provoking though that our  ~Que~  does not like him.

Does not prefer him, would be more accurately put! :) Of course I like Leonhardt and hold him in high esteem. But I think we've discussed Leonhardt in extenso before. I agree BTW that Leonhardt moved along with the development in period performances towards a more free, rhythmically varied and pronounced style. Still, others took over and where he left off and moved even further in that direction. I like performances with the contrast and tension between those two things

Whether some of his successors too far and Leonhardt found the right equitable balance is a matter of taste IMO. At least in my mind Bach's own style was besides being intellectually profound and that of a highly gifted musical scholar, also that of a brilliant virtuoso who liked exploring the limits of his abilities and of the instruments (or singers) he wrote for.

Q :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 07, 2011, 10:47:32 AM
At least in my mind Bach's own style was besides being intellectually profound and that of a highly gifted musical scholar, also that of a brilliant virtuoso who liked exploring the limits of his abilities ..

In my mind this also fits as a perfect description of Leonhardt.  :)

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 08, 2011, 12:00:25 PM
Excuse me my late answer.

While I find Leonhardt´s 1952 recording for Vanguard (on a non-period Neupert harpsichord) deliberate, legato-dominated and rather understated as to exoression, his later recording for DHM is more energetic and rhytmically alert and more extrovert and exiting. I think this is close to  how I believe Bach may have played himself. Thought provoking though that our  ~Que~  does not like him.  IMO Leonhardt´s second recording is mandatory. (It omits the unfinished Fugue á 3 soggetti).

I have the recording now and I've listened to just one thing quite a few times over the past few days: the canon at the tenth.

Compared with the 1952, the later recording is more articulated, more energetic, more alert, more extravert, more exciting, more ornamented.

And yet, I love the 1954 canon at the tenth. It makes me go slightly damp eyed sometimes when I hear it: the simple, un-ornamented style, played with such flexibility, moves me. 

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 08, 2011, 12:20:40 PM
And yet, I love the 1954 canon at the tenth. It makes me go slightly damp eyed sometimes when I hear it: the simple, un-ornamented style, played with such flexibility, moves me.
So do I,-  indeed the entire 1952 recording. I think Leonhardt plays the work with great awe, as if he only recently discovered its depths -  and maybe this is also so.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on May 15, 2011, 09:31:21 AM
(http://i.prs.to/t_200/brilliantclassics94061.jpg) (http://www.prs.to/r/Brilliant%2BClassics/94061)


3 CD + CD-ROM Multibox

J.S. Bach’s great masterpiece, The Art of Fugue, was incomplete when the composer died in 1750, and he left no indications whatsoever for its instrumentation. Since then there has been much debate on the subject, but we now know that it was written as a practical work intended for keyboard performance exploring the contrapuntal possibilities within one subject.

Bach also adopted the same compositional notational method for the beautiful and profound organ cycle Canonic Variations on the Christmas Carol and the brilliant six-voice Musical Offering, created for King Frederick II of Prussia, which are also heard in this 4-CD set. Also included is the fragment of the incomplete three part final fugue BWV1080/19, whose inclusion in The Art of Fugue is disputed amongst music scholars.

The renowned Italian harpsichordist, organist and musical scholar, Matteo Messori, has won awards for his recordings of Bach. Messori has gone back to original sources and letters relating to these works, and taken account of the most up-todate research and interpretative knowledge, in order to reveal Bach’s true intentions for his music, and to give as authentic a performance as possible. Messori performs on the harpsichord and organ, and is joined by Italian early music ensemble Cappella Augustana, featuring Luigi Mario Lupo (transverse flute), Luca Giardini (violin), and Marco Testori (cello).
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on May 15, 2011, 10:51:27 AM
(http://i.prs.to/t_200/brilliantclassics94061.jpg) (http://www.prs.to/r/Brilliant%2BClassics/94061)


3 CD + CD-ROM Multibox
[....]
The renowned Italian harpsichordist, organist and musical scholar, Matteo Messori, has won awards for his recordings of Bach. Messori has gone back to original sources and letters relating to these works, and taken account of the most up-todate research and interpretative knowledge, in order to reveal Bach’s true intentions for his music, and to give as authentic a performance as possible. Messori performs on the harpsichord and organ, and is joined by Italian early music ensemble Cappella Augustana, featuring Luigi Mario Lupo (transverse flute), Luca Giardini (violin), and Marco Testori (cello).


It's a bargain indeed, but to be honest I wasn't really impressed by other Bach stuff from Messori, i.c. the Clavier-Übung III (also on Brilliant Classics). Beautiful organs, but IMHO most of the pieces were too 'heavily' interpreted.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 15, 2011, 10:53:31 AM
(http://i.prs.to/t_200/brilliantclassics94061.jpg) (http://www.prs.to/r/Brilliant%2BClassics/94061)


Thanks for this information. I almost thought that Brilliant Classics had skipped their plans to release it.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 15, 2011, 10:56:16 AM
It's a bargain indeed, but to be honest I wasn't really impressed by other Bach stuff from Messori, i.c. the Clavier-Übung III (also on Brilliant Classics). Beautiful organs, but IMHO most of the pieces were too 'heavily' interpreted.

Nor was I - as you know - that impressed by Messori´s Clavierübung III. But I think the AoF stands that kind of treatment better.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on May 15, 2011, 11:00:04 AM
Nor was I - as you know - that impressed by Messori´s Clavierübung III. But I think the AoF stands that kind of treatment better.

PLEAZE!
DO NOT CONVINCE ME TO BUY THIS INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE SET!
YOU ARE RUINING ME!
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 15, 2011, 11:29:25 AM
PLEAZE!
DO NOT CONVINCE ME TO BUY THIS INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE SET!
YOU ARE RUINING ME!


Do not tell me, that you will not purchase it, whatever I say.  ;D
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on May 30, 2011, 05:42:33 PM
It's a bargain indeed, but to be honest I wasn't really impressed by other Bach stuff from Messori, i.c. the Clavier-Übung III (also on Brilliant Classics). Beautiful organs, but IMHO most of the pieces were too 'heavily' interpreted.

I agree with you, his German Mass is marred by a sort of general heaviness; but the samples of his new discs sound very promising for this humble listener. I was greatly impressed in special by what I listened to in the Musical Offering. Additionally, Messori has some remaining credit with me because I have loved his Schütz series on BC.

Right now this set is travelling from Amazon.de towards daddy. ;D   

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/brilliantclassics94061.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 27, 2011, 07:16:11 PM
Hi everyone,
I am in the market for a good recording of The Art of Fugue on solo keyboard or preferably harpsichord.
I have the Fretwork release which I enjoy immensely, but want to expand my collection to a solo instrument and possibly a SQ.

Thanks in advance, my friends  :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: kishnevi on July 27, 2011, 08:29:15 PM
Hi everyone,
I am in the market for a good recording of The Art of Fugue on solo keyboard or preferably harpsichord.
I have the Fretwork release which I enjoy immensely, but want to expand my collection to a solo instrument and possibly a SQ.

Thanks in advance, my friends  :)

Multi instrument, in order of preference:  Emerson String Quartet, Goebel/Musica Antiqua Koeln,  Canadian Brass.  I think the Goebel/MAK may be available only as part of a DG box set of all of MAK's Bach recordings;  the original CD issue was one of the first CDs I ever bought.  Don't have the Fretwork recording, so I can't directly compare it to these.
Modern piano:  Aimard
 I have only two recordings on harpsichord and none on organ, so I can't suggest a favorite there;  but the recording by Matteo Messori which Tonito suggested impressed me on the first hearing.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: jlaurson on July 28, 2011, 01:00:26 AM
Hi everyone,
I am in the market for a good recording of The Art of Fugue on solo keyboard or preferably harpsichord.
I have the Fretwork release which I enjoy immensely, but want to expand my collection to a solo instrument and possibly a SQ.
Thanks in advance, my friends  :)

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000ZGKBYE.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000ZGKBYE/goodmusicguide-20)(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00005RCZ5.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005RCZ5/goodmusicguide-20)(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B002KPW3YE.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002KPW3YE/goodmusicguide-20)(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000025HN5.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000025HN5/goodmusicguide-20)(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00008O8B3.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008O8B3/goodmusicguide-20)
Aimard, pn / DGSokolov, pn / NaiveRieger, hp / CaviKeller Q4t, SQ4t / ECMEmerson Q4t, SQ4t / DG

Aimard on piano is very good, but I have always hoped it to be better than it turned out... partly because I admire the artist so much.
I do, in the end, prefer Sokolov.

Am intrigued by the mere existence of the Konstantin Lifschitz's account (Orfeo) (http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B0045FGFZA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguide-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1638&creative=19454&creativeASIN=B0045FGFZA  v) but haven't heard of it.

Trying to think of a harpsichord version that I think is really good... and I'm noticing that I don't even know that many. Rieger is pretty good... but right now I'm blanking on any other newer versions on the harpsichord that I've [apparently not] heard.

Second the Emerson recommendation, one of their finest recordings IMO. (As opposed to their Bach follow-up of assorted Fugues, which I found disastrous.) I do, by the slightest of margins, prefer the Keller Quartet on ECM, though.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 28, 2011, 03:55:24 AM
Multi instrument, in order of preference:  Emerson String Quartet, Goebel/Musica Antiqua Koeln,  Canadian Brass.  I think the Goebel/MAK may be available only as part of a DG box set of all of MAK's Bach recordings;  the original CD issue was one of the first CDs I ever bought.  Don't have the Fretwork recording, so I can't directly compare it to these.
Modern piano:  Aimard
 I have only two recordings on harpsichord and none on organ, so I can't suggest a favorite there;  but the recording by Matteo Messori which Tonito suggested impressed me on the first hearing.


(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000ZGKBYE.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000ZGKBYE/goodmusicguide-20)(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00005RCZ5.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005RCZ5/goodmusicguide-20)(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B002KPW3YE.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002KPW3YE/goodmusicguide-20)(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000025HN5.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000025HN5/goodmusicguide-20)(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00008O8B3.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008O8B3/goodmusicguide-20)
Aimard, pn / DGSokolov, pn / NaiveRieger, hp / CaviKeller Q4t, SQ4t / ECMEmerson Q4t, SQ4t / DG

Aimard on piano is very good, but I have always hoped it to be better than it turned out... partly because I admire the artist so much.
I do, in the end, prefer Sokolov.

Am intrigued by the mere existence of the Konstantin Lifschitz's account (Orfeo) (http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B0045FGFZA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguide-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1638&creative=19454&creativeASIN=B0045FGFZA  v) but haven't heard of it.

Trying to think of a harpsichord version that I think is really good... and I'm noticing that I don't even know that many. Rieger is pretty good... but right now I'm blanking on any other newer versions on the harpsichord that I've [apparently not] heard.

Second the Emerson recommendation, one of their finest recordings IMO. (As opposed to their Bach follow-up of assorted Fugues, which I found disastrous.) I do, by the slightest of margins, prefer the Keller Quartet on ECM, though.


Thank you for the recommendations! :) 
I've been eyeing the Emerson recording for a while now.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bulldog on July 28, 2011, 12:50:40 PM
Aimard on piano is very good, but I have always hoped it to be better than it turned out... partly because I admire the artist so much.
I do, in the end, prefer Sokolov.

Yes, I also prefer Sokolov, and by a wide margin.  Aimard isn't nearly austere enough for my tastes.  However, if one likes the jazz-infused Aimard version, you can do much better with Bradley Brookshire on harpsichord.  It's a very interesting version that makes Aimard's sound as dull as dishwater.

Another version I'd like to highlight comes from Walter Riemer on fortepiano.  Actually, there are many wonderful versions on solo instrument, and each one easily trumps a chamber or orchestral version.  If you really want to hear everything that's going on in the AoF, solo is the way to go.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on July 28, 2011, 01:02:28 PM
Actually, there are many wonderful versions on solo instrument, and each one easily trumps a chamber or orchestral version. If you really want to hear everything that's going on in the AoF, solo is the way to go.

From what I've heard so far: I agree!
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: kishnevi on July 28, 2011, 03:40:18 PM
Yes, I also prefer Sokolov, and by a wide margin.  Aimard isn't nearly austere enough for my tastes.  However, if one likes the jazz-infused Aimard version, you can do much better with Bradley Brookshire on harpsichord.  It's a very interesting version that makes Aimard's sound as dull as dishwater.

Another version I'd like to highlight comes from Walter Riemer on fortepiano.  Actually, there are many wonderful versions on solo instrument, and each one easily trumps a chamber or orchestral version.  If you really want to hear everything that's going on in the AoF, solo is the way to go.

Whereas i prefer the multi instrumental versions because it's easier for me to follow the different voices and the musical structure--to "hear everything going on", as you put it.
That said, I went and checked, and realized I have fewer versions than I thought--only eight.  The only other piano version I have beside Aimard is Gould's partial version, and besides Messori I've only got one harpsichord version (Guillot on Naxos--I'm not very keen on it, so something tells me you wouldn't be either).    Marriner's version rounds out the lot (again, I'm not keen about it), with the Emersons, Canadian Brass and Goebel/MAK.

Obviously I need to bulk up this section of my library.  Any particular harpsichord performances you think particularly well of (especially if they lean in the "austere" direction)?  And organ?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on July 28, 2011, 04:25:53 PM
Whereas i prefer the multi instrumental versions because it's easier for me to follow the different voices and the musical structure--to "hear everything going on", as you put it.

I clearly prefer versions played on harpsichord and organ. However, one of my favorite versions is nothing less than orchestral:  Karl Münchinger and his Stuttgarter Kammerorchester. It's austere, concentrated, disciplined and highly recommendable.


Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bulldog on July 28, 2011, 06:06:23 PM
Obviously I need to bulk up this section of my library.  Any particular harpsichord performances you think particularly well of (especially if they lean in the "austere" direction)?  And organ?

Harpsichord - Gilbert/Harmonia Mundi, Leonhardt/Vanguard and DHM, Hill/Hanssler, Moroney/Harmonia Mundi and Vartolo/Naxos.  It's the Gilbert that I love most.

Organ - I haven't been very impressed with most organ versions.  Two that stand out for me are Walcha/Archiv and Weinberger/CPO.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on July 28, 2011, 08:18:21 PM
Yes, I also prefer Sokolov, and by a wide margin.  Aimard isn't nearly austere enough for my tastes.  However, if one likes the jazz-infused Aimard version, you can do much better with Bradley Brookshire on harpsichord.  It's a very interesting version that makes Aimard's sound as dull as dishwater.

Another version I'd like to highlight comes from Walter Riemer on fortepiano.  Actually, there are many wonderful versions on solo instrument, and each one easily trumps a chamber or orchestral version.  If you really want to hear everything that's going on in the AoF, solo is the way to go.

What do you think of Koriolov's?

I like Sokolov because it's extreme -- contrast the way he takes cpt 1 almost in one single breath with the highly  articulated way he plays cpt 2.

And Sokolov is  such a master of voice -- he seems to make the voices float one above the other.


I like Koroliov too, partly because he's so lively and joyful and extrovert, partly because the semi staccato touch is nice.


Sokolov's relatively restrained in terms of dynamics. Koroliov takes advantage  of the pianos's dynamic resources to add some drama. All good



Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on July 28, 2011, 08:50:37 PM


Obviously I need to bulk up this section of my library.  Any particular harpsichord performances you think particularly well of (especially if they lean in the "austere" direction)?  And organ?

Try Leonhardt's first recording. It's  austere. He plays legato, he doesn't roll chords, there's very little ornamentation. The only expressive resource he allows himself is tempo flexibility.

