Author Topic: J.S. Bach on the Organ  (Read 570897 times)

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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3200 on: November 08, 2020, 12:55:53 PM »
I think what Rubsam does sounds really good though -- I'm  not saying it's the only way, but it is a good way.

Now you urge me to listen to it.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3201 on: November 08, 2020, 12:57:45 PM »
I don't think Rübsam changes tempo at that section, he just plays everything at a net slower pace. I like it - too many rushed 656's out there.


I agree. Another slow one, probably my favourite, is Koopman at Ottobeuren on Novalis. Even Don Satz, someone who used to post here and hated Koopman, liked that one!



I can't tell if your Halubek comments are an endorsement or not.

Nor can I, I need to give it more time. I know that I was immediately attracted to his CU3, less so to this, but nothing follows.

(Listening now to the organ music through smaller speakers than this morning - now Spendor SP1, this morning Quad ESL 63 - has made me see how essential big speakers are! )
« Last Edit: November 08, 2020, 01:01:57 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3202 on: November 08, 2020, 03:15:05 PM »
I know that I was immediately attracted to his CU3, less so to this, but nothing follows.

After a few listens, I find his playing a bit boring - fast, light and indifferent. But maybe I'll get over it, it's still a promising set.

I have a sense that the Waltershausen Trost organ is simply so eccentric and full of character that in most recordings of it I hear more organ than player. (I mean, take away the charming timbres of the instrument and you are left with a rather unremarkable performance)
I wonder what a really distinctive performer, Ton Koopman for instance, can do on it.

Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3203 on: November 08, 2020, 08:14:14 PM »
After a few listens, I find his playing a bit boring - fast, light and indifferent. But maybe I'll get over it, it's still a promising set.



I can see that, but the sound is good and it was a pleasure to hear the music played in a pretty straightforward way. Weinberger recorded some of the Leipzig Chorales at Waltershausen, I must go back to that one, I remember feeling positive about what he did in one of his recordings of that music, but I can’t remember if it was Waltershausen or Feriberg.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2020, 08:21:47 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3204 on: November 09, 2020, 10:20:36 PM »
Bach owned a pedal harpsichord, right? Do we know if it was mainly a practice instrument for organ works?

Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3205 on: November 10, 2020, 01:35:58 AM »
Bach owned a pedal harpsichord, right? Do we know if it was mainly a practice instrument for organ works?

'3. Clavire nebst Pedal' given to JC Bach upon his death - likely a pedal clavichord with 2 manuals. (some also argue that it was a pedal harpsichord)

Usually organ builders, upon building a new organ, would also provide a set of pedal clavichords with the same console dimensions as the organ for practice. Pedal harpsichords were much rarer.

Offline milk

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3206 on: November 10, 2020, 03:12:24 PM »
'3. Clavire nebst Pedal' given to JC Bach upon his death - likely a pedal clavichord with 2 manuals. (some also argue that it was a pedal harpsichord)

Usually organ builders, upon building a new organ, would also provide a set of pedal clavichords with the same console dimensions as the organ for practice. Pedal harpsichords were much rarer.
wait a second. Pedal clavichord? How did I miss this? Has no one made a recording with this instrument?
ETA: Vogel, I see. But it’s V1 and not streaming.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2020, 03:16:51 PM by milk »

Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3207 on: November 10, 2020, 05:29:30 PM »
wait a second. Pedal clavichord? How did I miss this? Has no one made a recording with this instrument?
ETA: Vogel, I see. But it’s V1 and not streaming.

Vogel, and also Balint Karosi on Youtube with the trio sonatas. The pedal harpsichord has gotten more of the spotlight in the past (or I guess harpsichords in general) but pedal clavichords were definitely more common. Even Bruckner practiced on one in the early 19th century.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2020, 05:31:18 PM by bioluminescentsquid »

Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3208 on: December 13, 2020, 01:00:05 AM »
Somewhat of a random question, maybe I should ask it on a more dedicated musicology place but throwing it out here:

In the booklet notes of both Foccroulle's integrale and Ablitzer's 'Johann Sebastian Bach Organ masterpieces' (Harmonic records), they mention that the fugue theme of BWV 544 (an otherwise rather straightforward scale-based construction) to be based on a certain 'gipsy song, a sad song of a woman in a loveless marriage' (I quote from Foccroulle).

Foccroulle:
'An analogy has recently been drawn between this theme and that of a gipsy song, a sad song of a woman in a loveless marriage — as was indeed the case with the Princess, who lived apart from her husband.'

Something also repeated, independently (?) in Ablitzer's notes:
'With regard to the fugue, Bach chose for the theme a popular Central European song, one certainly known to the Princess, having as a subject, an unhappy marriage, which was the case of the Princess.'

Now, I've never heard of this. What is this 'central european song' in question?

Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3209 on: December 13, 2020, 02:23:23 AM »
No idea about the gypsy song, the comment comes from Gilles Cantagrel, so it’s probably reliable

https://harmonicclassics.com/album/IT_HC_D_0957/

A question for Premont. You once gave me a recording of Leonhardt playing BWV544. It’s a very good organ! What is it? I can’t find it on France-orgue.fr
« Last Edit: December 13, 2020, 03:05:06 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3210 on: December 13, 2020, 03:15:05 AM »
No idea about the gypsy song, the comment comes from Giles Cantagrel, so it’s probably reliable

https://harmonicclassics.com/album/IT_HC_D_0957/

 a question for Premont. You once gave me a recording of Leonhardt playing BWV544. It’s a very good organ! What is it? I can’t find it on France-orgue.fr

Ablitzer's BWV 544 recording dates from 1996. The very authoritative book by Peter Williams (The organ music of Bach ed. 2003) mentions nothing of that kind. I admit that I have read as well Cantagrel's as Foccroulles notes quite a long time ago, but didn't taken their theories about the gypsy song seriously because of the lack of a unequivocal reference.

Leonhardt's BWV 544 is recorded on the Müller organ, Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam. Most of his Bach organ recordings were made on this organ.

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Online Mandryka

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3211 on: December 13, 2020, 08:22:59 AM »
It comes from Cantagrel’s book Bach en son temps. He says it’s based on a bohemian song, and in the same paragraph he asserts that BWV 542 is based in some way on a Dutch song. I’m not sure whether Gilles Cantagrel was a serious scholar or just an enthusiastic well informed journalist, I suspect the latter.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2020, 08:26:33 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3212 on: December 13, 2020, 12:53:17 PM »
It comes from Cantagrel’s book Bach en son temps. He says it’s based on a bohemian song, and in the same paragraph he asserts that BWV 542 is based in some way on a Dutch song. I’m not sure whether Gilles Cantagrel was a serious scholar or just an enthusiastic well informed journalist, I suspect the latter.

About the fugue of BWV 542 it's true that there is a Dutch song very similar. I saw the sheet music to this song long time ago but don't recall the details (title). Maybe some of our Dutch members can help.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2020, 12:54:54 PM by (: premont :) »
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Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3213 on: December 13, 2020, 01:49:43 PM »
About the fugue of BWV 542 it's true that there is a Dutch song very similar. I saw the sheet music to this song long time ago but don't recall the details (title). Maybe some of our Dutch members can help.

I know about BWV 542, it's based on this song: http://speelmuziek.liederenbank.nl/?page=view&id=2334&v=1
Supposedly as an act of homage to the Dutch Reincken, when Bach improvised on the subject for him in 1720.

Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3214 on: December 20, 2020, 02:38:13 AM »
Fitting for Christmas, a relaxed and poetic BWV 547. No Koopmanian fireworks here but I like the subtle ebb and flow it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CESkAetMZjQ

Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3215 on: December 30, 2020, 02:43:50 PM »
That's David Frank. The Clark at Naumburg I have, I can let you have it, but in truth I've never got on with it, and I can't explain why, just me.

