Author Topic: Bach English Suites on piano  (Read 19273 times)

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Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2010, 06:25:06 AM »
Foolishness. Bach worked & studied hard, his craft ... and as a composer & player (improvisor) experimented & tried all sorts of things, it never came easy, there were challenges, road bumps and things he had to learn. If you chart his earliest works & life down thru to his mature period you would realize this. It was a never ending search and exploration.

That he had to labor to achieve and improve his ideas and visions, and that he did so constantly until the very last day of his life is obvious. But experimentation for him was only a mean to an end, it was never an end in itself. Is my argument really that hard to comprehend?

Offline Clever Hans

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2010, 12:50:33 PM »
That he had to labor to achieve and improve his ideas and visions, and that he did so constantly until the very last day of his life is obvious. But experimentation for him was only a mean to an end, it was never an end in itself. Is my argument really that hard to comprehend?

You just reframed your argument, contradicting your previous assertion that Bach was never experimental.
But, taking your new argument for what it is--because everyone deserves the opportunity to say what they mean and sense--I still don't see how you can claim to know how he worked, without assuming that he exhibited some blanket cultural functionalism. Excluding the church cantatas and passions, and organ chorales, etc, he wrote secular music.

The WTC, which is stylistic and contrapuntal exploration, and perhaps investigation and testing in all keys, major and minor, twice (two books, the second published twenty years later). Why all keys, why twice? Why the first book's "well-tempered" title? We don't know the answers to these questions, but the WTC seems to fit at least a couple definitions of experimentation. One could also say that his trying it once and then again suggests some and further discoveries were involved. Actually he reused some material from Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann, so one could say he did it three times. 

The Art of Fugue is clearly an exception, even if nothing else is. It is practically an experiment by definition; a variable, or theme, is manipulated along with its fugal context, and the results recorded. 
The work seems to be unfinished, and we don't know the circumstances of why or how. But, it has been argued that the tribulations are right there, and you also have different versions of the Johannes Passion, the 2nd Orchestral Suite, Harpischord concertos, etc, etc. Unless you can communicate with the dead, you can't make assumptions about how his "vision" was realized, and he could be lying to you anyway.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 01:21:31 PM by Clever Hans »

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2010, 02:46:34 PM »
In the way I see it, Bach set himself well defined tasks, e.g. writing a four part fugue for soloviolin or combining a theme in as many ways as possible(AoF), and then he exploited the possibilities. If this is not some kind of experimental procedure, I do not know what it is.
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kishnevi

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2010, 08:32:55 PM »
Remember that we don't have everything Bach wrote.

We certainly don't know what he composed and then decided wasn't up to his quality standards.  "No, that didn't work out the way I wanted it to;  but waste not, want not.  The paper will still do fine to wrap the fish Maria Barbara bought at market this morning."

So what we have is an incomplete record: we don't have what he considered to be failures.

Offline owlice

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2010, 03:33:44 AM »
So David, do you like the Perahia? I like all of his Bach recordings that I've gotten, but I don't have these.

Anyone who has the Richter, is there a piano credit listed? I heard a bit of his English Suites this morning on the radio, and the piano sound is very bright; struck me as too bright to be a Steinway. Maybe a Yamaha or something else?

(Nuttin' like bringing a thread back from the dead, hmm?  :D)

karlhenning

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2010, 03:42:18 AM »
Welcome [back] owl!

Offline owlice

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2010, 03:45:04 AM »
Thanks, Karl, and howdy!!

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2010, 06:07:42 AM »
Anyone who has the Richter, is there a piano credit listed? I heard a bit of his English Suites this morning on the radio, and the piano sound is very bright; struck me as too bright to be a Steinway. Maybe a Yamaha or something else?

When were the English Suites recorded? If they're from the '80s or '90s the odds are it's a Yamaha - per his preference at that stage of his career.
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

DavidW

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2010, 06:49:05 AM »
So David, do you like the Perahia? I like all of his Bach recordings that I've gotten, but I don't have these.