On the organ premont here put me onto Zacher's recording which I have grown to love. But there are loads of outsnding organ records of this: I think on record  it's fared better on organ than any other way. I love Walcha because he's so alive and exuberant and there's a sense of inevitability, ineluctability, unstopability -- force-of-nature-ness (he recorded it only  once, right?); I love Rogg beciause of the way he drives the music forward and because he's so colourful; I love Tachezi because he is so marmoreal  and granitic.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on July 28, 2011, 11:47:12 PM
The AoF is without doubt concieved for harpsichord or organ (manual only) enabling all the parts to sound in perfect equilibrium. This ideal is realised in the recording Gerd Zacher made (Aeolus 1999) on the restored Balthasar König-organ (1714) der Pfarrkirche St.Leodegar, Niederehe. The organ contains a manual section of nine stops and a pedal section of three stops. He only uses the manual for this recording. In his interpretation one can concentrate upon the internal variety or upon the musical expression.  If one does not know the work so well it is tempting to concentrate upon the internal variety (the counterpoint which often is so dense as to become confusing) in order not to loose the orientation, but as one gets to know the work better it may be relevatory deliberately to ignore the counterpoint and just listen to the rich musical expression. Zacher´s version is indeed contemplative and expressive. This IMO concerning these issues (counterpoint and expression) ideal interpretation permits both points of view in equal mesure, and ideally even both ways of listening at the same time, experiencing the balanced synthesis of spirit and emotion, which this work reflects more than any other of Bach´s (or anyone else´s) works, and which I consider the essential meaning of the work. It takes time to reach this way of listening, compare the way Marc, Velimir and I described our initial problems about understanding the work at all. Hope you understand. It is indeed difficult to explain things like these in a foreign language.

Preferring a rendering with all the parts in equilibrium, I think chamber and orchestral versions often disturb the balance of the work, the parts being scored in different colours, and the playing often with enhanced focus on the thematic statements, the purpose of which seems to be some wish for expression rather than to bring contrapunctal clarity to the playing. I only mention this as some kind of tendency. There are exceptions - the recording by Stuttgart CO / Münchinger being one such exception, because of the homogeneous sound of the very disciplined Stuttgart strings, and because of Münchinger´s balanced vision of the work. 

Gerd Zacher The Art of Fugue

Contrapunctus I
http://www.mediafire.com/file/m6ccs8d5woib38j/01%20-%20Contrapunctus%20I%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3

Contrapunctus III
http://www.mediafire.com/file/yfo0mtmdsoo7uj7/03%20-%20Contrapunctus%20III%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3

Contrapunctus VII
http://www.mediafire.com/file/xx8ngbb2fwdqht9/07%20-%20Contrapunctus%20VII%20%28A%204%20Per%20Augmentationem%20Et%20Diminutionem%29%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3


It might seem relevant to choose Walcha´s recording for my purpose, but as he uses the pedal almost throughout, he does not really illustrate my argument.

I don't understand this. What is it that the pedal does that stops Walcha's performance following the principal of equilibrium?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on July 31, 2011, 09:12:45 AM
I don't understand this. What is it that the pedal does that stops Walcha's performance following the principal of equilibrium?

I can't speak for Premont, and I also can't speak for or against Walcha, 'cause it's been a while since I've listened to 'his' Kdf, but .... in some cases a 16ft pedal stop can ruin the equality of the different parts by sounding too heavy. In my personal view, especially works like the Trio Sonatas & Die Kunst der Fuge can suffer from this.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 03, 2011, 01:08:09 PM
I don't understand this. What is it that the pedal does that stops Walcha's performance following the principal of equilibrium?

The AoF was obviously written with the keyboard manualiter in mind - in the first hand the harpsichord, in the second hand the organ manualiter, considering the fact that all of it (except the two mirror fugues) can be played with two hands. This assumption is confirmed by the fact that the bass part is written in manualiter style, and is unsuited for execution by the feet, as well as the fact that there are some voice-crossings between the tenor and bass part. One can say, that the AoF is written in the style of the fugues of the WTC rather than the style of Bach´s organ fugues. (The problem of the mirror fugues may be solved by playing them on two keyboards, a solution Bach himself hinted at by arranging the three part mirror fugue for two keyboards adding a free fourth part for the fourth hand).

Concerning the Contrapuncti  I – XI all four parts must sound in perfect equilibrium like the fugues of the WTC, which means that the foundation registration of all parts must be set at equal pitch (preferably 8´). This will be natural for a harpsichordist. If he changes the registration during the playing, this will affect all four parts. If we translate this to the organ, the work should be played manualiter, and if the organist changes manual during the playing, he should move both hands to the other manual at the same time. There are some organists who rightly consider the AoF a manual work and realize it without the use of the pedals (e.g. Zacher and Wikman). Even the mirror fugues can be played on the organ´s manuals, two organists playing two parts each on their “own” manual in equal registrations.

Arranged for organ in the way Walcha did, the bass part is generally set for the pedal, and few organists (Walcha himself the least) can resist the temptation to register the pedal with 16´ and the manuals with 8´ , thereby causing an imbalance between the parts, making the bass part sound too prominent, and transforming the AoF into a "genuine" organ work, which it is not. 

The unfinished fugue a 4 soggetti is more related to the organ works, and the bass part of the first and the third section (but not the second section) is perfectly playable with the feet, which may be interpreted in the way, that this fugue was conceived for manual and pedal, probably organ. The middle section of the fugue may be a manualiter solo episode like the middle section of the E flat major triple fugue BWV 552 or the F major double fugue BWV 540. If this is correct, it seems unlikely, that the fugue was intended to be a part of the AoF - a work written entirely manualiter. 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on August 09, 2011, 09:19:23 AM
Ordered this one.
The KdF is played by Charles Rosen.

(http://i51.tinypic.com/35c4buq.jpg)

It will take about 3 weeks until arrival .... I won't be lonely Christmas! ;D
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 10, 2011, 08:16:13 AM
Ordered this one.
The KdF is played by Charles Rosen.

(http://i51.tinypic.com/35c4buq.jpg)


This was AFAIK the first piano recording which was made of the AoF, scholary but not pedantic, and to some extent gaining its authority from the advantage of being the first, like Schnabel´s Beethoven sonatas and  Edwin Fischer´s WTC. Rosens AoF was also the first piano version I acquired (about six years ago). I never really favoured Bach on piano, and blind completism may have played a part. At first I was suitably impressed by his playing, but since then I got twenty other piano versions, and except for Koroliov, Sokolov, Aldwell, Ader, Lifschitz and the tedious Boyle, I would rate all of them higher than Rosen, favorites being Petermandl, Riemer, Mechler, Janssen, Lepinat and Nicolaieva.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on August 10, 2011, 08:29:56 AM
On piano I have Riemer and Sokolov and  Gould and Koroliov and Aimard. I wonder if you could say something  about why you prefer Riemer to Sokolov, or Koroliov. 

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 10, 2011, 08:58:54 AM
On piano I have Riemer and Sokolov and  Gould and Koroliov and Aimard. I wonder if you could say something  about why you prefer Riemer to Sokolov, or Koroliov.

Riemer, even if playing on a fortepiano - and not even an early item (displaying a kind of double anachronism)- has in my ears got some of the timelessness in his playing, which I associate with the AoF, and which I consider essential. 

Koroliov I find almost vulgar with his stereotyped use of dynamics. Every Cpt. begins pp and ends fff. He has not discovered, that the climax is written into the music.

Sokolov is IMO irritating romantic in his "delicate" use of dynamic shadings. I am not far from calling him misguided.

About Aimard I have written earlier in this thread (reply 101 and 155).

And Gould. Never liked his demonstrative self-conscious piano playing. The Cpt´s he recorded on organ are IMO more eatable.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on August 10, 2011, 09:28:22 AM
Riemer, even if playing on a fortepiano - and not even an early item (displaying a kind of double anachronism)- has in my ears got some of the timelessness in his playing, which I associate with the AoF, and which I consider essential. 

Koroliov I find almost vulgar with his stereotyped use of dynamics. Every Cpt. begins pp and ends fff. He has not discovered, that the climax is written into the music.

Sokolov is IMO irritating romantic in his "delicate" use of dynamic shadings. I am not far from calling him misguided.

About Aimard I have written earlier in this thread (reply 101 and 155).

And Gould. Never liked his demonstrative self-conscious piano playing. The Cpt´s he recorded on organ are IMO more eatable.

Koroliov often (maybe always)  gets louder towards the end of each piece -- do you think that he puts the climaxes in the wrong place sometimes? That's  interesting.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 10, 2011, 12:38:50 PM
Koroliov often (maybe always)  gets louder towards the end of each piece -- do you think that he puts the climaxes in the wrong place sometimes? That's  interesting.

An organist who plays a Contrapunctus without changing stops -  which is the rule in case of historically informed players, - in Bach´s age it was for technical reasons impossible to add stops (or remove stops) during the playing - will largely have to let the music display the climax itself. Well, he can add to the inner tension af the playing by using more expressive agogics or articulation, but he can not change the dynamics, so the climax is -as I wrote above- built into the music. To emphazise the climax by dynamic means -  which is possible on piano -  introduces a palette of expression which is anachronistic and in a way pasted on the music and in the end feels romantic - and the AoF is not romantic music. Maybe I express myself a tad strict, but I think Koroliov should be more restrictive with dynamic variations instead of overdoing the point.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on August 11, 2011, 09:52:57 AM
[....] I never really favoured Bach on piano, and blind completism may have played a part.

Well, as long as you're not struck by deaf completism! ;D

At first I was suitably impressed by his [Charles Rosen] playing, but since then I got twenty other piano versions, and except for Koroliov, Sokolov, Aldwell, Ader, Lifschitz and the tedious Boyle, I would rate all of them higher than Rosen, favorites being Petermandl, Riemer, Mechler, Janssen, Lepinat and Nicolaieva.

I'll keep some of those names in mind .... Janssen and/or Nikolayeva could be tempting.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on August 11, 2011, 09:43:56 PM
The AoF was obviously written with the keyboard manualiter in mind - in the first hand the harpsichord, in the second hand the organ manualiter, considering the fact that all of it (except the two mirror fugues) can be played with two hands. This assumption is confirmed by the fact that the bass part is written in manualiter style, and is unsuited for execution by the feet, as well as the fact that there are some voice-crossings between the tenor and bass part. One can say, that the AoF is written in the style of the fugues of the WTC rather than the style of Bach´s organ fugues. (The problem of the mirror fugues may be solved by playing them on two keyboards, a solution Bach himself hinted at by arranging the three part mirror fugue for two keyboards adding a free fourth part for the fourth hand).

Concerning the Contrapuncti  I – XI all four parts must sound in perfect equilibrium like the fugues of the WTC, which means that the foundation registration of all parts must be set at equal pitch (preferably 8´). This will be natural for a harpsichordist. If he changes the registration during the playing, this will affect all four parts. If we translate this to the organ, the work should be played manualiter, and if the organist changes manual during the playing, he should move both hands to the other manual at the same time. There are some organists who rightly consider the AoF a manual work and realize it without the use of the pedals (e.g. Zacher and Wikman). Even the mirror fugues can be played on the organ´s manuals, two organists playing two parts each on their “own” manual in equal registrations.

Arranged for organ in the way Walcha did, the bass part is generally set for the pedal, and few organists (Walcha himself the least) can resist the temptation to register the pedal with 16´ and the manuals with 8´ , thereby causing an imbalance between the parts, making the bass part sound too prominent, and transforming the AoF into a "genuine" organ work, which it is not. 

The unfinished fugue a 4 soggetti is more related to the organ works, and the bass part of the first and the third section (but not the second section) is perfectly playable with the feet, which may be interpreted in the way, that this fugue was conceived for manual and pedal, probably organ. The middle section of the fugue may be a manualiter solo episode like the middle section of the E flat major triple fugue BWV 552 or the F major double fugue BWV 540. If this is correct, it seems unlikely, that the fugue was intended to be a part of the AoF - a work written entirely manualiter.

Thanks for the reply premont, which has made things a lot clearer for me

With Walcha I hear the bass clearly and generally the whole sound is transparent. Less so with Zacher. Previously  I'd put this down to choice of instrument, ambiance or even recording technique.  The difference has consequences for me:   with Walcha I  listen more analytically  with Zacher more  affectively.

The point about the mirror fugues is interesting. There's a discussion of these issues in the essay Tachezi wrote for his CD.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Clever Hans on August 18, 2011, 01:24:22 PM
An organist who plays a Contrapunctus without changing stops -  which is the rule in case of historically informed players, - in Bach´s age it was for technical reasons impossible to add stops (or remove stops) during the playing - will largely have to let the music display the climax itself. Well, he can add to the inner tension af the playing by using more expressive agogics or articulation, but he can not change the dynamics, so the climax is -as I wrote above- built into the music. To emphazise the climax by dynamic means -  which is possible on piano -  introduces a palette of expression which is anachronistic and in a way pasted on the music and in the end feels romantic - and the AoF is not romantic music. Maybe I express myself a tad strict, but I think Koroliov should be more restrictive with dynamic variations instead of overdoing the point.

Very insightful, thanks.
What do you think of his WTC?
Seems like Edwin Fischer is still one of the best straightforward options.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on August 18, 2011, 07:45:46 PM
An organist who plays a Contrapunctus without changing stops -  which is the rule in case of historically informed players, - in Bach´s age it was for technical reasons impossible to add stops (or remove stops) during the playing - will largely have to let the music display the climax itself. Well, he can add to the inner tension af the playing by using more expressive agogics or articulation, but he can not change the dynamics, so the climax is -as I wrote above- built into the music. [....]

For this reason, I hope that some day organist Wolfgang Zerer will make a KdF recording. I've had some tremendous fugal experiences during his live concerts the last two/three years.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: karlhenning on August 19, 2011, 09:36:49 AM
The Art of the Fugue on saxophones, anyone?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Brahmsian on August 19, 2011, 09:39:40 AM
The Art of the Fugue on saxophones, anyone?

I'd much prefer bass clarinets, thank you.   8)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on August 19, 2011, 09:46:53 AM
The Art of the Fugue on saxophones, anyone?

Stop asking such silly questions. I repeat for the umpteenth time: the music sounds good, bearable at the least, played using just about anything! >:( :P
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: karlhenning on August 19, 2011, 10:01:24 AM
It's just that I did see such a recording on Amazon. (No, I didn't listen to samples. Not that that's a bad thing . . . .)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bulldog on August 19, 2011, 10:47:51 AM
It's just that I did see such a recording on Amazon. (No, I didn't listen to samples. Not that that's a bad thing . . . .)

Here's one on saxaphones/Protone Label:



I'm also aware of another one on Channel Classics.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 19, 2011, 11:02:30 AM
Here's one on saxaphones/Protone Label:



I'm also aware of another one on Channel Classics.
You mean this one?



CPO also have one:



Here's another:



Then there is this:



I can honestly say (and in all seriousness), having played much Bach myself, that there is nothing like Bach on saxophone. It works extremely well (quartets/quintets) and if I could find the Paris Saxophone Quartet playing Bach on disc, I'd snap it up in a heartbeat.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on August 19, 2011, 11:03:38 AM
I know this one:

(http://i51.tinypic.com/smr0v8.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Kunst-Fuge-Hybrid-SACD/dp/B0001K2KK2/

It's not like if I want sax, I call Candy  :-* .... but it's good!
Though I'm definitely not a 'sax connaisseur', IMO this is thoughtful Bach playing and I don't regret having it.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on August 19, 2011, 11:11:41 AM
I know this one:

(http://i51.tinypic.com/smr0v8.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Kunst-Fuge-Hybrid-SACD/dp/B0001K2KK2/

It's not like if I want sax, I call Candy  :-* .... but it's good!
Though I'm definitely not a 'sax connaisseur', IMO this is thoughtful Bach playing and I don't regret having it.