While transferring files to another hard drive, Clark and I crossed paths again. I previously said that I had a hard time with it but liked the chorale preludes more than the preludes and fugues.
Coming back to it, I still like the Chorales more - maybe with the exception of the last Dorian p&f. Playing is frankly a little boring, too relaxed and without any sort of internal tension I think, a bit featureless - maybe watery as I used to say. There are still charming spots here or there - like in the first Allein gott chorale, quite lively. The chorales do benefit from interesting sounds that the Naumburg organ makes.

The recording angle is a bit too distant for me, too much boomy cathedral acoustics and not enough of the pipes hissing at you. I think it makes Clark's playing a bit more sleepy sounding, like slow motion swimming in molasses. The impressive 32' reed also does not work well under this recording condition - it just further muddies the acoustic mush. Weinberger's closer recording is definitely better at catching the performer's sense of intention.

That being said the mostly homophonic BWV 715 chorale with 32's on is pretty impressive, probably the single thing I enjoyed the most here.

Meanwhile, the sound reminds me how much Silbermann style is in the work of Hildebrandt - Hildebrandt was an apprentice to Silbermann but when he left to start his own organ building workshop got screwed over by Silbermann who sued him and prevented him from being a direct competitor. Anyways, it doesn't have as strong of an individual character as most large Silbermann organs but the plenum and pedal reeds definitely resemble Silbermann.

Clark made another Bach recording on a modern Brombaugh organ - nice organ but not nearly as charming as a real antique. Again, rather straitlaced playing but it somehow reminds me of Rübsam's Naxos playing which is popular in these neighborhoods.

Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3216 on: January 15, 2021, 10:36:50 AM »


New release from James Johnstone's series, this time played on the well known Treutmann organ in Grauhof. Having difficulty with it, he uses a very colorful organ but the playing itself just isn't engaging. But that isn't to say that there are no good moments - BWV 656 here, for instance, taken slowly and using soft sounds. Or BWV 665 played on an interesting sounding reedy full organ. And of course BWV 668, nice and slowly à la Leonhardt, with the added benefit of characterful central german sounds.

Offline "Harry"

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3217 on: January 15, 2021, 11:47:24 AM »


New release from James Johnstone's series, this time played on the well known Treutmann organ in Grauhof. Having difficulty with it, he uses a very colorful organ but the playing itself just isn't engaging. But that isn't to say that there are no good moments - BWV 656 here, for instance, taken slowly and using soft sounds. Or BWV 665 played on an interesting sounding reedy full organ. And of course BWV 668, nice and slowly à la Leonhardt, with the added benefit of characterful central german sounds.

That was my impression throughout.
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Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3218 on: January 15, 2021, 01:26:42 PM »
That was my impression throughout.

A bit of a shame, since I thought his playing on volume 2 (Roskilde) was brilliant (very extrovert), and I liked his Pieter Cornet.
On the bright side, I looked him up on youtube and he's posted Bach from an older recording he made in Amsterdam. It's also flashy, dashing playing similar to vol 2. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIgxIhby3ns5tyM8mSVkszQ/videos

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: J.S. Bach on the Organ
« Reply #3219 on: March 23, 2021, 07:20:38 AM »


New release from James Johnstone's series, this time played on the well known Treutmann organ in Grauhof. Having difficulty with it, he uses a very colorful organ but the playing itself just isn't engaging. But that isn't to say that there are no good moments - BWV 656 here, for instance, taken slowly and using soft sounds. Or BWV 665 played on an interesting sounding reedy full organ. And of course BWV 668, nice and slowly à la Leonhardt, with the added benefit of characterful central german sounds.

I have listened to this set, and I find that the main problem is the elusive acoustics of the venue, which Johnstone doesn't take suficciently into consideration. He plays too much legato resulting in muddiness of the music, and he has most of the time chosen combinations of stops, which add to the muddiness instead of creating transparency. Actually I find it difficult to hear what his idea of this work is. This organ demands slower tempi and much more clear and precise articulation. The engineer may be partly responsible - don't know. I think of a number of other recordings I own which are played on this organ, where these problems are significantly less pronounced. In the end I feel, that Johnstone on another organ - and maybe another engineer - might have been able to do a more decent CÜ III.
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