Author Topic: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier  (Read 403155 times)

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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2000 on: July 28, 2022, 01:54:21 PM »
I believe it was CPE Bach who wrote that his father thought that his music should be played cantabile, or with a quality of singing, vocalistic, as much as possible.  But considering the limitations of the harpsichord's ability to play dynamics, this has always caused confusion on my part.

Legato, instead of staccato, would make sense, as well as connecting the phrases as if sung - but some other manner would need to be used in place of a purely vocalistic use of dynamics.
Sometimes Tureck uses extreme staccato. Why? It’s certainly interesting, but I have no idea if it corresponds to anything Bach is marking in the score. When she does this, I wonder why she bothers to apply dynamics at all because she does and when she does it’s overwhelming. Short of dynamics, the effect is interesting because with one hand or one melodic line in extreme staccato, any variance with the other hand can produce very strange effects, articulation, I guess. Is this meant to be this way? Is there a design to this? Does any harpsichordist do this? Maybe it’s the dynamic effect that make it so apparent?

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2001 on: July 28, 2022, 05:47:58 PM »
Sometimes Tureck uses extreme staccato. Why? It’s certainly interesting, but I have no idea if it corresponds to anything Bach is marking in the score. When she does this, I wonder why she bothers to apply dynamics at all because she does and when she does it’s overwhelming. Short of dynamics, the effect is interesting because with one hand or one melodic line in extreme staccato, any variance with the other hand can produce very strange effects, articulation, I guess. Is this meant to be this way? Is there a design to this? Does any harpsichordist do this? Maybe it’s the dynamic effect that make it so apparent?

Well an orator uses dynamic changes to bring the meaning of his speech. And singers use dynamic changes to bring out the meaning of their song. And an instrumentalist may use a dynamic change to bring out the entry of a theme, or to highlight an important harmonic change.

I guess one good thing to to would be to see where and why Bach marked dynamic change in his music and then apply the same logic to his scores where the dynamic changes are not stated explicitly.  But obviously that’s a big job.

Post some examples of Tureck’s dynamic changes - gradual, terraced and note level, prelude and fugue -  and maybe we’ll see if we can understand why she was doing them.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2022, 05:58:03 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2002 on: July 28, 2022, 06:18:00 PM »
Well an orator uses dynamic changes to bring the meaning of his speech. And singers use dynamic changes to bring out the meaning of their song. And an instrumentalist may use a dynamic change to bring out the entry of a theme, or to highlight an important harmonic change.

I guess one good thing to to would be to see where and why Bach marked dynamic change in his music and then apply the same logic to his scores where the dynamic changes are not stated explicitly.  But obviously that’s a big job.

Post some examples of Tureck’s dynamic changes - gradual, terraced and note level, prelude and fugue -  and maybe we’ll see if we can understand why she was doing them.
Just notice what odd things she does with staccato and dynamics in the prelude. Can you articulate this way, minus the dynamics, on the harpsichord? Or is it the dynamics that’s making this effect? I’m not sure anyone does anything like it even on piano. https://youtu.be/hyLIskCwD-k

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2003 on: July 28, 2022, 10:30:02 PM »
Just notice what odd things she does with staccato and dynamics in the prelude. Can you articulate this way, minus the dynamics, on the harpsichord? Or is it the dynamics that’s making this effect? I’m not sure anyone does anything like it even on piano. https://youtu.be/hyLIskCwD-k

The staccato is an experiment at producing a clear direct quasi-mechanical sound in imitation of a harpsichord. See if you can find a lute stop being used somewhere - e.g. Leonhardt at the start of  872
« Last Edit: July 28, 2022, 11:03:54 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2004 on: July 28, 2022, 11:55:38 PM »
The staccato is an experiment at producing a clear direct quasi-mechanical sound in imitation of a harpsichord. See if you can find a lute stop being used somewhere - e.g. Leonhardt at the start of  872
So, in that case, it would be both hands or lines of counterpoint? It seems to me that she does staccato on one hand while sometimes adding different articulation via touch on the other - not necessarily dynamics but including that. I mean lute stop applies for o the whole instrument, not only one - how do I say? - one register? Or one manual?

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2005 on: July 29, 2022, 12:11:25 AM »
So, in that case, it would be both hands or lines of counterpoint? It seems to me that she does staccato on one hand while sometimes adding different articulation via touch on the other - not necessarily dynamics but including that. I mean lute stop applies for o the whole instrument, not only one - how do I say? - one register? Or one manual?

I think the lute stop only effects one manual on a two manual harpsichord.

« Last Edit: July 29, 2022, 12:20:48 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2006 on: July 29, 2022, 12:19:58 AM »
I think the lute stop only effects one manual on a two manual harpsichord.
Interesting. I wonder then who has used it on one hand in this way…your earlier discussion makes me wonder if instruments and/or choruses or voices combine to this effect in Bach’s choral music.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2007 on: July 29, 2022, 12:21:11 AM »
Re dynamics, a hesitation before a note can attract attention and even produce the illusion of dynamic variation. On a piano, you can just play louder. So the question is: if you're playing baroque music on a piano and you wish to attract attention to a note or short phrase, is it better to avoid piano techniques? I can't see offhand why anyone should reply no, and insist that the pianist create an illusion of dynamic variation with a slight pause rather than use the more direct means.