Listening to samples, I find the sound quite string-like at times. :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bulldog on August 19, 2011, 11:20:53 AM
You mean this one?



Yes.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: DavidW on August 19, 2011, 11:58:09 AM
Are any of those recordings on nml?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 19, 2011, 01:19:54 PM

(http://i51.tinypic.com/smr0v8.jpg)


This I own. Well, it is not bad, but I am not a saxophone-man concerning this work, so I have not acquired other sax-arrangements.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 19, 2011, 01:28:19 PM
For this reason, I hope that some day organist Wolfgang Zerer will make a KdF recording. I've had some tremendous fugal experiences during his live concerts the last two/three years.

Good choice. I would add van Doeselaar and Vernet.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on August 19, 2011, 01:36:46 PM
I'll keep some of those names in mind .... Janssen and/or Nikolayeva could be tempting.

Nikolayeva will be wating for me in the library at the end of next week.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Clever Hans on August 19, 2011, 03:55:43 PM
Having owned Koroliov´s AoF as well as his contribution to the Haenssler Bach edition (Goldbergs, Inventions and Synphonies, Clavierübungg II, Chromatic phantasy and fugue and Phantasy c-minor) I have not been urged to investigate his Bach-recordings further, and I do not know his WTC. I own the Fischer, Gieseking and 2 x Sviatoslav Richter, and they meet my need for the WTC on piano.

I see. Personally I find Koroliov highly expressive and thoughtful in the WTC which he has been playing for many many years but I appreciate your reservations and recommendations. Koroliov has strengths to discover in Schubert and Chopin Mazurkas.
Richter I think is more virtuoso/pianistic.

For the Art of Fugue, I think Leonhardt's DHM is basically definitive (really there is no one who better captures flexible devotion and expression, and flavor not pretension of austerity in Bach playing. And in his later partitas I really don't care about lack of repeats because he is simply stylistically better than all). But I also like Robert Hill's AOF, which is perhaps easy to enjoy.
Do you think the Rogg performance is balanced well in registrations? Any comments on Rubsam's versions?


 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 19, 2011, 04:58:36 PM
[snip]....favorites being.....Janssen.....

Would that be Ivo Janssen? And is the disc below what you're referencing? I've grown mighty fond of this pianist and to read that his Bach is exceptional is good news. Thanks.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61D4fNpLZGL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 20, 2011, 12:35:53 AM
Would that be Ivo Janssen? And is the disc below what you're referencing? I've grown mighty fond of this pianist and to read that his Bach is exceptional is good news. Thanks.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61D4fNpLZGL._SS500_.jpg)

Yes, this is the one. I have not heard other Bach from him than this, and exceptional may be an overstatement. For AoF on piano I still prefer Petermandl (Gramola). But I find Ivo Janssen sufficiently interesting to think of getting his complete Bach box.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 20, 2011, 01:46:39 AM
I see. Personally I find Koroliov highly expressive and thoughtful in the WTC which he has been playing for many many years ..

You and Don offer good arguments, however I think I shall opt for Janssen in the first hand.

Quote from: Clever Hans
For the Art of Fugue, I think Leonhardt's DHM is basically definitive (really there is no one who better captures flexible devotion and expression, and flavor not pretension of austerity in Bach playing.

The word "definitive" is not part of my vocabularium in a context of musical interpretation. But Leonhardt´s second AoF recording has IMO got an aura of congeniality about it, and represents the closest, how I think (I may be wrong) Bach himself might have played the work.

Quote from: Clever Hans
Do you think the Rogg performance is balanced well in registrations?

Rogg uses the Walcha organ arrangement (Ed. Peters) with its use of the pedal. While Walcha´s registrations (in his recording) aim at polyphonic transparency - so to say despite the organ, Rogg´s registrations are more organ-idiomatic, aiming at a full organ sound. Personally I prefer Walcha to Rogg, even if Rogg probably is closer to what Bach would have done, if he had used the pedal at all, what I doubt as stated above.

Quote from: Clever Hans
Any comments on Rubsam's versions?

Rübsam´s arrangement of the AoF includes the use of the pedal. Rübsam I (Philips 1977) aims -  like Walcha, at transparency, but his registrations are more organ-idiomatic. The transparency has also something to do with his choice of organ. He plays on a neo baroque Metzler organ, which is less "bass-heavy" but at the same time unfortunately paler and lacking in character compared to Walcha´s Alkmaar organ. Rübsam II (Naxos) is played on an American built modern organ, the sound of which has got some romantic flavour, and he seems to aim at "colourful" registrations, which IMO do not serve the work that well. I refrain from mentioning his relation to tempo (Rübsam II) which indeed is very special and at times hard to stand.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Clever Hans on August 20, 2011, 04:57:31 AM
The word "definitive" is not part of my vocabularium in a context of musical interpretation. But Leonhardt´s second AoF recording has IMO got an aura of congeniality about it, and represents the closest, how I think (I may be wrong) Bach himself might have played the work.

I figured you would react to that statement--Leonhardt's Bach playing is my exception--and feel similarly.
Although I think other styles can be justified from a historical perspective, whether purely authentic or not. Specifically Italianate styles, because of the path of influence, even when we can be fairly sure that Bach and nearby musicians would not have performed his works in such a way. Likewise Haydn sonatas perhaps would have been played differently in England than in Austria--but then his sonatas were widely distributed. It follows then that one could look at Bach playing once his works began to be distributed. Or sometimes I think it may be fun in Mozart piano concertos to split the difference between fortepianos of his time and modern grands, and try a later Erard, for example.

Rogg uses the Walcha organ arrangement...

Thanks again for your insights.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on August 20, 2011, 08:02:17 AM
But Leonhardt´s second AoF recording has IMO got an aura of congeniality about it, and represents the closest, how I think (I may be wrong) Bach himself might have played the work.


I thought you thought that it was intended for organ. Or do you just mean that the articulation, ornamentation, voicing, tempos etc are in line with what we can infer generally about how Bach played things on the harpsichord?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 20, 2011, 12:49:27 PM
I thought you thought that it was intended for organ.

The AoF was obviously written with the keyboard manualiter in mind - in the first hand the harpsichord, in the second hand the organ manualiter, considering the fact that all of it (except the two mirror fugues) can be played with two hands.

Harpsichord or organ manualiter.

Or do you just mean that the articulation, ornamentation, voicing, tempos etc are in line with what we can infer generally about how Bach played things on the harpsichord?

Yes, even if some of this is conjecture. Leonhardt recorded the AoF twice on harpsichord. What a pity he did not record it on organ too. I can not from the top of my head recall any organist who quite has absorbed the style of his second recording. Rübsam claimed in an interview that he did in his (Rübsam´s) first recording , but I think the closest we get is Tachezi.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 20, 2011, 08:08:50 PM
Yes, this is the one. I have not heard other Bach from him than this, and exceptional may be an overstatement. For AoF on piano I still prefer Petermandl (Gramola). But I find Ivo Janssen sufficiently interesting to think of getting his complete Bach box.

Thanks.

He's made quite a splash with me in Brahms and Schumann. His Bach will be wishlisted.


Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on August 20, 2011, 09:04:51 PM
Harpsichord or organ manualiter.


Aha.

I think the closest we get is Tachezi.

His AoF is one of the ones I have known for longest and it's one which I enjoy very much.

By coincidence I was listening to Harnoncourt's Musical Offering yesterday and was struck by the beauty of Tachezi's harpsichord. Any suggestions for how I can hear more harpsichord playing like that -- has he recorded other harpsichord music?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 21, 2011, 09:56:18 AM

His [Tachezi´s] AoF is one of the ones I have known for longest and it's one which I enjoy very much.

By coincidence I was listening to Harnoncourt's Musical Offering yesterday and was struck by the beauty of Tachezi's harpsichord. Any suggestions for how I can hear more harpsichord playing like that -- has he recorded other harpsichord music?

Tachezi contributed to a lot of the Concentus Musicus recordings as continuo player, and even as a soloist (f.i. in Händel´s organ concertos and in Bach´s d-minor harpsichord concerto BWV 1052), but he made only a few solo recordings and preferably on organ. Other than his solo harpsichord in the Musical Offering I only know of his solo harpsichord contribution to Hermann Scherchen´s Art of Fugue for Westminster (ca.1964), Tachezi playing the four Canons. His playing in these is (IIRC -parted with the recording -LP- many years ago) a bit stiff, and he was not well served by the engineer. He also plays cembalo obligato on Alice Harnoncourt´s recording of the Bach violin/harpsichord sonatas and on Nicolaus Harnoncourts recording of the viola da gamba/harpsichord sonatas.

On organ he has recorded two Bach LPs (later released on CD) for Telefunken in 1985 on the G. Silbermann organ of the castle church in Dresden. His playing on these is very informed and commited and reminds much of Anton Heiller and is equally impressive.

Concerning the instrument he uses in the Musical Offering my item of the CD does not tell, but a GMG member some time ago wrote, that it is an instrument by Martin Skowroneck. I think the soft and beautiful sound of this instrument tells that it must be the same instrument he uses in the BWV 1052 (Skowroneck after Italian models ca. 1700) in contrast to the Skowroneck after J.D. Dulcken, which Leonhardt used for many of his recordings (e.g. AoF II and WTC book II), and which has got a more crisp sound.

Tachezi´s AoF was recorded ca.1977 on a neobaroque rather small Ahrend organ (22 stops on two manuals and pedal). He uses the pedal in all Contrapuncti except II, III, VIII, IX and of course the two part Canons, but discretely, and the Pedal Subbass 16´ of this organ is a soft register, which does not spoil the balance that much. On the other hand the HW Oktave 2 and Mixtur as well as the RP Scharf are very shrill, and he uses one or more of these in Cpt. VI, VIII, IX, X and XI and also in the inversed Canon. The sound of these stops is almost intolerably incisive in the long run. But I will not blame Tachezi, as close miking may be the cause. In Cpt. VIII, X and XI there are some surprisingly "oldfashioned" and fussy changes of registration, rather in contrast to his informed style elsewhere. Especially his articulation is very informed and considered even for the time of the recording, similar to Leonhardt . After all Tachezi was born in 1930 and belongs to the first generation of the "explicit" HIP organists (along with Heiller, Alain and Forsblom).

I listened to these four CDs (Opfer, AoF and the two organ CDs) to day, and there is certainly much to enjoy from this great artist, which ought to have recorded more Bach on organ as well as on harpsichord. A pity he was not born twenty years later.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on August 21, 2011, 10:09:05 AM
By coincidence I was listening to Harnoncourt's Musical Offering yesterday and was struck by the beauty of Tachezi's harpsichord. Any suggestions for how I can hear more harpsichord playing like that -- has he recorded other harpsichord music?

Concerning the instrument he uses in the Musical Offering my item of the CD does not tell, but a GMG member some time ago wrote, that it is an instrument by Martin Skowroneck.

Indeed. Thanks to Scarpia (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,289.msg448113.html#msg448113), we know that it's one from 1720. :)


Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on August 21, 2011, 10:12:55 AM
Harpsichord or organ manualiter.

Yes, even if some of this is conjecture. Leonhardt recorded the AoF twice on harpsichord. What a pity he did not record it on organ too. I can not from the top of my head recall any organist who quite has absorbed the style of his second recording. Rübsam claimed in an interview that he did in his (Rübsam´s) first recording , but I think the closest we get is Tachezi.

Nice to see Tachezi mentioned.
At first, I got me another Bach organ disc from him, and one with Mozart, but he never made my day.
So it took me some time to get tempted and buy his KdF .... and guess what: I think it's a very good one! :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 21, 2011, 10:18:40 AM
Indeed. Thanks to Scarpia (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,289.msg448113.html#msg448113), we know that it's one from 1720. :)

It is nevertheless obviously the same instrument whether it is ca 1700 or 1720 (typo in one of the booklets?)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 21, 2011, 10:21:30 AM
Nice to see Tachezi mentioned.
At first, I got me another Bach organ disc from him,  but he never made my day.

Which one? Vol I (BWV 565 et c.) or Vol. II (BWV 564 et c.?)

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on August 21, 2011, 10:31:55 AM
Which one? Vol I (BWV 565 et c.) or Vol. II (BWV 564 et c.?)

Probably a sampler:

(http://i52.tinypic.com/sebsis.jpg)

BWV 565, 552, 542, 582 and 564.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on August 21, 2011, 10:56:47 AM
Probably a sampler:

(http://i52.tinypic.com/sebsis.jpg)

BWV 565, 552, 542, 582 and 564.

Had a listen to BWV 542 before good night and well, it's not bad at all.
I guess I wasn't happy with the rather diffuse sound quality. And I still wished for a better recording.
The organ itself is OK btw: it's the Silbermann of the Dresdner Hofkirche.

Well, here's member Marc sayin' good night to yez all, and God bless yez.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 21, 2011, 11:21:41 AM
Had a listen to BWV 542 before good night and well, it's not bad at all.
I guess I wasn't happy with the rather diffuse sound quality. And I still wished for a better recording.

Yes, unfortunately the sound is rather reverberant. However my primary concern was Tachezi´s interpretation.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on August 22, 2011, 10:45:29 AM
Other than his [Tachezi's]  solo harpsichord in the Musical Offering I only know of his solo harpsichord contribution to Hermann Scherchen´s Art of Fugue for Westminster (ca.1964), Tachezi playing the four Canons. His playing in these is (IIRC -parted with the recording -LP- many years ago) a bit stiff, and he was not well served by the engineer.

I played the harpsichord sections of the recording today. You know, I never knew it was him but now that I do know, the  similarities between his playing there and on Opfer are clear, especially in the first canon he plays. I can easily let you have the mp3s if you want them.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 22, 2011, 12:05:16 PM
I can easily let you have the mp3s if you want them.

That would be great.  :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: czgirb on August 22, 2011, 11:12:50 PM
For my taste:
* Organ: Walcha (DGG)
* Harpsichord: Gilbert (DGG)
* Piano: Koriolov (Tacet)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bulldog on August 24, 2011, 01:10:48 PM
For my taste:
* Organ: Walcha (DGG)
* Harpsichord: Gilbert (DGG)
* Piano: Koriolov (Tacet)


That's very close to my taste except I prefer Tureck slightly to Koroliov.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on November 15, 2011, 09:01:08 AM
That's very close to my taste except I prefer Tureck slightly to Koroliov.

You're confusing AoF with WTC maybe -- or is there a Tureck AoF that I haven't heard?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Bulldog on November 15, 2011, 10:16:49 AM
You're confusing AoF with WTC maybe -- or is there a Tureck AoF that I haven't heard?

My mistake - I was thinking of Nikolayeva's Hyperion recording.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on November 30, 2011, 09:44:38 AM
I just discovered this (rather beautiful) track on spotify

http://open.spotify.com/track/4LXkAX4uRjwctPFQXTYK8K

which is  a transcription of the final cpt of  AoF for choir and orchestra,  apparently  by C.P. E. Bach. The performers are the Gesualdo Consort and Harry van der Kamp. From this CD

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61JmF7H8JgL._AA115_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on January 09, 2012, 04:30:43 AM
The problem of the mirror fugues may be solved by playing them on two keyboards, a solution Bach himself hinted at by arranging the three part mirror fugue for two keyboards adding a free fourth part for the fourth hand.


You mean, a duet?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on January 09, 2012, 12:33:30 PM
You mean, a duet?

Yes. And this is how they [the mirror fugues] often are recorded, when harpsichord or piano is used.

All the four part contrapuncti may also be played by four hands, each hand playing one part, whether played on two harpsichords (like Ton Koopman and Tini Mathot) or on two pianos (like Richard Buhlig and Wesley Kuhnle) or on different manuals of an organ (like Pascale Rouet / Jean-Christophe Leclere) or on more organs (like the Wolfgang von Karajan Ensemble), and there is even a recording with two parts played on piano and two parts on organ (Jean-Christophe Geiser organ and Elisabeth Sombart piano - on IFO). 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on January 15, 2012, 10:52:49 AM
You mean, a duet?

Afterthought:

Not a duet in the traditional sense, as all four parts have got equal importance.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on February 25, 2012, 03:11:22 AM



A nice and friendly version IMO. Maybe a bit too friendly.

It's an interesting version, very well played, indeed. But it has certain “softness” that constantly has recalled me those paintings of Rubens with nude women of soft flesh and generous rounded parts (curiously, those paintings contain nude people, but hardly are about any essential “nakedness”).

I see this version as an exploration of the sensual possibilities of the AoF (I think wind instruments play a very important role in this aspect), very easy to enjoy by a wide range of audience when you forget for one minute the "philosophical" considerations involved here. For instance, personally I consider the AoF is the work which most eloquently has spoken about the Unity in the Occidental music (how all new things come from old, known things), but this version is entirely about the Diversity: contrapuntus 1, string quartet; contrapunctus 2, harpsichord, contrapunctus 3, oboe and tenor oboe, contrapunctus 4, tutti (strings & winds) and so (just to mention the most evident manifestation of this "variety": the instrumentarium). In short, this version could be considered as a sort of perfect opposite to Leonhardt or even to the orchestral Münchinger. 

:)   
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on February 25, 2012, 06:06:12 AM
Yes. And this is how they [the mirror fugues] often are recorded, when harpsichord or piano is used.

All the four part contrapuncti may also be played by four hands, each hand playing one part, whether played on two harpsichords (like Ton Koopman and Tini Mathot) or on two pianos (like Richard Buhlig and Wesley Kuhnle) or on different manuals of an organ (like Pascale Rouet / Jean-Christophe Leclere) or on more organs (like the Wolfgang von Karajan Ensemble), and there is even a recording with two parts played on piano and two parts on organ (Jean-Christophe Geiser organ and Elisabeth Sombart piano - on IFO).

I've just ordered this -- and his Goldbergs. I can't wait as I find myself enjoying not just his French Suites but also Book 2 of WTC. It surprised me how much I'm liking the Well Tempered Clavier because I'd read a negative review of Book 1. But in some of the pieces of Book 2 I hear a sort of liveliness and lightness  and energy which I find very attractive. 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on February 25, 2012, 06:31:04 AM
I can't wait

A sampler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0BFw15eZu7E#t=860s
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Leon on March 06, 2012, 08:28:30 AM
Try Emerson. I know they usually get a bad rap from me but their style seems to land very well for this piece. They are much more agile then Keller and their texture if very clear as well.

I have been listening to the Emerson Quartet's recording of the Art of Fugue and agree that it is a good SQ version.  I have not done a head-to-head comparison with Fretwork, but I never quite warmed to their version, although I like their Goldberg Variations exceedingly well. 





I suppose I should give Fretwork's AOF another spin today.

 :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scion7 on March 06, 2012, 06:37:40 PM
Leonhardt's on ProArte.

(http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-iWXCAnShR4w/Tss7488A57I/AAAAAAAACqM/zSyRwRJtnMA/s800/DSC03465.JPG)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scion7 on March 06, 2012, 06:38:15 PM
Did Leonhardt actually record for Pro-Arte or is this some re-issue?



The back of the informative 12-page note-insert that came with the set states it was recorded June 1969, and that it is copyrighted by Deutsche-Harmonia Mundi, and licensed under agreement with them.

This issue is from 1981.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Scion7 on March 06, 2012, 06:40:41 PM
So the now defunct Pro-Arte was like BC.  I have Leonhardt's Goldberg Variations on Pro-Arte as well ...

          The Oct 1979 issue of Gramophone had this to say about the Harmonia Mundi issue:

BACH. The Art of Fugue, BWV1080. Gustav Leonhardt (harpsichord).
Harmonia Mundi 1C 165 99793-4 (two records, nas, £9.98).

The Art of Fugue was accepted as a keyboard work as soon as it was published just after Bach's death, and only this century has it been argued that because it was published in score with one stave to each part Bach was inviting an ensemble performance by whatever instruments you chose. Indeed several ensemble performances have been recorded, as also some for organ solo. It was also argued from the first, even by the composer's son, C. P. E. Bach, that the work was unfinished, and attempts to complete the final fugue have been made, notably by Tovey.
In a really magnificent sleeve-note Gustav Leonhardt disputes much of he above. He cites several composers of the time who published contrapuntal keyboard music in score to show more clearly what was going on. Nor can this be organ music, for Bach did not provide any pedal parts. He proves with convincing detail that The Art of Fugue can only be harpsichord music. He lists places where a phrase had to be switched by an octave to make it playable by two hands, and where a part which should end in a minim ends with a crotchet to release the hand for something else. And so on—Q.E.D.; this is harpsichord music.
Leonhardt thinks (though he knows he cannot prove) that the final unfinished fugue does not belong, and that it is pure coincidence that The Art of Fugue subject can be made to fit its three themes; it is, after all, a subject that will fit almost anything—it had to be, for
Bach's purposes. Also Bach described this unfinished fugue as for three voices, whereas with The Art of Fugue subject it would have had four. I think the argument can be accepted, though it would be a pity if we were never again to hear that marvellous unfinished fugue.
So Leonhardt omits it, as also "Contrapunctus 13", presumably because he thinks the four-part version of it for two keyboards both sufficient and more interesting. Also he puts No. 4 after No. 1, and relegates the four canons to the fourth and last side. This denies the work a final climax. It will never have occurred to Bach that it needed one; even so, in a radio broadcast it might be best to play just Nos. 1 to 12. And these records certainly must be played. This is the most convincing and profound performance I have ever heard. As you listen you realize to the full what stupendous music this is, ingenious beyond belief yet deeply felt as well. Leonhardt never changes registration in mid-piece. His only quirk is to play the Canon at the octave on a 4ft stop so that it sounds an octave up. He uses a good deal of thoughtful rubato, partly to point an entry, and it is astonishing how much detail one can hear. In No. 6, marked to be played in the French style, all the semiquavers are played in dotted rhythm and the tempo is strict. He is a little on the defensive about the unplayability of the third bar from the end, others having cited it as proof that Bach counted on an ensemble performance, and he justifies himself by pointing to an unplayable bar in the cadenza of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, but he might equally have shown that in his harpsichord music Bach's long-held pedal notes are often notional, in the mind as it were. The low D in No. 6 will have ceased to sound long before the bar in question is reached, so there is no point in wanting to hold it down, especially as Bach gives you a chance of reanimating it in the following bar.
You may think at the start that there is too much resonance; as each minim in the subject is played you can still just hear the one before. I can only report that after the first few seconds I never gave the resonance another thought, and ended by thinking the sound very good. The harpsichord is a modern reproduction by Martin Skowroneck of a Dulcken instrument of 1745. I cannot recommend these discs too strongly.
     ~R.F.

(http://s15.postimage.org/tnkvgeqmj/Leonhardt_Art_Fugue_Harmonia_Mundi.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue - Coopmv notice
Post by: Scion7 on March 07, 2012, 11:49:50 AM
Coopmv - I moved your quotes to this thread - feel free to delete the posts over on the Well-Tempered thread -
apologies for initiating the Leonhardt on the wrong thread - (smack to the forehead!)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on March 07, 2012, 03:49:21 PM
Leonhardt's on ProArte.

Yes, Leonhardt´s second recording (DHM) is also my first choice, when it is about a harpsichord rendering, as I have mentioned above in this very thread.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on March 13, 2012, 01:35:21 PM
The Oct 1979 issue of Gramophone had this to say about the Harmonia Mundi issue:

BACH. The Art of Fugue, BWV1080. Gustav Leonhardt (harpsichord).
Harmonia Mundi 1C 165 99793-4 (two records, nas, £9.98).

[....] [Leonhardt] relegates the four canons to the fourth and last side. This denies the work a final climax. It will never have occurred to Bach that it needed one; even so, in a radio broadcast it might be best to play just Nos. 1 to 12. [....]

My guess is, the reviewer means that in a broadcast it's sufficient to play Contrapuncti 1-11, which is, at least to me, more than satisfactory enough as a finished corpus.

Sometimes I even find myself on the idea that the unfinished fugue (deliberately left out in Leonhardt's recording) was just an attempt by Bach to replace CPT 11 as a closure .... and he thought at a certain point nah, it's too much, let's leave it as it is. ;)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 27, 2012, 09:30:46 AM
I’ve been  listening to Rubsam’s AoF (on Naxos.) I think that expressively it’s a wonderful performance. As is often the case with Rubsam’s later recordings, there seems to be a story behind the music.

Here are some random notes.

The thing that struck me when I first listened to it is that it’s unrelentingly intense, until the Four-part mirror fugue, which is like a moment of peace and tranquillity (the structure reminds me of Strauss’s Elektra – with the Four-part mirror fugue corresponding to the Recognition scene.)

Rubsam intersperses the canons with the fugues in quite a usual way, except for the fact that he plays Cpt VIII out of sequence – the performance of cpt VIII is extraordinary – one of the most memorable things in the whole recording.

After the introduction (Cpt I), the following three fugues (Cpt II  to IV) are played jubilantly. The sequence of fugues is interrupted by the Canon all'ottava, which is given a sort of mystical, other worldly registration. There then follows three fugues (Cpt V, VI and VII) which are played very turbulently and very aggressively and un-beautifully. That sequence is, to my ears, simply wonderful – some of the most powerful performances of anything I’ve ever heard.

The agressive sequence is halted by  another mysical other worldly canon. After that there's a sequence of three fugues (Cpt IX, X, VII) which I find indescribable and fascinating – especially the out of order cpt VIII. The aggressive non-beauty (sorry, I don’t want to say “ugly “  because that sounds like a negative, which I don’t intend at all) has gone I think, and is replaced by a strength and determination.

The Canon alla Duodecima in Contrapunto alla Quinta ushers in a less weighty feeling, and is immediately followed by the striking peaceful caesura of the Four-part mirror fugue. The Three-part mirror fugue + inversion is joyful and dancing. The whole trip is concluded with an extraordinary ineffable, angelic performance of the Canon per Augmentationem in Contrario Motu.

The incomplete fugue acts like a sort of postlude. Or the music played over the titles at the end of the epic feature film.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Sammy on April 27, 2012, 10:02:13 AM

After the introduction (Cpt I), the following three fugues (Cpt II  to IV) are played jubilantly.

Your comment here surprised me.  "Jubilant" might apply to a degree to Cpt IV, but I don't hear it with II and III which are quite severe except for infrequent (and astounding) rays of light.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 27, 2012, 10:56:43 PM
Your comment here surprised me.  "Jubilant" might apply to a degree to Cpt IV, but I don't hear it with II and III which are quite severe except for infrequent (and astounding) rays of light.

The images that II conjured up are definately to do with jubilation -- jubilation after a battle maybe, or better, jubilation in anticipation of victory before a battle.

But more generally, and more interestingly (to me)  I think that when you're faced with something as innovative as Rubsam's AoF, you've got to find a way of making sense of what he's doing. It seemed clear to me that he's telling an emotional story with the whole thing == that it was a single work with some sort of narrative which has something something very transcendental and serene and full or awe towards the end, and has periods of extreme turbulence and severity in the central sections. It's a sort of musical pilgrim's progress.

I'm listening to this on spotify so I don't have the booklet. Has he written anything about the recording?

It's his only record of AoF isn't it?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on April 27, 2012, 11:19:52 PM
The notes to Rübsam's recording is available at Naxos' website: http://www.naxos.com/mainsite/blurbs_reviews.asp?item_code=8.550703&catNum=550703&filetype=About%20this%20Recording&language=English#, but they are not attributed to him.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on April 28, 2012, 05:23:07 AM
The idea of playing the four canons between the groups of contrapuncti in the sequence of growing complexity (all ottava, all decima, all duodecima and in contrario motu) is not Rübsam´s. This has been done by many other performers. Nor is the idea of putting the contrapunctus VIII just before contrapunctus XI new, and stems from the fact, that they are "paired" in this way in the earlier (looked at in the retrospectroscope incomplete) manuscript version (autographe) of the work. They also have got the variation of the main subject as well as the most important countersubject in common.

Well, Rübsams Naxos AoF is certainly special - actually the most special of the 41 organ versions I know, with the possible exception of the version by Jens E Christensen. I am not as happy with some of Rübsam´s registrations as you are, - in these ears they disturb the equilibrium. And like Sammy I can not recognise the jubilant quality you mention in cpt.s II and III.

Rubsam recorded the AoF in 1978 just after completing his first Bach integral (Philips). The AoF was subsequently released separately (on LP), but when Philips rereleased the integral on CD, they included this recording of the AoF. It is very different from the Naxos - as are the two Bach integrals. Some time ago Marc published a link to a website from where the first integral including the AoF might be downloaded.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on April 28, 2012, 05:53:25 AM
It is very different from the Naxos - as are the two Bach integrals. Some time ago Marc published a link to a website from where the first integral including the AoF might be downloaded.

A legal downloading, I guess.  ;D

BTW, some days ago I was listening to the AoF on Naxos, and I highly enjoyed it. I supposse Rübsam "late style" is some kind of acquired taste because I really hated it some years ago.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on April 28, 2012, 08:32:49 AM
A legal downloading, I guess.  ;D

Don´t know. I was just stating a fact. 8)

Quote from: Antoine Marchand
BTW, some days ago I was listening to the AoF on Naxos, and I highly enjoyed it. I supposse Rübsam "late style" is some kind of acquired taste because I really hated it some years ago.

I have never hated Rübsam´s late style as such, because most of the Naxos cycle is very impressive, f.i. the recordings from St. Martini Kerk, Groningen and from the Freiburger Dom.  It is  just the AoF and a few other things I think differ a bit from his late style as otherwise represented, but still I find these items interesting at least. 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 28, 2012, 08:44:31 AM
Don´t know. I was just stating a fact. 8)

I have never hated Rübsam´s late style as such, because most of the Naxos cycle is very impressive, f.i. the recordings from St. Martini Kerk, Groningen and from the Freiburger Dom.  It is  just the AoF and a few other things I think differ a bit from his late style as otherwise represented, but still I find these items interesting at least.

That's CU3 and the Trio Sonatas -- is there more?

His 4th Trio sonata gives me a lot of trouble -- basically I really really appreciate what he does with movement 2 and 3, but I just can't get my head round what he does with movement 1. I mean the slow tempo for the vivace (is that Bach's own tempo indication?)

The 4th Trio sonata is one of my favourite pieces by Bach so I always check this out when I listen to someone's recordings.

By the way, thanks for the information about cpt VIII. I'll think aboiut what you said about the registrations. I'm quite curious to try the first AoF, especially if there are some of the bold registrations which I've sometimes found in the Philips set.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on April 28, 2012, 09:21:39 AM
I have never hated Rübsam´s late style as such, because most of the Naxos cycle is very impressive, f.i. the recordings from St. Martini Kerk, Groningen and from the Freiburger Dom.  It is  just the AoF and a few other things I think differ a bit from his late style as otherwise represented, but still I find these items interesting at least.

