Author Topic: The Art of Fugue  (Read 97922 times)

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Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #200 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. 

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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #201 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.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #202 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.

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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #203 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.
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Offline Marc

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #204 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.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #205 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.
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Offline Clever Hans

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #206 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.

Offline Marc

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #207 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.
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karlhenning

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #208 on: August 19, 2011, 09:36:49 AM »
The Art of the Fugue on saxophones, anyone?

Brahmsian

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #209 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)

Offline Opus106

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #210 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
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Navneeth

karlhenning

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #211 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 . . . .)

Bulldog

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #212 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.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #213 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.
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Offline Marc

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #214 on: August 19, 2011, 11:03:38 AM »
I know this one:



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.
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Offline Opus106

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #215 on: August 19, 2011, 11:11:41 AM »
I know this one:



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. :)
Regards,
Navneeth

Bulldog

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #216 on: August 19, 2011, 11:20:53 AM »

DavidW

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #217 on: August 19, 2011, 11:58:09 AM »
Are any of those recordings on nml?

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #218 on: August 19, 2011, 01:19:54 PM »




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.
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #219 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.
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