Terraced dynamics is possible on old instruments by, for example, coupling manuals together.


Gradual dynamic change is another thing. 
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2008 on: July 29, 2022, 12:25:46 AM »
Interesting. I wonder then who has used it on one hand in this way…your earlier discussion makes me wonder if instruments and/or choruses or voices combine to this effect in Bach’s choral music.

I don't know, something will turn up. Have you heard claviorganum?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NkoOclYkJQ&t=52s&ab_channel=GhislainGourvennec
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2009 on: July 29, 2022, 12:30:34 AM »
Interesting. I wonder then who has used it on one hand in this way…your earlier discussion makes me wonder if instruments and/or choruses or voices combine to this effect in Bach’s choral music.

Here -- listen to this gorgeous harpsichord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw8iYtccRnQ&t=190s&ab_channel=JohannesKeller
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2010 on: July 29, 2022, 12:45:49 AM »
I don't know, something will turn up. Have you heard claviorganum?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NkoOclYkJQ&t=52s&ab_channel=GhislainGourvennec
Hadn’t heard that. I think Leonhardt has an interesting claviorganum recording.
Here -- listen to this gorgeous harpsichord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw8iYtccRnQ&t=190s&ab_channel=JohannesKeller
That’s magnificent. I don’t see much of him on iTunes. I wonder if we can find that instrument anywhere else.

Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2011 on: July 29, 2022, 05:54:03 AM »
I can't help but post this great video of Jorg Demus playing the E major prelude and fugue from BK II. I'm sort of stuck on this prelude especially. I find it interesting to hear the way different artists explore the phrasing of it. It's very touching and sensitive music, at least for Demus. The fugue brings back a heavy reality and resignation.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMV60tnNE3s

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2012 on: July 29, 2022, 12:15:56 PM »
I can't help but post this great video of Jorg Demus playing the E major prelude and fugue from BK II. I'm sort of stuck on this prelude especially. I find it interesting to hear the way different artists explore the phrasing of it. It's very touching and sensitive music, at least for Demus. The fugue brings back a heavy reality and resignation.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMV60tnNE3s

Yes there are some really nice effects in the prelude, around 1:02 for example, in the lower voice, the LH. But then he does the unforgivable . . . the cardinal sin . . . he pumps up the volume really loud at the end of the fugue, and, to compound things, he slows it down! The horror!
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2013 on: July 29, 2022, 02:21:05 PM »
Yes there are some really nice effects in the prelude, around 1:02 for example, in the lower voice, the LH. But then he does the unforgivable . . . the cardinal sin . . . he pumps up the volume really loud at the end of the fugue, and, to compound things, he slows it down! The horror!
Pianists can’t help themselves.

Offline hvbias

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2014 on: August 01, 2022, 08:44:30 AM »
Yes, I suppose you mean phrases.

I haven't heard Feinberg, but is the common denominator of Hill and Feinberg their detailed working out of the individual voices?

I've listened to Peter Hill in both books this weekend. I'm not sure how anyone could compare Feinberg with Hill, they are polar opposites in approach. Feinberg is very much the old school, legato heavy take along the lines of Edwin Fischer. I also hear Hill as firmly grounded ala Gulda that someone said this of on the previous page. Hill is more stylistically similar to Koroliov than Feinberg.

I could be way off and a different Feinberg with the same surname is being discussed :) This is the one I know https://youtu.be/94XFV8X77U0

edit: Harriet Cohen and Evlyn Howard Jones are also worth hearing if people like Feinberg, E. Fischer, etc.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2022, 08:55:45 AM by hvbias »
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Offline milk

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2015 on: August 01, 2022, 02:22:00 PM »
I've listened to Peter Hill in both books this weekend. I'm not sure how anyone could compare Feinberg with Hill, they are polar opposites in approach. Feinberg is very much the old school, legato heavy take along the lines of Edwin Fischer. I also hear Hill as firmly grounded ala Gulda that someone said this of on the previous page. Hill is more stylistically similar to Koroliov than Feinberg.

I could be way off and a different Feinberg with the same surname is being discussed :) This is the one I know https://youtu.be/94XFV8X77U0

edit: Harriet Cohen and Evlyn Howard Jones are also worth hearing if people like Feinberg, E. Fischer, etc.
They aren’t much alike. I heard a similarity in one respect only (how they interpreted phrasing a particular prelude) and it was fleeting. Feinberg is very much old school and is often dramatic, brash, daring.
Hill is nothing like that.

Offline George

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2016 on: August 01, 2022, 04:34:26 PM »
They aren’t much alike. I heard a similarity in one respect only (how they interpreted phrasing a particular prelude) and it was fleeting. Feinberg is very much old school and is often dramatic, brash, daring.
Hill is nothing like that.

Feinberg's WTC is truly something special.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
« Reply #2017 on: August 01, 2022, 10:57:38 PM »
The most interesting thing about Feinberg for me is the way he uses dynamics in Bk2 - he makes the music come alive and respire through gentle waves of louder and softer. I think it’s unbelievably poetic and I think it’s quite unique.


My strongest memory of it is the first time I heard it - it was really early one morning, about 5 a.m. - I was up at that time to catch a plane to San Francisco I remember, a dark and cold winter’s night in London. I couldn’t believe how beautiful what he was doing was!
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