Yes, in the last time, I have started to enjoy his deliberate style; but as a matter of fact, for instance, Vartolo's slowness and deliberate playing in Frescobaldi, it's almost a "baby" compared to some Rübsam in his second Bach cycle. 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on April 28, 2012, 09:22:06 AM
That's CU3 and the Trio Sonatas -- is there more?

Yes, the CD with most of the "great" preludes and fugues, Bwv 544, 546 et.c.

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/Johann-Sebastian-Bach-1685-1750-Pr%E4l-Fugen-BWV-536541542544546/hnum/6554284

Quote from: Mandryka
His 4th Trio sonata gives me a lot of trouble -- basically I really really appreciate what he does with movement 2 and 3, but I just can't get my head round what he does with movement 1. I mean the slow tempo for the vivace (is that Bach's own tempo indication?)

The first four bars in the first movement are marked Adagio. Obviously Bach thought of them as a kind of introduction.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on April 28, 2012, 09:26:58 AM
Yes, in the last time, I have started to enjoy his deliberate style; but as a matter of fact, for instance, Vartolo's slowness and deliberate playing in Frescobaldi, it's almost a "baby" compared to some Rübsam in his second Bach cycle.

I have had similar thoughts before. Maybe Rübsam can learn me to appreciate Vartolo´s AoF a bit more.  :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on April 28, 2012, 09:30:16 AM
I have had similar thoughts before. Maybe Rübsam can learn me to appreciate Vartolo´s AoF a bit more.  :)

... although, apparently, that already happened regarding his Frescobaldi, if I'm not wrong.  :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on April 28, 2012, 09:34:54 AM
[....] Rubsam recorded the AoF in 1978 just after completing his first Bach integral (Philips). The AoF was subsequently released separately (on LP), but when Philips rereleased the integral on CD, they included this recording of the AoF. It is very different from the Naxos - as are the two Bach integrals. Some time ago Marc published a link to a website from where the first integral including the AoF might be downloaded.

I once mentioned a link with a download (mp3) possibility for the OOP Philips Bach Rübsam integral, but AFAIK that link, legal or not :P, has gone.

Universal should re-release this interesting issue!!
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Antoine Marchand on April 28, 2012, 09:37:41 AM
... but AFAIK that link, legal or not :P, has gone.

Universal should re-release this interesting issue!!

I won't say anymore, but the key word is "boxset".  ;D

... after all it's totally OOP.  :)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on April 28, 2012, 09:45:12 AM
... although, apparently, that already happened regarding his Frescobaldi, if I'm not wrong.  :)

You are right.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on April 28, 2012, 09:49:16 AM
I once mentioned a link with a download (mp3) possibility for the OOP Philips Bach Rübsam integral, but AFAIK that link, legal or not :P, has gone.

Universal should re-release this interesting issue!!

Certainly.

Might it be, that Rübsam himself does not want it reissued, considering the change in his style - and why does Universal not reissue his Buxtehude integral. Philips once owned the right to the recordings.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 28, 2012, 09:55:17 AM
I have the Rubsam AoF 1 now -- someone just sent it to me.

I wonder if anyone else has heard Vartolo's Scarlatti CD -- that for me was a real acquired taste. I liked the Frescobaldi straight away. Now I'm starting to enjoy the Scarlatti more with repeated listening.

A friend of mine who is a Vartolo fan rates the Trabaci recordings very highly.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Sammy on April 28, 2012, 11:13:09 AM
A friend of mine who is a Vartolo fan rates the Trabaci recordings very highly.

I've had those two Trabaci sets for a few years now; quite good.  Trabaci isn't quite in Cabezon's league.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 05, 2012, 07:30:24 AM
Your comment here surprised me.  "Jubilant" might apply to a degree to Cpt IV, but I don't hear it with II and III which are quite severe except for infrequent (and astounding) rays of light.

Koroliov is extremely jubilant in Cpt 4 I think -- I also think it's a wonderful performance in its own rights, whether or not it's true to Bach's music or not.

By comparison with Vartolo, Rubsam sounds quite conventional in Cpt 4. I love Vartolo's AoF partly because it's so challenging. I don't know any performance of cpt 4 which is more dramatic or colourful or turbulent or spiky, on harpsichord or organ or piano.

In his notes on AoF Vartolo says that he deliberately avoided a sort of monochromatic baroque style which he suggests has become the default of period Bach performances -- he suggests that it has its main origin in a knee jerk reaction to the way Landowska played, and has little to do with what we can read about authentic Bach performance.

My guess is he's taking a pop at Leonhardt in the notes to AoF. Certainly Leonhardt's DHM cpt 4 is extremely serene. Jubilant wouldn't be the word to describe it. You can't compare what Leonhardt and Zacher do with what Vartolo does: chalk and cheese. Incommensurables. Leonhatrdt's  North and Vartolo's  South. Leonhardt's Apollo and Vartolo's Dionyssus.

I listened to Leonhardt's and Vartolo's one after the other and my thought was that Leonhardt's was beautiful . . . too beautiful maybe.

Leonhardt's DHM cpt 4 is also slow -- I can't stop myself thinking that, in terms of tempo, Leonhardt stands in the same relation to AoF as Vartolo stands to Frescobaldi's toccatas.

By the way, why does Robert Hill leave out cpt 4? And why does he play the music in such a strange order? I'm listening on spotify, so maybe that has something to do with it.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 05, 2012, 08:26:23 AM
By the way, why does Robert Hill leave out cpt 4? And why does he play the music in such a strange order? I'm listening on spotify, so maybe that has something to do with it.

You must be listening to Hill´s first recording (Music and Arts IIRC), which is a recording of the manuscript version (1743), which leaves out among others cpt.IV (probably it wasn´t composed yet), and also has got another sequence of the cpt.´s than the posthumously printed version.

Hill´s second recording (Haenssler) uses the printed version and adds some of the stuff from the manuscript version as appendix as does Menno van Delft´s version.

BTW strange sequences in recordings are not unusual, f.i. David Lively opens the work with the four part mirror fugues.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 05, 2012, 08:34:55 AM
In his notes on AoF Vartolo says that he deliberately avoided a sort of monochromatic baroque style which he suggests has become the default of period Bach performances -- he suggests that it has its main origin in a knee jerk reaction to the way Landowska played, and has little to do with what we can read about authentic Bach performance.

I heartily disagree. One can call the so-called preauthentic modern style (f.i. Neville Marriner, Karl Richter and Martin Galling representing this) monochromatic, but certainly not the later historically informed style. I wonder whom Vartolo thinks of.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on June 08, 2012, 10:06:51 PM
I heartily disagree. One can call the so-called preauthentic modern style (f.i. Neville Marriner, Karl Richter and Martin Galling representing this) monochromatic, but certainly not the later historically informed style. I wonder whom Vartolo thinks of.

Hard to say of course.

You know, it's not as if Varolo loads each piece in AoF with registration changes, far from it.

But I find him very memorable when he is  colourful -- in cpt 3 for example.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on July 21, 2012, 11:20:50 PM
 I heard  of Art of Fugue in London yesterday in  an orchestration by Mahan Esfahani and The Acadamy of Ancient Music. It's probably worth catching via the BBC's website, where I think it's streaming for a week.

The orchestration seemed fundamentally a study in texture and colour, and it's maybe light on emotional depth. But that didn't stop the musicians from playing very movingly sometimes -- especially the violinists and the cellist and recorder player. I thought the Academy of Ancient music sounded wonderful -- I've resolved to hear them whenever they're playing here. Keyboard playing was pretty unimaginative I thought, with one major exception.

For the ending they passed straight from the unfinished fugue to a lovely orchestration of the chorale  BWV 668. I think that's the best way myself -- no attempt to finish it and the music isn't left just hanging in air. The chorale orchestration seemed to inspire the keyboard, and at last I heard some meaningful agogics there. It was simple and beautiful.

I haven't had a chance to hear the stream yet so I've no idea if it captures the event -- for what it's worth my ears pricked up for the first time at cpt 4 -- at that moment I thought that this is inspired music making. And although it wasn't quite maintained throughout, there were several long periods of magic. There was another extraordinary setting for the second volinist and harpsichord, a fugue set for the two violins, some glorious recorder settings. You'll have to find them in the stream but they were memorable in the event.

What it can't capture is the visual persormality of the performers. The way Esfahani used gestures to exhort the band to play in a certain way, for example. The glances and smiles  all the musicians kept giving each other.  And most of all the demeanour of Pavlo Beznosiuk, the first violinist, who just exuded complete joy in music making throughout. He was following the whole thing with a miniature score, clearly thoroughly enjoying the whole concert.

What was marvelous for me  was the rapt audience. About 1000 people (Cadogan Hall, not Albert Hall!) listening silently and rapt for an hour and a half. All ages. That's often a a feature of the proms, and it's a really inspiring aspect of the London musical scene I think.

Mahan Esfahani is a BBC sponsored young musician. First time they've done that with a harpsichordist apparently.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Opus106 on July 22, 2012, 12:00:38 AM
Thanks for the report, Howard. Sounds like a truly memorable experience. I caught it yesterday (live stream) from somewhere in the middle and wasn't quite able to put my finger on where they were. (Also, I was about to head off outside for a while, so no time to go till the end.) I'll give it a listen again later in the week, from the beginning this time.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: GuybrushThreepwood on January 01, 2014, 04:00:52 PM
I just finished reading the 15 pages topic, and must say I am thrilled of how many fans this great work has.

This was my formal initiation in classical music through a not so related source: a book. While reading the now classical Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid from Hofstadter, I realized the hard task of finishing such an extensive and sometimes complex book was going to be impossible without having a deep knowledge of the Art of Fugue, which is deeply tight to the idea of self reference the author uses to explore Gödel ideas. I was quite lucky, since the only recording I was able to found here in Chile was MAK CD, which caused a deep impression on me.

This was 7 years ago, and I have been able to extend the narrow scenario that was drawn by that masterpiece and now would say classical music is my second great passion, being really close to literature. As for today I own 16 versions of the Art of Fugue, being the one played by Phantasm String Quartet my favorite, therefore I am quite surprised nobody mentioned it before in this topic: I absolutely recommend it over the Julliard, Emerson, Fretwork SQ versions.

I am not sure if this post is completely dead, but sure is still an interesting subject for me.

I also recommend Uri Golomb article, which has a real nice analysis of the work and a critic selection of recordings: http://www.academia.edu/384041/Johann_Sebastian_Bachs_The_Art_of_Fugue (http://www.academia.edu/384041/Johann_Sebastian_Bachs_The_Art_of_Fugue)

Have a nice 2014!
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on February 22, 2014, 01:23:59 PM
I saw Fretwork play Art of Fugue in London today, in an arrangement for 4 gambas of different sizes.

The model they had of the music was of an accompanied high pitched singer-star crooning catchy melodies. Basically the balances were such that the highest gamba dominated the ensemble and all the others were pretty well pushed into the background -- so in terms of style  it was a bit like hearing Pavarotti accompanied by Zubin Mehta and his orchestra singing Nessun Dorma, or something. All dissonances were erased. All contrapuntal tension was ironed out. The only suggestion of responsiveness between the players was when one viol echoed, sympathetically, a phrase played by the high lead-singer viol. Emotionally they were always uplifting.

Every ten minutes the instruments go out of tune, and the retuning process is lengthy. They played half a dozen cpti in about half an hour and then had a longish interval, I felt there was no need for an interval at all. They had the scores out on stand but weren't reading them -- no one ever turned  a page, it was just part of the show I guess.

I had a good seat, two rows from the front, centre isle in The Wigmore Hall. So I don't think my perception of the balance was due to funny acoustics.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: kishnevi on February 23, 2014, 05:18:35 PM
Not at all like their recording, then.  One important member of the ensemble is now deceased, so perhaps the change in personnel has had an impact on their playing style?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on February 23, 2014, 11:13:09 PM
Not at all like their recording, then.  One important member of the ensemble is now deceased, so perhaps the change in personnel has had an impact on their playing style?

Correct

Could the sound on a viol be so directional that my impression of the balance was caused by the fact that I was looking directly at the high viol, and the low viols had their backs to me?

                                             V.    V.
                                        V.              V


                                                                          ME


For those who know the Wigmore Hall I had the aisle seat of row 2, central bank of seats (B13). So very close and very central. I wouldn't have this problem with a regular string quartet.

Or are low viols less powerful dynamically than high ones? Even on the record, Fretwork aren't as equally balanced as an organ recording can be. I just compared  their cpt 6 with Gerd Zacher, and it's clear.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on February 24, 2014, 07:07:07 AM
Correct

Could the sound on a viol be so directional that my impression of the balance was caused by the fact that I was looking directly at the high viol, and the low viols had their backs to me?

                                             V.    V.
                                        V.              V


                                                                          ME




For those who know the Wigmore Hall I had the aisle seat of row 2, central bank of seats (B13). So very close and very central. I wouldn't have this problem with a regular string quartet.

Or are low viols less powerful dynamically than high ones? Even on the record, Fretwork aren't as equally balanced as an organ recording can be. I just compared  their cpt 6 with Gerd Zacher, and it's clear.

A descant viol may have a marginally more penetrating tone than tenor- and bassviols, but not more volume. Fretwork is a highly professional group, and the members have played so many years together, that they since long should have solved the problems of balance. I do not know the Wigmore Hall, but I think the problem may be the acoustics there. Maybe the hall is so large, that the bass instruments "drown", while the more penetrating tone of the descant viol stood out in your ears, since you - as I understand it - sat rather close to the group.

What was the lineup of the group at this recital?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on February 24, 2014, 08:30:08 AM
I must be going mad. It wasn't Fretwork it was Phantasm. The lineup was Laurence Dreyfus, Emilia Benjamin, Johnathan Mason, Markku Luolajan-Mikkola.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on February 24, 2014, 09:51:22 AM
I must be going mad. It wasn't Fretwork it was Phantasm. The lineup was Laurence Dreyfus, Emilia Benjamin, Johnathan Mason, Markku Luolajan-Mikkola.

We all make that kind of mistakes now and then.

However it does not change my view, since Phantasm also is a highly professional group, and these four members have played together for a long time.. I have not listened to their AoF recording for a year or so (they didn´t record but Cpt. I - XI and the unfinished Fugue), but I do not remember any problems of balance in the recording. 

 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on March 22, 2014, 11:44:37 AM
I heard Art of Fugue last night played by Bob van Asperen and Olivier Baumont. Asperen's contribution was  varied -- cpt 1 treated to very free ornamentation which made me think of French music, and some of the later cpti given some beautiful and natural rubato. It was one of the best baroque performances I've ever heard. He played a wonderful instrument, (Ruckers 1746)  He played slowly and contemplatively.

Baumont played four canons. And they played four fugues as duets -- with Baumont playing the Ruckers and Asperen plying a copy of Hemsch (1751)

As Asperen was playing I kept thinking to myself, what wonderful music and what a beautiful instrument, both visually and in terms of sound. How expressive and  emotional -- how could anyone find this music dry! But then Baumont came and played and I'm afraid what he did was not at all beautiful, not at all expressive, and dry. He even seemed to bring down the duets.

I also kept thinking that this is really organ music, because even on a harpsichord some voices seem to dominate. On an organ you can play all the music clearly, and that seems to be less of an option on a harpsichord. Still I was very grateful to here Asperen and the Ruckers.

The performance was part of a festival of all Bach's harpsichord music on historic instruments. The audience was young -- in Paris clearly Baroque is thriving.

This concert was subtitled "In Memoriam Gustav Leonhardt" Asperen gave a little speech where he said that when Gustav died it felt like the end of an era, but really the only thing to do is to emulate his enthusiasm for finding "the truth"

That's from memory and a translation of Asperen's French, but you'll be able to hear it for yourself because I believe the concert will be broadcast on culturebox.fr, citedelamusiquelive.tv, France2 and Mezzo.

http://www.citedelamusiquelive.tv/concert/1015040/bob-van-asperen-olivier-baumont-johann-sebastian-bach.html

Oh and this time, I'm sure I have the names of the performers right! Just checked and it wasn't Beausejour.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: torut on October 08, 2014, 09:16:51 AM
Bach: The Art of Fugue - Angela Hewitt (piano), Hyperion CDA67980


Release date: October 14, 2014
It's already available at the Hyperion web site.
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA67980&vw=dc (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA67980&vw=dc)

This is very interesting to me. I have most of her recordings of Bach's solo keyboard works, which I like a lot.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: torut on October 17, 2014, 09:35:10 PM
I just finished reading the 15 pages topic, and must say I am thrilled of how many fans this great work has.

This was my formal initiation in classical music through a not so related source: a book. While reading the now classical Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid from Hofstadter, I realized the hard task of finishing such an extensive and sometimes complex book was going to be impossible without having a deep knowledge of the Art of Fugue, which is deeply tight to the idea of self reference the author uses to explore Gödel ideas. I was quite lucky, since the only recording I was able to found here in Chile was MAK CD, which caused a deep impression on me.

This was 7 years ago, and I have been able to extend the narrow scenario that was drawn by that masterpiece and now would say classical music is my second great passion, being really close to literature. As for today I own 16 versions of the Art of Fugue, being the one played by Phantasm String Quartet my favorite, therefore I am quite surprised nobody mentioned it before in this topic: I absolutely recommend it over the Julliard, Emerson, Fretwork SQ versions.

I am not sure if this post is completely dead, but sure is still an interesting subject for me.

I also recommend Uri Golomb article, which has a real nice analysis of the work and a critic selection of recordings: http://www.academia.edu/384041/Johann_Sebastian_Bachs_The_Art_of_Fugue (http://www.academia.edu/384041/Johann_Sebastian_Bachs_The_Art_of_Fugue)

Have a nice 2014!
It was the Hofstadter's book that excited my curiosity about The Art of Fugue a long time ago. It's an amazing book and I was totally mesmerized. I first purchased the CD of Münchinger / Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and for some reason, it felt so dull that I almost disliked the music itself. However, after many years not touching it at all, when I listened to the album a few days ago, it turned out to be a very fine performance. I enjoyed the whole album very much. I have Gould and Delmé Quartet (Simpson's arrangement), which are very nice. I also have Menno Van Delft's recoding but have not listened to it enough. I feel it sounds too slow.

I've been listening to Hewitt's album. I believe it is truly excellent. Each voice is played very clearly with sensible articulation, and the piano sounds never get muddy. I think her clear touch is influenced by Gould, who she admires.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 06, 2015, 02:09:42 AM
(http://c3.cduniverse.ws/resized/250x500/music/359/1610359.jpg)

This is a version for four hands, four feet and one organ. The limbs belong to Pacale Rouet and Jean Christophe Leclère. The instrument is at the Abbatiale  Notre De de Mouzon in the Ardennes. Pretty contemporary with the music and very very French - colours which would be wonderful in Clérabmault for sure. The style is very much à l'Isoir in my opinion - that's to say, there's a speedy, psychodelic trippy feeling about it, even more so than in Isoir's recording.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on June 27, 2016, 10:56:27 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51pmSQfG7tL.jpg)

The authentically restored early organ of St Laurentius Gräfenrode sounds distinctive. I can't find any details about the tuning, but it's interesting. Franns Wilfrid von Promnitz uses a glockenspiel stop now and then, he claims it is authentic, once of twice I felt he overused it and it got on my nerves a bit. He plays all the cpti in a dancing and joyful way, with colourful registers, fast, often very fast,  but not confused. At no point does he find nobility, delicacy, gravity, repose.  He has no sensitivity to the emotional content of the music. Basically for him, these pieces of music are a sort of rough and energetic play. He has his own ideas about the order. The voice leading is lively, alive. He uses very little rubato.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on July 27, 2016, 10:46:30 PM
(http://www.pieterdirksen.nl/Images/kdfcd.jpg)

Pieter Dirksen plays the 1742 AoF, in the first 12 tracks of the above CD. There's a lot to say about Dirkesn's  expressive and introspective music making, but what struck me most is the end of this early version of AoF - the intense and dissonant chromatic penultimate fugue, followed by the strange, gentle, mystical canon at the end. Tracks 11 and 12 on the CD. It is maybe the best way to listen to the end of AoF.

This is a very good harpsichord recording, and the 1742 is very pleasing to listen to in entirety. Dirksen is really sensitive to the huge variety of affects in the music. The CD contains music from later versions too.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: jlaurson on July 28, 2016, 12:40:24 AM
(http://www.pieterdirksen.nl/Images/kdfcd.jpg)

Pieter Dirksen plays the 1742 AoF, in the first 12 tracks of the above CD. There's a lot to say about Dirkesn's  expressive and introspective music making, but what struck me most is the end of this early version of AoF - the intense and dissonant chromatic penultimate fugue, followed by the strange, gentle, mystical canon at the end. Tracks 11 and 12 on the CD. It is maybe the best way to listen to the end of AoF.

This is a very good harpsichord recording, and the 1742 is very pleasing to listen to in entirety. Dirksen is really sensitive to the huge variety of affects in the music. The CD contains music from later versions too.

That's good to know; I'm always looking for a really good harpsichord version (ironically), but haven't really found one that totally clicks.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on July 28, 2016, 02:11:48 AM
That's good to know; I'm always looking for a really good harpsichord version (ironically), but haven't really found one that totally clicks.

I'm rather intrigued by a suggestion Dirksen makes, that the published version represents a compendium,  and the earlier versions are a coherent well orders cycle made for playing and for listening to. What I can say is that I have found his reconstruction of the earliest (1742 - unpublished) version really compelling.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Toccata&Fugue on August 07, 2016, 04:52:42 PM
If you like it on the piano, then I recommend this one:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/4195R8AGb0L.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on September 24, 2016, 11:43:58 PM
Quote from: Pieter Dirksen
THE EARLIEST VERSION OF BACH'S ART OF FUGUE In the 20th century, several myths have emerged regarding Johann Sebastian Bach's Art of Fugue, some of which unfortunately are still alive today.

One of the most persistent misperceptions is the idea that Bach wrote an 'abstract' score which should be arranged for instrumental ensembles, though it has already long been proven that the work was written for harpsichord. Through intense research, especially from the last two decades (notably by Wolfgang Wiemer, Gregory Butler and Christoph Wolff) our knowledge about the background of this fascinating work has been deepened considerably. The idea that the Art of Fugue as Bach's final work was left behind in a rather chaotic state should therefore be seen as inaccurate. The main sources of Bach's Art of Fugue consist of an autograph (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, MS Bach P 200) and the posthumous print of 1751. Due to recent research, the status of the two sources as well as their mutual relationship had to be considerably revised. The printed version was ranked for a long time as a rather erratic work, in which the posthumous editors did scant justice to Bach's intentions. In this view P 200 was considered to be a sort of sketchbook, the content of which Bach was unable to work out completely for the printed version. This interpretation, which set the scene for the numerous 'new' orderings — mostly in con-junction with orchestrations alien to the work — has been proven untenable. It is now clear that the 1751 print does indeed predominantly reflect Bach's intentions.

This conclusion has, however, not diminished the stature of the autograph, as new insights have been brought about regarding this source as well. P 200 has been increasingly recognized as containing an independent, early version of the Art of Fugue. This new view was strengthened by the discovery, made on the basis of comparative watermark and handwriting analysis, that the manuscript did not originate in Bach's very last years but already in the early 1740s — probably in the year 1742. The work in the form found in P 200 has been repeatedly examined regarding its cyclical character, without leading to wholly convincing results. A plausible solution has only recently been discovered.' Previous interpretations of the version in P 200 foundered because all of the movements it contains were considered as a unity. Renewed scrutiny of the graphological evidence and the watermarks in combination with stylistical observations (in the context of Bach's other music of the 1740's) has led me to the conclusion that the earliest version of the Art of Fugue consisted of only twelve pieces (nos. 1-12 of the autograph). This part of the manuscript was most likely written in 1742.

The twelve-movement cycle is easily recognizable as an organic whole. An exhaustive analysis of its cyclical principles has been carried out elsewhere;' here, a few of the most salient points may be singled out. Two ordering principles which are present in other late cycles of Bach can also be found in the 1742 Art of Fugue: The cycle is completed by a canon in augmentation — a feature which is also found in the Fourteen Canons BWV 1087 and in the final version BWV 769a of the Canonic Variations `Vom Himmel hock, do komm ich her Bach retained this position of the augmentation canon in the printed version of the Art of Fugue as well. [II] The position of P 200 no. 7, the early ver-4 sion of the later Contrapunctus 6 in stylo francese', did previously not allow for a convincing cyclical explanation. In Bach's late keyboard cycles, a movement in this specific style is always placed at the opening of the second half of the work, as in Clavierabung 111(1739), the Well-Tempered Clavier II (ca.1739 — 1742) and the Goldberg Variations (1741). Both in the printed version and P 200 in its entirety the 'French' fugue does not occupy such a position; only in the twelve-movement early version does this fugue take its 'normal' place, opening the second half of the cycle.

The '1742' version exhibits a symmetrical structure with a progressive increase in the use of contrapuntal artifice. The cycle consists of three fugues in simple counterpoint (nos. 1-3) which are followed by six movements in double counterpoint (nos. 4- 9) and concluded by three more pieces, now in triple counterpoint (nos. 10-12). The treatment of the fugue as a contrapuntal principle contrasts with a work like the Well-Tempered Clavier (the second part of which was completed about the same time) in which the fugue is treated as a genre. In the Art of Fugue 'counterpoint' is thus emphasized by the dominance of multiple contrapuntal techniques. Strict ordering can also be found in the distribution of the rectus and inversus forms of the theme over the twelve movements. Half of them use only a single form; whereas three fugues (nos. 1, 3 and 5) use the normal form, and another three are devoted to the inverted version (nos. 2, 6 and 10). The other half of the fugues (nos. 4, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12) incorporate both forms simultaneously.

At a later stage (probably around 1747) Bach extended P 200 with two new mirror fugues (nos. 13-14) and a completely rewritten version of the augmentation canon (no. 15), which should be seen as the first step in preparing the work for publication. Shortly thereafter, these plans were finalized into the form we now know from the print. The most conspicuous changes which Bach made are the doubling of note values for a number of pieces and some major cyclic changes. In the latter process the `baroque' mixture of genres was exchanged for a more 'didactic' ordering according to genre. Above all, this revision brings about the important practical implication that the early version is much more a concert cycle than the printed version, which has more the character of a rationally ordered fugue compendium with little regard towards cyclic performance. In the ordering of the early version, the theme undergoes various transformations in a consequent and logical development, while in the printed version this development begins anew with each different group. The performance time needed for the 'dynamic' early version is moreover much shorter than the 'static' printed version. The length of the early version can be compared with Bach's other large harpsichord cycles such as the French Overture BWV 831. In fact, the early version is shorter than the Goldberg Variations BWV 988.

The present recording is based upon a reconstruction of this twelve-part early version. The later re-visions in the manuscript have been omitted in order to recapture the original text of the 1742 version. The decisions which had to be made contain, to be sure, an element of subjectivity. Many corrections are easily identifiable as later emendations. However, other corrections may have already been carried out while Bach was copying the pieces. Thus, the version presented here is hypothetical in character — offering, nonetheless, fascinating perspectives. One such example is the early version of the chromatic triple fugue no. 11, where one encounters striking dissonances and harmonic clashes occasioned by some uncompromising voice leading which were only later resolved. Contrary to the printed version, this fugue is ordered right after its pendant on the same thematic constellation in inversion (no. 10). Together they form the expressive culmination of the whole cycle. The two framing canons, which, in their rather introverted, concentrated two-part writing, stand in striking contrast to the two triple fugues. These four pieces form the closing part of the early version of the Art of Fugue. This recording is an attempt to revive the earliest and perhaps most unified version of Bach's last major harpsichord work.

As has already been mentioned, around the year 1747 Bach made an 'interim' version of the Art of Fugue, in which the augmentation canon was completely recast and two newly composed mirror fugues added, which should stand before this canon. These three additional pieces have been recorded as well, and with the possibilities of CD technology one can listen to this second version of the cycle by pre-programming nos. 1-11 and 13-17. The resulting fourteen-movement cycle must have represented Bach's thoughts about the Art of Fugue before he decided upon a much more radical revision —the final version as found in the 1751 print. The present recording does also show that the mirror fugues are indeed playable by two hands alone (which has routinely been doubted thus far), thus demonstrating that even those pieces were conceived for a single harpsichord. The most startling feature of the mirror fugues is perhaps not so much the technical feat in itself which Bach brings off here, but rather the musical wonder of the inverted version of both fugues: these are markedly different in expression from the normal version, reaching out as it seems to the very limits of musical experience.

Pieter Dirksen
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: GioCar on September 25, 2016, 09:28:57 AM
A new release by Channel Classics

(http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/61/31/0723385383161_600.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on October 14, 2016, 11:46:13 PM
(http://www.musicandarts.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/1/2/1226_1.jpg)

Tilney's Art of Fugue. Italian style harpsichord, you either like it or you don't, Tilney obviously loves this sort of instrument but me, I'd like to hear a richer tone and a fuller bass response in the Bach. Vartolo once commented that AoF seems to be the result of southern influences, and so it's nice to hear the Bach fugues played with Frescobaldi, Froberger etc. The emotional contrasts between the opening trio of Bach fugues was very striking, as is some of the ideas about voicing in the final set of three contrapuncti.

Tilney's Louis Couperin recordings, there's a prelude here, are I think a real high point, I intend to collect together all his Louis Couperin and try to see exactly what he's doing soon.

In the big Frescobaldi capriccio on la sol fa mi re ut, he plays it too straight for me. My impression on this listening was that there's no psychology, no soulfulness. By the way, I found an interesting organ recording of this capriccio by Leonhardt here


(http://e.snmc.io/lk/f/l/0986eafb92b5a54d4fff97923f216d5f/4075648.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on November 11, 2016, 02:23:54 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SheOSM62L.jpg)

Ron Lepinat uses an interesting piano by J L Duysen (1926), it is clear and strong in bass, midrange and treble. Its exceptional balance suites his approach to voicing, which is equal in all voices at all times. The voicing is responsive and dramatic and alive (listen to his  way of playing the canon in hypodiatesseron! Not just the voicing, but also the touch and the rhythm, the swing of it, are extraordinary.) He is imaginative with respect to the emotional content of each piece, he finds a wide range of emotional content. The agogics and ornamentation are not intrusive for me.

In just one place he lets does something really unexpected, and the result may be a stroke of genius  or it may not, I can't say right now -  the end of the canon in the 10th.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on November 12, 2016, 10:46:39 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SheOSM62L.jpg)

Ron Lepinat uses an interesting piano by J L Duysen (1926), it is clear and strong in bass, midrange and treble. Its exceptional balance suites his approach to voicing, which is equal in all voices at all times. The voicing is responsive and dramatic and alive (listen to his  way of playing the canon in hypodiatesseron! Not just the voicing, but also the touch and the rhythm, the swing of it, are extraordinary.) He is imaginative with respect to the emotional content of each piece, he finds a wide range of emotional content. The agogics and ornamentation are not intrusive for me.

In just one place he lets does something really unexpected, and the result may be a stroke of genius  or it may not, I can't say right now -  the end of the canon in the 10th.