At first I didn't, but the recording grew on me.  One is used to displays of viruosity and daring in these works, but the restrained unassuming performances of Perahia help me get to the music without that extra layer of baroque ornamentation that easily scrambles my brains! ;D  I think which ever way you stand what I've said should help you decide if it needs to be in your collection. :)

Offline owlice

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2010, 07:00:07 AM »
DD, I don't know when they were recorded. Late in his career, I think, but I am not certain of that. A Yamaha makes sense, though, for the sound I was hearing. If a recording uses a Steinway, I typically don't think to ask/look for what the piano is, because Steinways are used so often, that's the default sound to my ear. It's when the piano isn't a Steinway, or doesn't sound like one anyway, that I start looking/asking for the piano credit, and in those cases, it drives me nuts not to know what the instrument is!

David, I love Perahia's clean, clear lines in the Bach that I have him playing; I find these recordings very exciting, in fact!

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2010, 06:57:16 PM »
Perahia is over-rated dross.

kishnevi

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #31 on: October 19, 2010, 07:48:53 PM »
Perahia is over-rated dross.

Well, at least no one can doubt your opinions (and welcome back, been a while since I've seen you here). 

Personally, I think his playing is not dross, but his more recent recordings of the Goldbergs and the Partitas are better.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #32 on: October 19, 2010, 08:58:39 PM »
DD, I don't know when they were recorded. Late in his career, I think, but I am not certain of that. A Yamaha makes sense, though, for the sound I was hearing. If a recording uses a Steinway, I typically don't think to ask/look for what the piano is, because Steinways are used so often, that's the default sound to my ear. It's when the piano isn't a Steinway, or doesn't sound like one anyway, that I start looking/asking for the piano credit, and in those cases, it drives me nuts not to know what the instrument is!

What a novel approach! Hadn't thought of that myself. Though now that you mention it a Bösendorfer seems to be one of those pianos (contemporary pianos) that's pretty discernible from a Steinway on recordings.

Is there something like a personal pantheon you have for pianos?


« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 07:29:29 AM by Dancing Divertimentian »
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #33 on: October 19, 2010, 09:17:20 PM »
Perahia is over-rated dross.

And with a wave of a numb one-liner you have it all figured out. ::) ???


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2010, 09:42:46 PM »
Anyone familiar with Robert Levin's complete set of English Suites?
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Offline owlice

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #35 on: October 19, 2010, 10:52:09 PM »
What a novel approach! Hadn't thought of that myself. Though now that you mention it a Bösendorfer seems to be one of those pianos (contemporary pianos) that's pretty discernible from a Steinway on recordings.

Is there something like a person pantheon you have for pianos?

No; just notice the difference in sound, is all. It's not an approach; it's more like a slapshot to the head. ("This piano sounds different; what IS it?!?!") I didn't listen to the music at all while that work was on the radio -- I was just listening to the sound!

Steinways, Baldwins, Bösendorfers, and Yamahas sound different; the difference between Yamahas and the others is really obvious. The other pianos have nowhere near as bright a sound. The differences between the first three, not so much (unless the Bösendorfer is a >88-key instrument; then, its difference is more apparent), and I'm sure I don't always know which I'm hearing.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2010, 09:48:27 AM »
This recording, of a live Richter performance, was made shortly after his heart surgery, and not too long before he died. The interpretations are introspective (but not in a gimmicky way) and relaxed, with minimal ornamentation. Despite his age at the time, they still embody his characteristic muscular sound and virtuosity (good sound quality too). And the cover photo is nice too. Highly recommended.



http://www.amazon.com/Bach-English-Suites-Nos-Richter/dp/B0002SPPBE/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1267165642&sr=1-4


Interesting to compare the performance of the 3rd English Suite  there with the one he made 1948. This is one place where he became deeper as he got older, I would say.
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Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #37 on: October 27, 2010, 07:36:17 AM »
What happen to number two and five? 

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #38 on: October 29, 2010, 09:41:54 PM »
B of A foreclosed on them.
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Bach English Suites on piano
« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2010, 04:29:22 AM »
I seriously hate when they do that. When they record only part of a set i mean.