Author Topic: J.S. Bach on the Organ  (Read 624993 times)

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kishnevi

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1320 on: September 14, 2011, 06:31:59 PM »
Why is Guillou (of whom, I confess, I have never heard before today's posts) a fraud?

Marc

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1321 on: September 15, 2011, 02:16:13 AM »
Jens, a short reaction first. I'm at work right now.

If you search the thread (I know the search function here isn't the most helpful, though), then you will find a lot of your questions answered. Premont, Bulldog, Que and a lot of other members have mentioned some favourites including argumentation.

And you know what: it's good fun reading this thread! But of course I'm prejudiced. ;)

karlhenning

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1322 on: September 15, 2011, 02:23:08 AM »
What's this I read in the booklet for the Erato Marie-Claire Alain set — is it true that the d minor Toccata & Fugue is "likely spurious"? Or is that Rob-Newman-wannabe chat?

Marc

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karlhenning

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1324 on: September 15, 2011, 03:40:31 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toccata_and_Fugue_in_D_minor,_BWV_565

Thanks, most interesting! If it should be spurious (doesn't sound as if the matter could really be proven, even though there's a pile-up in favor of the contestment) . . . how ironic! Since to some degree the general popularization of Bach can be argued to stem from Stokowski's orchestratiobn of "faux Bach" for Disney's Fantasia, eh? . . .
 
. . . and it could be argued that the popularization of Bach is one of the important drivers behind what eventually became the HIP movement, do you think? . . .

Antoine Marchand

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1325 on: September 15, 2011, 03:51:32 AM »
It's interesting to consider the position of some people who thinks the Toccata and fugue was originally a piece for solo violin. This is, for instance, the "reconstruction" by Andrew Manze:

http://youtu.be/aNfox7ORW1Q

 :)


karlhenning

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1326 on: September 15, 2011, 03:58:06 AM »
Aye, I noted that in the Wikipedia article.  I applaud the creativity, in any event!

Offline Opus106

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1327 on: September 15, 2011, 05:04:48 AM »
I thought that issue of the work's authorship was well known.

Anyway, an aside: there are a couple of moments in 565 that make me thing of Italian concerti of the time, especially Vivaldi, with the call-and-response bits in the fugue. Not that I offer it as evidence for or against any statement... just thought I would put it "out there".

Regards,
Navneeth

karlhenning

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1328 on: September 15, 2011, 05:08:22 AM »
I thought that issue of the work's authorship was well known.

It probably has been. Still, apparently not the sort of thing I knew until this week.

Antoine Marchand

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1329 on: September 15, 2011, 05:28:51 AM »
Aye, I noted that in the Wikipedia article.  I applaud the creativity, in any event!

I hope tonight I will find some time to copy the interesting notes written by Manze to "justify" this "reconstruction". Although his artistic decisions are frequently a bit controversial, Manze always explains brilliantly those decisions.

kishnevi

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1330 on: September 15, 2011, 06:15:14 AM »
It probably has been. Still, apparently not the sort of thing I knew until this week.

The attribution question is interesting, but doesn't convince me.  It could be equally explained as the work of a young composer trying out stylistic elements he decided did not work well, and therefore never used again.  And it also assumes that Johann Sebastian Bach did not need a "learning curve" to get to the supreme level of compositional ability he did attain. 

I have heard another theory (don't remember where, so I can't give a source for it) that Bach wrote it as a demonstration piece, either to tryout a new organ, or to show off his own abilities when applying for a new position as organist, and that's why it sounds something like a bravura piece.

karlhenning

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1331 on: September 15, 2011, 06:29:32 AM »
The attribution question is interesting, but doesn't convince me.  It could be equally explained as the work of a young composer trying out stylistic elements he decided did not work well, and therefore never used again.  And it also assumes that Johann Sebastian Bach did not need a "learning curve" to get to the supreme level of compositional ability he did attain. 

I have heard another theory (don't remember where, so I can't give a source for it) that Bach wrote it as a demonstration piece, either to tryout a new organ, or to show off his own abilities when applying for a new position as organist, and that's why it sounds something like a bravura piece.

That all strikes me as plausible.