I am happy to see, that you like this recording. I have always considered it to be one of the most idiomatic - as much as  it is possible on piano :) - piano renderings of the work.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on November 14, 2016, 05:18:54 AM
I am happy to see, that you like this recording. I have always considered it to be one of the most idiomatic - as much as  it is possible on piano :) - piano renderings of the work.

More than liking it, I think it is one of the great AoF recordings. The voicing and energy and affect bring something new to the game. The instrument too is a wonderful thing: good to have a recording of it, I wish there were more.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Toccata&Fugue on November 14, 2016, 01:35:54 PM
I just re-listened to this set. It can seem a little muscular and unyielding at times, but he does a great job of clarifying the often dense textures. Good early digital audio, too.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71qPTyTv0YL._SL500_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 06, 2017, 09:18:17 PM
(http://classicstoday.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/podgerbachartof-fugue-225x225.jpg)

Where this recording by Podger/Brecon Baroque  brings something new to the game is in the simplicity and frankness of its utterance, the relaxed small scale chamber feel, the sense of the involvement and pleasure of the musicians in their music making.

From the point of view of voicing, rubato and ornamentation it's middle of the road. Voices are independent but not in any sort of interesting dramatic relationship; rubato is so subtle as to be imperceptible and ditto for ornamentation.  Emotionally, it skirts an emotional void. She does happy and she does serious and that's about it. She avoids emotionally deep and complex statements à la Leonhardt and Rübsam.

In short, we have an Art of Fugue which is almost made galant. The emphasis is on beauty, poise, simplicity, elegance. And that may not be a totally invalid way of conceiving the music, given that Bach towards the end of his life seemed to be exploring how to synthesise style antico and the galant.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Marc on April 06, 2017, 09:56:36 PM
Just to enjoy (or not ;)): Ivo Janssen playing Contrapunctus I on the Dutch telly.

https://www.youtube.com/v/G5xAo3KAFgU
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: milk on April 13, 2017, 01:03:42 AM
I'm really enjoying this recording. The only other piano I have is Tatiana Nikolayeva (which is perhaps more reserved...less pedal?). This music is so complex that I struggle to say what it is Pescia does that's so satisfying. He doesn't go overboard with whatever it is - (pedaling, agogic accents? subtle dynamic changes) It seems like Koroliov and sokolov get mixed reviews although those that like Koroliov consider him to be a must-have. So! maybe I should acquire him? What is it that people love about Koroliov that others don't like?
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/713/MI0003713833.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 13, 2017, 03:29:28 AM
Quote
What is it that people love about Koroliov that others don't like?

I'm sorry to say I feel pretty negative about Koroliov, I used to like what he does but that was years ago, before I really discovered what how good AoF can be.

Koroliov uses modern piano techniques like dynamic variation over short sections of music, speeding up and slowing down, pedalling to alter the timbre  and digging deep into the notes to produce a bell like rich sound. He's less skilled  from the point of view of voice leading, giving the voices character, ornamentation and agogics. This  impacts the character of the music fundamentally I would say.

Where he really comes a cropper is in the second half, when the pieces become more complex. Actually that's being a bit charitable because the problem sets in before the end of the first CD. He bangs and rushes his way through the canons and fugues in a totally matter of fact way.

I'm sure you can make AoF into  music on a modern piano, but Koroliov ain't succeeded.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: milk on April 13, 2017, 04:26:57 AM
I'm sorry to say I feel pretty negative about Koroliov, I used to like what he does but that was years ago, before I really discovered what how good AoF can be.

Koroliov uses modern piano techniques like dynamic variation over short sections of music, speeding up and slowing down, pedalling to alter the timbre  and digging deep into the notes to produce a bell like rich sound. He's less skilled  from the point of view of voice leading, giving the voices character, ornamentation and agogics. This  impacts the character of the music fundamentally I would say.

Where he really comes a cropper is in the second half, when the pieces become more complex. Actually that's being a bit charitable because the problem sets in before the end of the first CD. He bangs and rushes his way through the canons and fugues in a totally matter of fact way.

I'm sure you can make AoF into  music on a modern piano, but Koroliov ain't succeeded.
I wonder how I would respond to it. How about Pescia? He definitely uses the pedal at times but I don't think he does anything grotesque as you describe in Koroliov. And, I may be mistaken, but I think the dynamics are tasteful. Listening to his Canon III, I find it touching, consistent and lonely. I like this feeling in AOF. But you may have a different reaction. Everyone praises Nikolayeva, do you share in this? Changing the topic, could I get your view of Vartolo and Brookshire, both of whom seem to play around with agogics in less subtle ways than, maybe, Hill? I liked Vartolo the last time I listened to it but I haven't tried Brookshire lately (I like his French). 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 13, 2017, 05:06:26 AM
I wonder how I would respond to it. How about Pescia? He definitely uses the pedal at times but I don't think he does anything grotesque as you describe in Koroliov. And, I may be mistaken, but I think the dynamics are tasteful. Listening to his Canon III, I find it touching, consistent and lonely. I like this feeling in AOF. But you may have a different reaction. Everyone praises Nikolayeva, do you share in this? Changing the topic, could I get your view of Vartolo and Brookshire, both of whom seem to play around with agogics in less subtle ways than, maybe, Hill? I liked Vartolo the last time I listened to it but I haven't tried Brookshire lately (I like his French).

I don't know and I'm kind of not in the mood to listen. Test it out on the big complicated multi voiced  canons and fugues -- my theory is that that's where you need to play in a HIP way to make it into music.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: milk on April 14, 2017, 05:42:22 AM
I don't know and I'm kind of not in the mood to listen. Test it out on the big complicated multi voiced  canons and fugues -- my theory is that that's where you need to play in a HIP way to make it into music.
I would like to see a comparison for the layperson between HIP and non-HIP in AOF or analysis of performances, necessarily including the piano, for this question. This would be interesting and maybe help some of us understand the question more deeply. I see Hewitt get over-the-moon reactions  about what she did in AOF but there's not much mention of her in this thread. I'd like to say Pescia is quite good too, from my perspective. But, it leaves me wondering what's involved here in these performances. I can catch some of the differences in approach. But I'd love to get a deeper picture. This talk of voices and how technical and artistic choices bring out different aspects of the music is interesting. 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 14, 2017, 06:09:11 AM
Well AoF was probably written for a harpsichord, so start by thinking of all the things a good harpsichordist can do to interprete the score. These are probably what a historically informed performer would do. Things like

1. Delay a note very briefly to draw the listener's attention to it, or play it a millisecond earlier.
2. Accelerate a phrase to draw attention to it or play it with a different touch.
3. Roll a chord
4. Ornamentation
5. Stagger the attacks of simultaneous notes in different voices
6. Vary the tone of a note by changing the way you press the key, and hence changing the length of contact between string and plectrum
7. Change tuning


By the way I listened to Walter Riemer's AoF last night, it's good.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 14, 2017, 07:29:23 AM
reaction. Everyone praises Nikolayeva, do you share in this?

Yes I do, if you can tolerate piano played "romantically" - there are two, one from the 1970s on Melodyia and one thirty years after on Hyperion, I think I prefer the earlier because it's more lively, but I'm glad to have both.

Vartolo

Love it. Really moving and expressive, everything well judged. 

Brookshire,

Undisciplined, that's to say the expression is applied randomly, in a way which doesn't add anything really expressive to the music: just a bunch of meaningless  pauses, ornaments accelerandi etc. Some of the tempos seem really too fast, the canons esp.,

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: milk on April 14, 2017, 01:22:52 PM
Well AoF was probably written for a harpsichord, so start by thinking of all the things a good harpsichordist can do to interprete the score. These are probably what a historically informed performer would do. Things like

1. Delay a note very briefly to draw the listener's attention to it, or play it a millisecond earlier.
2. Accelerate a phrase to draw attention to it or play it with a different touch.
3. Roll a chord
4. Ornamentation
5. Stagger the attacks of simultaneous notes in different voices
6. Vary the tone of a note by changing the way you press the key, and hence changing the length of contact between string and plectrum
7. Change tuning


By the way I listened to Walter Riemer's AoF last night, it's good.
Thanks! I see. I will compare Brookshire and Vartolo to see what you mean. I would guess that AOf takes much more discipline than the French Suites. Perhaps I shall acquire the Riemer. I'm interested in the instrument anyhow.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: bioluminescentsquid on April 14, 2017, 08:35:09 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SheOSM62L.jpg)

Ron Lepinat uses an interesting piano by J L Duysen (1926), it is clear and strong in bass, midrange and treble. Its exceptional balance suites his approach to voicing, which is equal in all voices at all times. The voicing is responsive and dramatic and alive (listen to his  way of playing the canon in hypodiatesseron! Not just the voicing, but also the touch and the rhythm, the swing of it, are extraordinary.) He is imaginative with respect to the emotional content of each piece, he finds a wide range of emotional content. The agogics and ornamentation are not intrusive for me.

In just one place he lets does something really unexpected, and the result may be a stroke of genius  or it may not, I can't say right now -  the end of the canon in the 10th.

Old post, but how do you find this recording? It seems interesting but I can't find a trace of it anywhere.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 14, 2017, 09:24:32 PM
Old post, but how do you find this recording? It seems interesting but I can't find a trace of it anywhere.

It should be on the symphonyshare server, let me know if there's a problem with it.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on April 15, 2017, 01:37:29 AM
Old post, but how do you find this recording? It seems interesting but I can't find a trace of it anywhere.

https://www.amazon.de/Die-Kunst-Fuge-Ron-Lepinat/dp/B002HR5ZDG/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1492252606&sr=1-1&keywords=ron+lepinat
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: bioluminescentsquid on April 15, 2017, 06:04:10 PM
It should be on the symphonyshare server, let me know if there's a problem with it.
https://www.amazon.de/Die-Kunst-Fuge-Ron-Lepinat/dp/B002HR5ZDG/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1492252606&sr=1-1&keywords=ron+lepinat

Thanks to both of you! I'll check it out.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 20, 2017, 11:54:55 AM
(http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/sites/www.limelightmagazine.com.au/files/CDA67980.png)

Hewitt's AoF.

In interview she says that she wants to make all the lines sing, keep them independent, use the piano colours. She's able to manage the complex textures that the independent voicing produces in the more complex music. Articulation seems fine. Touch is varied.

I think this could have been a tremendous, bold and imaginative AoF, except that she does one thing which I can't get used to - she uses extreme dynamic variation, in a way which seems pointless to me. It's a deal breaker for me.

Piano sound seems to me a bit dominated by high and mid-range, the bass is not often very present. I don't like that, though I appreciate it may be justifiable.

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/feature/recording-bachs-the-art-of-fugue-with-angela-hewitt
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: milk on April 21, 2017, 04:37:47 AM
(http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/sites/www.limelightmagazine.com.au/files/CDA67980.png)

Hewitt's AoF.

In interview she says that she wants to make all the lines sing, keep them independent, use the piano colours. She's able to manage the complex textures that the independent voicing produces in the more complex music. Articulation seems fine. Touch is varied.

I think this could have been a tremendous, bold and imaginative AoF, except that she does one thing which I can't get used to - she uses extreme dynamic variation, in a way which seems pointless to me. It's a deal breaker for me.

Piano sound seems to me a bit dominated by high and mid-range, the bass is not often very present. I don't like that, though I appreciate it may be justifiable.

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/feature/recording-bachs-the-art-of-fugue-with-angela-hewitt
Thanks for that note. I've been comparing Cédric Pescia to Hewitt a bit. I think Pescia is more decisive and a little less fussy than Hewitt - as well as more tasteful dynamics there. However, he has some romantic moments that some may not like. I am interested in what people like on the piano. Hewitt got raves but the samples I have don't make me inclined to get it all. Maybe it's too thought out or something.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 21, 2017, 06:54:28 AM
Can't seem to get inspired by Pescia, but if you want decisive, try David Lively.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on April 21, 2017, 10:13:42 AM
Can't seem to get inspired by Pescia, but if you want decisive, try David Lively.

Your earlier comment (the one you deleted) about Pescia was more interesting. About him I share your view.

Lively is interesting, but I am confused by his sequence of the Contrapuncti. On the other hand - never mind. Nowadays one can change the sequence ad libitum.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on April 21, 2017, 10:35:18 AM
Your earlier comment (the one you deleted) about Pescia was more interesting. About him I share your view.

Lively is interesting, but I am confused by his sequence of the Contrapuncti. On the other hand - never mind. Nowadays one can change the sequence ad libitum.

I thought it was best to make a constructive suggestion!

Re Lively, does he say anything about the order in the booklet? I only have it through streaming. I find it strange, given that I'm more and more convinced (by Dirksen)  that the early fugues are a cycle.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: milk on April 21, 2017, 03:10:12 PM
Can't seem to get inspired by Pescia, but if you want decisive, try David Lively.
The samples sound a bit like Gould's WTC...a bit harsh. But maybe I need to download a full track. I like a little romanticism these days in the piano.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 02, 2017, 07:51:30 AM
Everyone praises Nikolayeva, do you share in this?

I can say now I prefer the first recording, the Melodya, not the Hyperion, I wouldn't go as far as to recommend either.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 02, 2017, 11:50:32 AM

Re Lively, does he say anything about the order in the booklet?

Npthing epochal.

From the booklet:

David Lively en propose une lecture qui sépare toutes les fugues en deux
groupes: celles où la forme dicte le fond, le contenue expressif se pliant
aux exigeances de la construction et celles, plus libres, qui ont en commun
le souci prépondérant de l’expressivité. Ainsi, les deux fugues miroirs sont
disposées de facon à server de cadre symmétrique: en ouverture, le rectus
de la première fugue-miroir suivi de l’iinversus de la deuxième et, pour
clore, le rectus de la deuxiéme fugue-miroir précédé par l’inversus de la
première. Se cadre formel enserre les quatre canons stricts présentés
en série croissante de complexité, terminant par une cadence improvisée.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 02, 2017, 01:05:02 PM
Npthing epochal.

From the booklet:

David Lively en propose une lecture qui sépare toutes les fugues en deux
groupes: celles où la forme dicte le fond, le contenue expressif se pliant
aux exigeances de la construction et celles, plus libres, qui ont en commun
le souci prépondérant de l’expressivité. Ainsi, les deux fugues miroirs sont
disposées de facon à server de cadre symmétrique: en ouverture, le rectus
de la première fugue-miroir suivi de l’iinversus de la deuxième et, pour
clore, le rectus de la deuxiéme fugue-miroir précédé par l’inversus de la
première. Se cadre formel enserre les quatre canons stricts présentés
en série croissante de complexité, terminant par une cadence improvisée.

This cadence improvisée, I wonder what he means.

Also the idea that you can classify the fugues according to how expressive they are is not uninteresting. I'll listen again to the recording tomorrow if I can.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mahlerian on May 02, 2017, 02:20:44 PM
This cadence improvisée, I wonder what he means.

An "improvised cadenza" maybe?  Someone with better French might correct me.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 02, 2017, 07:26:02 PM
An "improvised cadenza" maybe?  Someone with better French might correct me.

Cadence is rhythm or pulse, but it's not usual to hear anything improvised in AoF as far as I know, but maybe he's intending something to do with the unfinished fugue, which is placed at the very end. 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 02, 2017, 11:38:14 PM
Cadence is rhythm or pulse, but it's not usual to hear anything improvised in AoF as far as I know, but maybe he's intending something to do with the unfinished fugue, which is placed at the very end.

In the end of the Canon à la decima there is room for an improvised cadenza. But this Canon is not the last in the Canon-sequence, if we group them according to their growing complexity. Maybe I also need to relisten to Lively.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 03, 2017, 03:35:35 AM
In the end of the Canon à la decima there is room for an improvised cadenza.

I thought as much, it explains why I was so surprised by what I heard in Ron Lepinat's performance.

I'm, pretty sure that the french for cadenza is cadenza and cadence means rhythm. Je pense qu'on peut parler de la cadence scolaire, par exemple, ou la cadence de travaille. Mais je ne suis pas francophone.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: milk on May 06, 2017, 04:53:31 PM
I thought as much, it explains why I was so surprised by what I heard in Ron Lepinat's performance.

I'm, pretty sure that the french for cadenza is cadenza and cadence means rhythm. Je pense qu'on peut parler de la cadence scolaire, par exemple, ou la cadence de travaille. Mais je ne suis pas francophone.
I want Lepinat more than ever. It's not for download anywhere. I've been listening to Lively: so, no pedal and very subtle dynamics, right? Almost like a harpsichord on the piano? So, this is very clear voicing. And the distinguishing feature of the piano is boiled down to the color of the piano? I wonder, why do some people prefer this on AOF against WTC? I admit I get annoyed with heavy dynamics but am more open to other piano "tricks." I wonder about the case for people's different tastes when it comes to Bach on the piano? What's in and what's out and is AOF a special case?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 06, 2017, 11:32:24 PM
I want Lepinat more than ever.

Here, rather inexpensiva:

https://www.amazon.de/Die-Kunst-Fuge-Ron-Lepinat/dp/B002HR5ZDG/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1494145855&sr=1-1&keywords=ron+lepinat

Edit:
and here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B002HR5ZDG/ref=tmm_acd_used_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=used&qid=1494146104&sr=1-1
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 07, 2017, 02:47:10 AM
I want Lepinat more than ever. It's not for download anywhere. I've been listening to Lively: so, no pedal and very subtle dynamics, right? Almost like a harpsichord on the piano? So, this is very clear voicing. And the distinguishing feature of the piano is boiled down to the color of the piano? I wonder, why do some people prefer this on AOF against WTC? I admit I get annoyed with heavy dynamics but am more open to other piano "tricks." I wonder about the case for people's different tastes when it comes to Bach on the piano? What's in and what's out and is AOF a special case?

The Lepinat is a rarity which may never be rereleased, snap it up if you can.

Years ago I asked Thierry Mechler to rerelease his piano AoF, and he responded by putting it here

https://soundcloud.com/thierry-mechler/sets/die-kunst-der-fuge

It's not a favourite of mine but there are interesting ideas there and it's well worth downloading I think.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 07, 2017, 03:02:37 AM
I want Lepinat more than ever. It's not for download anywhere. I've been listening to Lively: so, no pedal and very subtle dynamics, right? Almost like a harpsichord on the piano? So, this is very clear voicing. And the distinguishing feature of the piano is boiled down to the color of the piano? I wonder, why do some people prefer this on AOF against WTC? I admit I get annoyed with heavy dynamics but am more open to other piano "tricks." I wonder about the case for people's different tastes when it comes to Bach on the piano? What's in and what's out and is AOF a special case?

I think the vigour of it is also a distinguishing feature, esp on modern piano where they tend to play languidly and sweetly. I'm not sure he really plumbs the emotional possibilities of the music, despite that booklet note that Premont posted.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: milk on May 07, 2017, 04:59:36 AM
I think the vigour of it is also a distinguishing feature, esp on modern piano where they tend to play languidly and sweetly. I'm not sure he really plumbs the emotional possibilities of the music, despite that booklet note that Premont posted.
I'm a download only person. I'm not an audiophile since I'm such a nomad. So Reimer is another one not for download that I want. That's good too, right?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 08, 2017, 06:55:54 AM
(https://www.hbdirect.com/coverm/thumbnails/5991813278425.jpg)

My impression is that Balint Karosi's AoF is a attractive, expressively mainstream HIP performance, with the distinguishing feature that some of the pieces are on a neo-baroque organ (Richards and Fowkes op 10), and others are on harpsichord apart from one on clavichord.

The reason for posting about it here is this claim in the (interesting) booklet essay by Balint Karosi

Quote
The present recording presents all commonly available keyboard instruments to Bach (except the Lautenwerk and the fortepiano which he did not particularly like). I only use my feet on the pedals in #14 for dramatic effect.

Do we really know that Bach didn't like Lautenwerk and piano?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 08, 2017, 08:30:24 AM
My impression is that Balint Karosi's AoF is a attractive, expressively mainstream HIP performance, with the distinguishing feature that some of the pieces are on a neo-baroque organ (Richards and Fowkes op 10), and others are on harpsichord apart from one on clavichord.

The reason for posting about it here is this claim in the (interesting) booklet essay by Balint Karosi

Do we really know that Bach didn't like Lautenwerk and piano?

Quote Karosi:
I was concerned that the four canons and the mirror fugues might result in an excessively academic Disc Two, so I have counterbalanced the group with maximum sonic variety by performing on the clavichord, organ, and two different harpsichords.

Neither logical nor consistent; I think. Music of this kind asks for very little sonic variety. It is about something quite else.

Quote Karosi:
The present recording presents all commonly available keyboard instruments to Bach (except the Lautenwerk and the fortepiano which he did not particularly like).

And this is of course nonsense. We know nothing about Bach's opinion of these two instruments.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: kishnevi on May 08, 2017, 11:52:09 AM
(https://www.hbdirect.com/coverm/thumbnails/5991813278425.jpg)

My impression is that Balint Karosi's AoF is a attractive, expressively mainstream HIP performance, with the distinguishing feature that some of the pieces are on a neo-baroque organ (Richards and Fowkes op 10), and others are on harpsichord apart from one on clavichord.

The reason for posting about it here is this claim in the (interesting) booklet essay by Balint Karosi

Do we really know that Bach didn't like Lautenwerk and piano?

The liner notes to Elizabeth Farr's recording on Naxos argue that Bach liked the lautenwerk so well he had at least two built for him, and wrote the lute works for the lautenwerk, not the lute.  I must admit I didn't like the instrument Farr herself used  in that recording.

As for fortepiano, Wikipedia yielded this link via the Wayback machine
https://web.archive.org/web/20130613105200/http://www.jc-neupert.de/e/instr_2/silber_ham.htm

Quote
At the beginning there may have been some difficulties with Silbermann's fortepianos, because Johann Sebastian Bach criticized the weak sound of the instrument's treble and the too heavy touch of the keyboard. However, when Silbermann improved his instruments decisively, evidently as a result of a detailed examination of a Cristofori fortepiano, Bach gave them his "complete approval".

For Johann Sebastian Bach a renewed encounter with a Silbermann fortepiano occurred, when he visited the Prussian King Friedrich II at the palace of Potsdam in 1747. On this occasion Friedrich II gave Johann Sebastian Bach the famous "King's Theme". Johann Sebastian Bach improvised directly on the king's Silbermann fortepiano a Ricercare for three voices that met with his majesty's "most gracious pleasure".
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 08, 2017, 01:15:36 PM
The liner notes to Elizabeth Farr's recording on Naxos argue that Bach liked the lautenwerk so well he had at least two built for him, and wrote the lute works for the lautenwerk, not the lute.  I must admit I didn't like the instrument Farr herself used  in that recording.

As for fortepiano, Wikipedia yielded this link via the Wayback machine
https://web.archive.org/web/20130613105200/http://www.jc-neupert.de/e/instr_2/silber_ham.htm

But we have no direct statements from Bach about either of these instruments. And particularly the "complete approval" of Silbermann's fortepianos might be made for commercial reasons, because Bach acted as agent for Silbermann's instruments.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Gordo on May 08, 2017, 01:25:48 PM
Quote Karosi:
The present recording presents all commonly available keyboard instruments to Bach (except the Lautenwerk and the fortepiano which he did not particularly like).

And this is of course nonsense. We know nothing about Bach's opinion of these two instruments.

And several hints indicate he loved the lautenwerk:

Quote
J.S. Bach's connection with and interest in the Lautenwerk was considerable. He clearly liked the combination of softness with strength which these instruments are capable of producing, and he is known to have drawn up his own specifications for such an instrument to be built for him by Hildebrandt. In an annotation to Adlung's Musica mechanica organoedi, Johann Friedrich Agricola described a Lautenwerk that belonged to Bach:

The editor of these notes remembers having seen and heard a "Lautenclavicymbel" in Leipzig in about 1740, designed by Mr. Johann Sebastian Bach and made by Mr. Zacharias Hildebrand, which was smaller in size than a normal harpsichord but in all other respects similar. It had two choirs of gut strings, and a so-called little octave of brass strings. It is true that in its normal setting (that is, when only one stop was drawn) it sounded more like a theorbo than a lute. But if one drew the lute-stop (such as is found on a harpsichord) together with the cornet stop [?the 4' brass stop undamped], one could almost deceive professional lutenists.”

The inventory of Bach's possessions at the time of his death reveals that he owned two such instruments, as well as three harpsichords, one lute and a spinet.

http://www.baroquemusic.org/barluthp.html
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 08, 2017, 01:39:49 PM
And several hints indicate he loved the lautenwerk:

http://www.baroquemusic.org/barluthp.html

Yes, I think you are right, but we only have indirect "proof". That he got some lautenwerk's built for him, does not prove, that he was satisfied with the results.

However my reaction was caused by Karosi's claim, that Bach might not like the instrument that much. This is certainly an unfounded claim.

Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: kishnevi on May 08, 2017, 04:16:02 PM
But we have no direct statements from Bach about either of these instruments. And particularly the "complete approval" of Silbermann's fortepianos might be made for commercial reasons, because Bach acted as agent for Silbermann's instruments.

I think he would not be an agent if he disliked the fortepiano.

(But now I am bit confused. Was Silbermann the piano builder the same as Silbermann the organ builder?)
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: bioluminescentsquid on May 08, 2017, 07:14:39 PM
I think he would not be an agent if he disliked the fortepiano.

(But now I am bit confused. Was Silbermann the piano builder the same as Silbermann the organ builder?)

Yes. Gottfried Silbermann; a harpsichord and a clavichord supposedly from his hand also exist.

Bach and Silbermann had a love-hate relationship; Bach praised his instruments (and played at the inaugurations of several of his instruments e.g. Dresden Frauenkirche) but criticized him mainly for his temperament and possibly his relative tonal conservatism when compared to e.g. Trost, Hildebrandt etc. (Silbermann mass-produced many organs with identical stoplists, while the others were more apt to experiment with different reeds, strings, etc.)

For lautenwerk recordings try out Rubsam's recordings. Mandryka introduced them and I've gotten addicted.
https://www.wolfgangrubsam.com/the-lautenwerk
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on May 08, 2017, 11:50:08 PM
I think he would not be an agent if he disliked the fortepiano.

Probably not, but it is hard to know for sure (Bach really needed the possible income from his agency), and no definite conclusions can be made.

Quote from: Jeffrey Smith
(But now I am bit confused. Was Silbermann the piano builder the same as Silbermann the organ builder?)

Gottfried Silbermann as stated by bioluminescentsquid above, - not to confuse with his brother the organ builder Andreas Silbermann and Andreas' son the organ builder Johan Andreas.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 09, 2017, 12:52:32 AM
Just coming at this question of piano from a slightly different direction.

If you listen to Enrico Baiano playing Scarlatti K481, I think the sustain of the piano in that sonata sounds so good that it's not crazy to imagine that DS intended a piano effect. Same for the dynamics in Baiano's k 426. In Bach, I can't ever remember hearing a piano performance which is so convincing, maybe I'm forgetting something. The obvious thing to think about would be the Ricercar à 3 from Opfer, but I wouldn't say that piano performances of that are so convincing, I mean their OK but  they don't make me think that the music has finally found its natural home again.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on May 08, 2018, 12:47:00 PM
In Marie Claire Alain's second recording she wrote an essay praising a book called L'art de la fugue de J.S. Bach by Jacques Chailley (Alfonse Leduc, Paris, 1971) The book includes a discographical study by Christine Prost, which contains these perceptive notes on Walcha. My rapid and unrevised, unchecked translation.

Quote
The organ at St Laurent Alkmaar has the clear and intense sounds of a baroque instrument. H Walcha uses it with economy, which gives his interpretation a perfect lucidity of line, in  a beautiful atmosphere which is both introspective and paired down to the essentials. The whole thing is deliberately austere, but sensitive.  These parts stand out for different reasons

cpt 8  -- dazzling, superb
cpt 20 -- the registration, which is different for each section, allows us to grasp the architecture
cpt 17 -- treated with finesse and lightness
the  cannons -- the varied colours give them a sustained interest
the final fugue, of which the sumptuousness seems all the more dazzling because the conception of the whole is so discrete. It finishes by a chord in D minor placed in the first beat of the bar left incomplete by Bach, and replacing it
 
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: milk on August 11, 2018, 03:11:23 AM
Can I get some reactions to Rubsam’s AOF?
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on August 11, 2018, 05:16:52 AM
I think the harpsichord in art of fugue isn’t as well recorded as it is for Naxos. Rubsam’s own recording is still very well engineered though, especially given that he did it himself in his own studio.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: (: premont :) on August 11, 2018, 09:09:25 AM
I think the harpsichord in art of fugue isn’t as well recorded as it is for Naxos. Rubsam’s own recording is still very well engineered though, especially given that he did it himself in his own studio.


I agree with this. Rübsam must have improved his enginering during the last years.


@MILK: Concerning his interpretation of the AoF I find it - not surprising - rather similar to the WTC.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: milk on August 11, 2018, 12:13:56 PM

I agree with this. Rübsam must have improved his enginering during the last years.


@MILK: Concerning his interpretation of the AoF I find it - not surprising - rather similar to the WTC.
I like the new AOF a lot. I might also pick up the Pachelbel. For some reason, I have more problems with the Goldberg variations, though they are growing on me in spots. I imagine if one likes his Bach lautenwerk recordings, one will like the pachelbel too. And the Bohm.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on September 22, 2018, 03:53:01 AM
(https://shop.new-art.nl/content/img/new_products/1458651361.jpg)

Extraordinary symphonic Thuringian organ here, at Gräfenroda made by Johann Anton Weise in 1736, under the direction of Johann Peter Kellner.  This recording had me jumping out of my seat a few times, the sounds are so unexpected, the flutes!!!!!! The bells!!!! I never knew organ music could sound like this.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: milk on September 22, 2018, 07:31:32 PM
(https://shop.new-art.nl/content/img/new_products/1458651361.jpg)

Extraordinary symphonic Thuringian organ here, at Gräfenroda made by Johann Anton Weise in 1736, under the direction of Johann Peter Kellner.  This recording had me jumping out of my seat a few times, the sounds are so unexpected, the flutes!!!!!! The bells!!!! I never knew organ music could sound like this.
Thanks. I had to get this based on the recommendation. Very rewarding listen.
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on September 27, 2018, 11:52:29 AM
Thanks. I had to get this based on the recommendation. Very rewarding listen.

You may also like Messori playing the canonic variations at Waltershausen

https://youtube.com/v/3BTGGkHKF6Q
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: bwv 1080 on September 29, 2018, 07:03:50 PM
Can I get some reactions to Rubsam’s AOF?

Only have vol I Contrapunctus 1-11,  vol 2 is not on Amazon yet

Just got a slew of his recordings from reading these threads,  so have not been listening long, but its the same stile brise playing and moderate tempos as in his Goldberg recordings.  Works really well for separating the voices.  Really looking forward to vol 2 and hearing the canons
Title: Re: The Art of Fugue
Post by: Mandryka on October 05, 2018, 10:50:53 PM
Michael Finnissy's completion   continuation of cpt19

https://www.youtube.com/v/8lhNMFbkXS0