Author Topic: Bach Goldberg Variations  (Read 67371 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline ChopinBroccoli

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 390
  • Location: Greater NY, USA
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #320 on: July 19, 2019, 10:05:16 AM »
Yes, Sony "06" as long as folks know that's it's simply the Gould "55" all gussied up to not sound like an historical recording.  Personally, I think it's only part Gould.  Let's face it - this tinkering around with the sound takes some of the fizz out of the performance.

Can't see any good reason to mess with the 1955 original... it's such an iconic recording ... I'm not a big Gould fan but I love the original Goldberg; it is a classic... I know Gould fans love the '81 version but I can't tolerate it, his vocalizations are pronounced to an infuriating extent and some of the tempos are just so ponderously slow that it feels like The Goldberg Variations was composed by Satie

Gould was a marvelous piano player but what he wanted to hear and what I want to hear seldom meet despite my best efforts to give him repeated listening
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 10:43:20 AM by ChopinBroccoli »
"If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it!"
- Handel

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 375
  • Location: U.S.A.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Eric Dolphy, Persian music, Sorabji, Scriabin, J.S. Bach. Sex Pistols
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #321 on: September 13, 2019, 04:11:31 PM »

I think all the praise this is receiving is deserved.

Not a big fan of GV. But I found her interpretation fresh and charming.

Offline vers la flamme

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1829
  • Location: Atlanta
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #322 on: September 14, 2019, 03:01:59 PM »
What is the "Sony '06" Goldberg Variations, and what did they change about it? I'm assuming the changes were more intrusive than your typical remaster...?

Offline Que

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 17606
  • Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #323 on: September 14, 2019, 11:06:02 PM »
What is the "Sony '06" Goldberg Variations, and what did they change about it? I'm assuming the changes were more intrusive than your typical remaster...?

It took me a few minutes to figure out that "Sony 06" probably refers to the 2006 reissue of Glenn Gould's studio recordings....



This describes the technical details:

Quote
Gould's Goldbergs have been reissued many times from LP to CD to Super Audio CD (SACD), but this three-CD boxed set—the first deluxe fruit of the new partnership between Sony Classical and Sony's reissue arm, Legacy—is their definitive presentation, released to mark the dual 70th anniversary of Gould's birth and 20th anniversary of his death. Not only has the 1955 recording been remastered anew at 24-bit/96kHz, but the 1981 recording has also been fully restored by going back to a newly rediscovered analog tape that ran simultaneously with the pioneering digital recording that had been used for the master of the LP, CD, and initial SACD versions. The early digital recording offered silent background and extreme clarity but sacrificed warmth and depth. The freshly edited and remastered analog version here sounds remarkably superior, with wonderful body and presence.

I think the '81 shows the biggest improvement, with the analogue recording providing more natural sound than the early digital recording.

Q

Offline amw

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4444
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #324 on: September 15, 2019, 05:36:41 AM »
What is the "Sony '06" Goldberg Variations, and what did they change about it? I'm assuming the changes were more intrusive than your typical remaster...?
The Gould ‘55 performance was analyzed and quantised via computer to get the exact duration, key velocity and volume data of the original performance, without any of Gould’s vocal additions, and then played back through (I think) a Yamaha disklavier (a normal grand piano but with all the hammers controlled by computer). This was then recorded. The idea was to produce an alternative to remastering, especially for recordings that were too old to be successfully mastered, but I don’t know that any other “re-performances” were ever done.

Offline Ras

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #325 on: September 15, 2019, 07:31:24 AM »
The Gould ‘55 performance was analyzed and quantised via computer to get the exact duration, key velocity and volume data of the original performance, without any of Gould’s vocal additions, and then played back through (I think) a Yamaha disklavier (a normal grand piano but with all the hammers controlled by computer). This was then recorded. The idea was to produce an alternative to remastering, especially for recordings that were too old to be successfully mastered, but I don’t know that any other “re-performances” were ever done.

Yes, there are a few more of those so-called "Zenph" recordings - Rachmaninov - Art Tatum - Oscar Peterson:

https://www.amazon.de/s?k=zenph&i=popular&dc&qid=1568564917&ref=aw_s_fkmr0

But I only have the Gould - I like it.
"Music is life and, like it, inextinguishable." - Carl Nielsen

Offline vers la flamme

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1829
  • Location: Atlanta
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #326 on: September 15, 2019, 09:26:32 AM »
It took me a few minutes to figure out that "Sony 06" probably refers to the 2006 reissue of Glenn Gould's studio recordings....



This describes the technical details:

I think the '81 shows the biggest improvement, with the analogue recording providing more natural sound than the early digital recording.

Q

That was my first guess too, but it looks like this was actually released in 2002.

Offline vers la flamme

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1829
  • Location: Atlanta
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #327 on: September 15, 2019, 09:28:34 AM »
The Gould ‘55 performance was analyzed and quantised via computer to get the exact duration, key velocity and volume data of the original performance, without any of Gould’s vocal additions, and then played back through (I think) a Yamaha disklavier (a normal grand piano but with all the hammers controlled by computer). This was then recorded. The idea was to produce an alternative to remastering, especially for recordings that were too old to be successfully mastered, but I don’t know that any other “re-performances” were ever done.