I think in particular of the differences between the ricercars (a 3 and a 6) in The Musical Offering.  The six-voice counterpoint is much tauter, polished, one might even call it airtight . . . and it was composed at leisure, showing the composer at his best.  The three-voice ricercar is (IIRC) more or less a document of the composer's extamporaneous treatment of Il tema reale when invited by Frederick to improvise a fugue.  If we did not have the anchoring documentation which fixes it so clearly in time and attribution, I could imagine a situation in which scholars "contest" its authenticity . . . a piece which it is impossible to imagine Bach writing so late in life, at the very height of his powers.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1332 on: September 15, 2011, 01:21:09 PM »
IMO there is no weighty reason to believe that BWV 565 with its obvious violinistic writing did not originate in a piece for violin solo. And that J S Bach made the arrangement for organ seems credible. He used to rework the musical texture rather much, compare with the concerto BWV 1052, which obviously also originated in a violin concerto. Concerning the identity of the composer who wrote the violin piece which became BWV 565, I tend to think that it was Bach himself. Among all the early- , high- and late baroque music I have listened to and/or seen the score of, I have never met another composer, who might have written a piece so brilliant and dramatic and yet so simple - the result of a true touch of genius. I think the violin piece may have been written under the influence of Johann Paul von Westhoff during Bach´s first short stay in Weimar (1703). Shortly afterwards, maybe in Arnstadt, Bach may have arranged the work for organ.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 12:46:56 AM by (: premont :) »
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Lilas Pastia

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1333 on: September 15, 2011, 05:25:00 PM »
Too lazy to sift through the thread's 68 pages... Any one familiar with the Hans Fagius integral (BIS) ? I got myself its volume 2 (half of the whole thing I presume, as it fills 9 discs). My current favourite in style, sound and overall interpretive POV is Olivier Vernet on Ligia.

Marc

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1334 on: September 15, 2011, 07:36:52 PM »
Too lazy to sift through the thread's 68 pages... Any one familiar with the Hans Fagius integral (BIS) ? I got myself its volume 2 (half of the whole thing I presume, as it fills 9 discs). My current favourite in style, sound and overall interpretive POV is Olivier Vernet on Ligia.

Since Fagius's set was/is part of the budget-priced Brilliant Classics Complete Bach Edition, I assume that many people are familiar with him. And yes, he's been mentioned before. ;)
My own opinion, briefly: I like him, because he's part of the 'no nonsense' family. Certainly not a desert island pic, but very worthwhile having. Nice sounding organs, too, restored baroque and neo-baroque.

karlhenning

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1335 on: September 16, 2011, 02:38:34 AM »
IMO there is no weighty reason to believe that BWV 565 with its obvious violinistic writing did not originate in a piece for violin solo. And that J S Bach made the arrangement for organ seems credible. He used to rework the musical texture rather much, compare with the concerto BWV 1052, which obviously also originated in a violin concerto. Concerning the identity of the composer who wrote the violin piece which became BWV 565, I tend to think that it was Bach himself. Among all the early- , high- and late baroque music I have listened to and/or seen the score of, I have never met another composer, who might have written a piece so brilliant and dramatic and yet so simple - the result of a true touch of genius. I think the violin piece may have been written under the influence of Johann Paul von Westhoff during Bach´s first short stay in Weimar (1703). Shortly afterwards, maybe in Arnstadt, Bach may have arranged the work for organ.

Good morning!

To be sure, I don't have a dog in this race, so I should certainly entertain any sound hypothesis. And you're already framing the question in a much more reasonable (or should we simply say, not in any recklessly iconoclastic) light.

Marc

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1336 on: September 16, 2011, 06:56:33 AM »
BWV 565:
Johann Sebastian Bach?
Johann Heinrich Buttstett (1666-1727)? :P
Johann Peter Kellner (1705-1772)? :P :P

Or even: composed originally for violin?
(As suggested by scholar Peter Williams - among others.)

Some parts of the Fugue seem to be inspired by a theme of the Fantasia in a minor P 125, by Johann Pachelbel.

J.S. Bach was scholed by his eldest brother Johann Christoph Bach, who was a pupil of Pachelbel and probably used lots of copies of Pachelbel's music in his teaching. This Fantasia P 125 was not yet published, not even during J.S. Bach's entire life. That's why many believe that a young J.S. Bach might well have been the composer, because of the close relationship between Pachelbel and the Bach family.

Because of the both North and South German influences in BWV 565, Johann Heinrich Buttstett [or Buttstedt], who was also a pupil of Pachelbel, comes to mind, too. He was an important keyboard composer in his time, like J.S. Bach he was considered as being slightly 'old-fashioned' during his own lifetime, and he is known for combining those northern and southern styles in a contrapuntal way. But I personally don't find the works I've heard from him as impressive as BWV 565.

Of the Bach pupils, Johann Peter Kellner is known for adapting much of the Grandmaster's style. I once read that some scholars are almost certain that he's the composer. If this were true, BWV 565 wouldn't be a Stylus Phantasticus, but a Sturm und Drang piece!

(And let's not forget that earlier mentioned option: because of the composing style, scholars like Peter Williams assume that BWV 565 is an organ arrangment of a violin solo piece.)

Who's to reveal the 'truth'?

Personally, I like to listen to BWV 565 very much, but it's my least favourite Toccata by Bach. It's a great introduction to 17th/18th organ music though, who ever the composer may be.
The piece has not survived as autograph. The first surviving (2nd half of the 18th century) copies of BWV 565 mentioned Sebastian as the composer. The oldest copy is by Johannes Ringk (1717-1778), who, btw, was a pupil of J.P. Kellner. It wouldn't surprise me if those old sources, if they mention the name of Bach being the author, proved to be more reliable than all those searching and digging 20th and 21st century scholars. But until the real original has not turned up, the truth about BWV 565 will remain something of a mystery, I guess.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1337 on: September 16, 2011, 01:07:07 PM »
BWV 565:
Johann Sebastian Bach?
Johann Heinrich Buttstett (1666-1727)? :P
Johann Peter Kellner (1705-1772)? :P :P

Of the Bach pupils, Johann Peter Kellner is known for adapting much of the Grandmaster's style. I once read that some scholars are almost certain that he's the composer. If this were true, BWV 565 wouldn't be a Stylus Phantasticus, but a Sturm und Drang piece!

Scholars or not - it isn´t but conjecture. The surviving copy by Ringk ought to be more reliable than some modern scholar´s casual guesswork. And what I have heard of Buttstedt´s and Kellner´s organ works suggested reasonably talented composers, but you have to be more than that to be able to conceive the BWV 565. And listen to it, it is permeated by baroque pathos, and not by embryonal romanticism.. Indeed there is no obvious problem with the authenticity at all, only a pseudoproblem created by some sensation-seeking scholars, who think they are so very clever.
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.

Marc

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1338 on: September 16, 2011, 01:37:53 PM »
Scholars or not - it isn´t but conjecture. The surviving copy by Ringk ought to be more reliable than some modern scholar´s casual guesswork. And what I have heard of Buttstedt´s and Kellner´s organ works suggested reasonably talented composers, but you have to be more than that to be able to conceive the BWV 565. And listen to it, it is permeated by baroque pathos, and not by embryonal romanticism.. Indeed there is no obvious problem with the authenticity at all, only a pseudoproblem created by some sensation-seeking scholars, who think they are so very clever.

Looks a bit like this:

[....] The first surviving (2nd half of the 18th century) copies of BWV 565 mentioned Sebastian as the composer. The oldest copy is by Johannes Ringk (1717-1778), who, btw, was a pupil of J.P. Kellner. It wouldn't surprise me if those old sources, if they mention the name of Bach being the author, proved to be more reliable than all those searching and digging 20th and 21st century scholars. [....]

I would like to stress though, that I know of no scholar(s) who actually claim that BWV 565 isn't by Bach. Maybe David Humphreys seems the most convinced that the author could have been Johann Peter Kellner.
And I really doubt if f.i. Peter Williams is a sensation-seeking scholar. He's searching and digging without being prejudiced, as far as I can see/read. As a scholar should be, IMO.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #1339 on: September 16, 2011, 02:10:49 PM »
Looks a bit like this:
Just means that we more or less agree.

Quote from: Marc
I would like to stress though, that I know of no scholar(s) who actually claim that BWV 565 isn't by Bach. Maybe David Humphreys seems the most convinced that the author could have been Johann Peter Kellner.
Of course it is impossible to claim that it is not by Bach. Even a scholar knows this.

Quote from: Marc
And I really doubt if f.i. Peter Williams is a sensation-seeking scholar. He's searching and digging without being prejudiced, as far as I can see/read. As a scholar should be, IMO.

P. Williams was as far as I recall the first to mention the presumed violin original and to cast doubt as to the authenticity. At least I read this theory for the first time in his handbook of Bach´s organ works. His words seemed rather sober, and I did not get the impression, that he was sensation-seeking. But to day you can not read a word about BWV 565 without facing the claimed fact that it is almost with certainty not by Bach. This is going too far.
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.