... no way... that is fascinating, but surely this takes something away from the music...? I'll have to listen and see. I enjoy Gould's vocalizations. It wouldn't be Gould without them.

Offline JBS

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3985
  • If music be the food of love, play on!
  • Location: USA
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #328 on: September 15, 2019, 04:08:58 PM »
... no way... that is fascinating, but surely this takes something away from the music...? I'll have to listen and see. I enjoy Gould's vocalizations. It wouldn't be Gould without them.

It would also not be on Gould's piano in Gould's recording space.

Admittedly, those two factors were not so important with early Gould as with later Gould, but still....

I have the State of Wonder set. In fact, it's my only copy of either of Gould's GVs. The third Cd, btw, is an interview  of Gould by Tim Page.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Ken B

  • Guest
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #329 on: September 15, 2019, 05:17:09 PM »
I have posted this before. It is a useful tool. http://www.davegrossman.net/gould/

Offline JBS

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3985
  • If music be the food of love, play on!
  • Location: USA
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #330 on: September 15, 2019, 05:37:24 PM »

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Offline Alek Hidell

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 515
  • Location: Oklahoma
  • Currently Listening to:
    Jazz and classical
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #331 on: September 15, 2019, 05:48:26 PM »
I have posted this before. It is a useful tool. http://www.davegrossman.net/gould/

 ;D I want that Keith Jarrett edition.
"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist." - Hélder Pessoa Câmara

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1238
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #332 on: September 16, 2019, 12:07:34 AM »
Quote
"At last I can enjoy Bach by Gould without the distraction of his humming and other bodily functions. Now he's almost as fabulous as me!"

 :laugh: :laugh:  ??? ???  :laugh: :laugh:

Quote
"This is scandalous! You have understood nothing about the music of Glenn. His singing and humming, as you say, is what makes is music wonderful. It shows that he plays the piano not to amaze his public but to play music for music and for the arts! ...

 :laugh:   :laugh:   :laugh:

Offline hvbias

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 480
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #333 on: January 11, 2020, 08:48:06 AM »
2020 bump, a new decade for the Goldbergs. I've had this Andrew Rangell disc in my heavy rotation. It's wild, but in a way that I enjoy.


Offline vers la flamme

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1829
  • Location: Atlanta
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #334 on: February 10, 2020, 02:58:00 PM »


I keep trying with this recording, really. And I do think there's something there, maybe he is onto something with his new way of playing on this instrument which is more or less a novel exploration in Bach recorded performance. Maybe it's just that I really love the sound of the instrument. But I'm sorry, listening to too much of it in one sitting is just infuriating. It's just too slow, and why (?!) does he offset the voices like that. This man's on drugs. Still, it's a curiosity that I'm not ready to part with. Maybe infuriate is just what he was trying to do. And maybe, somehow, it will become my favorite some day.

Now this one, I really like:



Awesome Bach playing on a modern piano. Recorded in the '80s.

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1238
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #335 on: February 11, 2020, 09:38:44 AM »
...  and why (?!) does he offset the voices like that.

Andre Previn: "You're playing all the wrong notes!!"
Eric Morecambe: "I'm playing all the right notes - just not necessarily in the right order."


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMPEUcVyJsc

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 14469
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #336 on: February 11, 2020, 09:44:27 AM »


I keep trying with this recording, really. And I do think there's something there, maybe he is onto something with his new way of playing on this instrument which is more or less a novel exploration in Bach recorded performance. Maybe it's just that I really love the sound of the instrument. But I'm sorry, listening to too much of it in one sitting is just infuriating. It's just too slow, and why (?!) does he offset the voices like that. This man's on drugs. Still, it's a curiosity that I'm not ready to part with. Maybe infuriate is just what he was trying to do. And maybe, somehow, it will become my favorite some day.

Now this one, I really like:



Awesome Bach playing on a modern piano. Recorded in the '80s.

It’s a lot to listen to in one sitting for me too. But it’s not necessary - there’s no good reason not to stop in the middle, or after each canon.

He slows it down so the listener can smell the roses, enjoy the expressiveness.

He offsets the voices for two reasons.

1. He thinks that it makes the music more interesting, more stimulating, less predictable. I agree with him about this.

2. He thinks that there’s a tradition of playing contrapuntal music with staggered voices, which goes back to madrigals, e.g. Frescobaldi madrigals. He thinks this is what cantabile means in Bach.

The problem is that the result flies in the face of conservatory standards of taste, and indeed the public’s expectations. So it’s a great challenge.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8046
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #337 on: February 11, 2020, 10:33:53 AM »
It’s a lot to listen to in one sitting for me too. But it’s not necessary - there’s no good reason not to stop in the middle, or after each canon.

He slows it down so the listener can smell the roses, enjoy the expressiveness.

He offsets the voices for two reasons.

1. He thinks that it makes the music more interesting, more stimulating, less predictable. I agree with him about this.

2. He thinks that there’s a tradition of playing contrapuntal music with staggered voices, which goes back to madrigals, e.g. Frescobaldi madrigals. He thinks this is what cantabile means in Bach.

The problem is that the result flies in the face of conservatory standards of taste, and indeed the public’s expectations. So it’s a great challenge.

Where are you getting this rationale?  On his website, cantabile playing is referenced, but the essays written by Keith Hill do not cite the reasons you list, but that each voice is separated to keep them independent and not forced into a metrical style sublimating the independence to a more homogenized style.

Quote
Regular meter in music puts the brain to sleep, this means that it is only intended to be heard for the purpose of marching, dancing, beating time to, etc. 

Music that is intended to be listened to by the cultivated and uncultivated ear requires a wholly different attitude in performance.  Specifically, that the performer must do everything in his or her power to prevent the brain from being put to sleep by the repetitiousness of regular meter. 

To accomplish this, Bach, according to F. Griepenkerl, in this quote from a letter he wrote and which has been published, "Bach himself, his sons, and Forkel played the masterpieces with such a profound declamation that they sounded like polyphonic songs sung by individual great artist singers.  Thereby, all means of good singing were brought into use.  No cercare, No portamento was missing, even breathing was in all the right places.  Bach's music wants to be sung with the maximum of art." 

Bach himself urges players to acquire a cantabile style.   

Therefore, a previously existing and subsequently-made-extinct style of playing music, the cantabile style needs to be revived, not merely revisited by players of all tonal musics. 

This means that each player needs to acquire a way of expressing music that is typical of individual great artist singers.  The one single overarching shared feature of every truly great artist singer is that he or she sings the meaning of the musical thought of the composer, not merely the notes and their obligatory metrical constructs. 

Composers are relegated to writing music in meter but their thoughts actually have no meter.  That is the difference, as you will, between speech and thought.

Speech actually has meter...but thought does not.  Thought has flow.  So when CPE Bach wrote: "Maintain strict time." From knowing how he played the masterpieces, he very clearly meant "Maintain strict flow."  Because in music meant to be listened to, it is paramount that those listening and those performing never lose the train of thought, lest the performance collapse into disintegration.   

Therefore, every voice must express the musical thought appropriate to the notes provided for it to sing.  If this means that every voice is singing a different affect to properly express the notes provided by the composer then that is how the music should be performed. 

The mere fact that some people have a problem with this way of making music is due to their preconceived notion about how the greatest musical thoughts of composers from the past ought to be played, which has actually nothing at all to do with how the music from those great composers was intended to be played by the composers themselves.

In this new direction, every effort needs to be made to take special care of how it is being perceived by the brain when listening.  Failure to do this will ultimately give way to one's preconceptions, which as we now know produces an almost complete obliteration of audiences for the great music of the past over the last 80 years. 

The problem is that everything here is conjecture by Keith Hill and one presumes Wolfgang Rubsam, too.  The particular terms Bach is claimed to have valued, portamento and cercare, do not refer to staggering the meter of separate lines.  The customary definition of portamento is :
   
Quote
1.     a slide from one note to another, especially in singing or playing a bowed string instrument.
    2.     piano playing in a manner intermediate between legato and staccato.     "a portamento style"

And cercare is more confusing. The best I can come up with is some idea of "searching" out a singing quality.

Where do you find a reference to Bach wanting to simulate madrigal singing in the style of Frescobaldi?

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 14469
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #338 on: February 11, 2020, 10:35:46 AM »
From a discussion with him, but I'm sure there's something in writing too, I'll look later.

I think you should interview him for your blog. Hill too.

And get someone else in the discussion- like Colin Booth.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2020, 10:39:44 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 14469
Re: Bach Goldberg Variations
« Reply #339 on: February 11, 2020, 10:57:04 AM »
His comment was

Quote
It [my new way of playing Bach] has nothing to do with Style brise but rather with the Portamento and Vacillare of the baroque Italian Art of singing; the horizontal independence of polyphony,

and he went on to say

Quote
In short, vertical harmony is created by the voices of polyphony flowing cleverly constructed horizontally. When played vertically everything “together”, nobody can comfortably follow the architecture of each individual voice.
Refined Music making is not learned via treatises that mostly explain what NOT do do. It is the vast experience of polyphonic works studied and performed over many years, plus learning from other colleagues and even students of some new discoveries.

and then developped his ideas further with this (fabulous comment)

Quote
It is not really a new style of mine but further nurtured by the Lautenwerk TALKING to me constantly, meaning, the instrument barks at me literally when something did not sound as elegant as it requires, quite like a historic organ surely does as well; provided one is interested in learning more from the instrument in touch and tempo choice.

. . .

Yes, this horizontal polyphonic style could be carefully applied in organ playing, as it is doubtful that home practice on clavichord and harpsichord would suddenly make students of Bach play the organ with an entirely different touch/approach. Think pumping the organ bellows and time to practice in cold churches as a side remark. Food for thought......
« Last Edit: February 11, 2020, 10:59:54 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen