GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: hvbias on October 09, 2021, 11:23:15 AM

Title: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: hvbias on October 09, 2021, 11:23:15 AM
I don't think we have a dedicated thread for the Italian Concerto, just the big JSB thread on harpsichord.

Your favorite performances, new recordings, etc.

How is Kenneth Gilbert on Harmonia Mundi?
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: DavidW on October 09, 2021, 11:51:05 AM
Might I give a plug for Landowska?
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: 71 dB on October 09, 2021, 12:05:53 PM
I hate these kind of threads so much. They make me feel inferior. I don't know the good ones. All I have is a loser named Rübsam on loser label Naxos playing piano. That's my loser life. I am not a millionaire who can pay a lot. My Harmonia Mundi collection is very small, because those babies cost some serious money!
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: DavidW on October 09, 2021, 12:25:44 PM
If you were truly an INTJ you would have found Gilbert's Bach on YT and stopped crying.  You are really an INFP in denial!
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: MusicTurner on October 09, 2021, 01:05:22 PM
I hate these kind of threads so much. They make me feel inferior. I don't know the good ones. All I have is a loser named Rübsam on loser label Naxos playing piano. That's my loser life. I am not a millionaire who can pay a lot. My Harmonia Mundi collection is very small, because those babies cost some serious money!

It's a catchy piece, that is good to have. Rübsam definitely has his fans, also here ...

I've got a bunch, but didn't make comparisons. One or two on a harpsichord, one in an arrangement for flute and orchestra (?!), the rest on piano, the eldest being Schnabel (1938), Michelangeli (1943), Marcelle Meyer (1946), and Rudolf Serkin (1950)
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Mandryka on October 09, 2021, 01:24:42 PM
The thing is a concerto, with a structure like concertino and ripieno. So you either have to have a two manual harpsichord with stops so  each keyboard has a different timbre, or maybe you could pull it off on a fortepiano with different timbres in each register, or maybe a really clever clavichord or modern piano player could give it the feel of a concerto.


The score actually asks for a two manual harpsichord. However, I wonder if the best solution is organ, like Bach’s Vivaldi transcriptions. Leon Doeselaar did it that way for the Dutch “All of Bach”  series, it’s on YouTube. And Erwin Wiersinger used an organ on an MDG CD called J S Bach - a new angle (which he shares with Doeselaar), it came out a couple of years ago. You lose speed and brilliance, obviously.  Have a listen and see if you gain anything.

The Gilbert CD is very good, by the way.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: bioluminescentsquid on October 09, 2021, 02:02:54 PM
I remember it's Genn Gould (?) who said that either this or the Chromatic fantasy was "Bach for people who didn't like Bach"

Anyways, some music. I haven't listened to the Italian concerto in ages! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QOcsTDmnzI
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: 71 dB on October 09, 2021, 03:24:30 PM
If you were truly an INTJ you would have found Gilbert's Bach on YT and stopped crying.  You are really an INFP in denial!

BWV 971 is surprisingly "rare" for a Bach keyboard work. Of course I can stream it on YT or Spotify, but I don't feel I have a work/performance in my life unless I have it in my collection. Only the experience of hearing the performance is part of my life. Sometimes that is enough, sometimes it is not.

Right now I try to concentrate on the music of Johann Friedrich Fasch. This is another thing I dislike about online communities: Non-stop ideas of listening to this and that on YT so that I can't concentrate on anything!  :P
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Selig on October 09, 2021, 04:47:42 PM
My choice for best 971, and best headgear:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51EhjJSWZKL.jpg)
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Jo498 on October 09, 2021, 11:40:54 PM
I have several recordings on piano (Meyer, Gould, Tipo, Bunin, Koroliov...), usually not consciously bought but acquired as "fillers" and it's not my favorite work either. My favorite of the bunch I have is probably Bunin's.
The outer movements are good but the middle movement is a bit "too thin" for Bach's style. This style works better in a real violin or woodwind concerto. I think the only harpsichord recording I have is Leonhardt (Sony/Seon) which I remember like a lot of Leonhardt to be a bit too much on the "severe" side for that piece.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Que on October 09, 2021, 11:59:34 PM
I think the only harpsichord recording I have is Leonhardt (Sony/Seon) which I remember like a lot of Leonhardt to be a bit too much on the "severe" side for that piece.

Quite so. Here it is on Youtube - slow and ponderous....  ::)

Anyways, some music. I haven't listened to the Italian concerto in ages! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QOcsTDmnzI

I like the Scott Ross recording, but my favourite on the harpsichord is the young Christophe Rousset:

(https://img.discogs.com/mjPjTSx3FL1XWKs6o7g-jCZ_9ZQ=/fit-in/600x595/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3250777-1322386272.jpeg.jpg)

Other notable recordings (haven't kept up with new releases in the last decade or so):

Olivier Baumont, in an elegant style closer to Rousset.
And Ketil Haugsand in a meticulous performance Leonhardt would have aprroved of.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: MusicTurner on October 10, 2021, 12:16:15 AM
I have several recordings on piano (Meyer, Gould, Tipo, Bunin, Koroliov...), usually not consciously bought but acquired as "fillers" and it's not my favorite work either. My favorite of the bunch I have is probably Bunin's.
The outer movements are good but the middle movement is a bit "too thin" for Bach's style. This style works better in a real violin or woodwind concerto. I think the only harpsichord recording I have is Leonhardt (Sony/Seon) which I remember like a lot of Leonhardt to be a bit too much on the "severe" side for that piece.

That's a bit like my collection, and besides the mentioned, older ones (Schnabel, Meyer, Michelangeli, Serkin), I also have Bunin, Koroliov, Brendel, Fiorentino, Tharaud, Schiff, and Katsaris. No Gould, it seems. The harpsichord one is an old Martin Galling LP, probably rather undistinguished. I plan to listen a bit to these versions in the coming days.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: bioluminescentsquid on October 10, 2021, 12:19:46 AM
slow and ponderous....  ::)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ8Pplgbo80
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Jo498 on October 10, 2021, 12:27:11 AM
There might be two Gould recordings, I am not sure. One was a filler to an older issue of the keyboard concertos, and the same (or a different one) on a Miscellaneous called "The Italian Album". Gould is very dry in the middle movement, I think he plays the d minor concerto after Marcello with more soul than Bach's own Italian.

I also have an arrangement as violin concerto on a disc "Concerti italiani" with Alessandrini cond. (unfortunately they missed the chance to have both original and arrangement on one disc).
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: MusicTurner on October 10, 2021, 12:38:04 AM
There might be two Gould recordings, I am not sure. One was a filler to an older issue of the keyboard concertos, and the same (or a different one) on a Miscellaneous called "The Italian Album". Gould is very dry in the middle movement, I think he plays the d minor concerto after Marcello with more soul than Bach's own Italian.

I also have an arrangement as violin concerto on a disc "Concerti italiani" with Alessandrini cond. (unfortunately they missed the chance to have both original and arrangement on one disc).

A Violin Concerto version somehow seems more appropriate/likely, than a Flute Concerto version of that work ... I got the Bunin on an EMI twofer, because of Gavrilov's fine French Suites there, but remember finding Bunin a pleasant surprise on that set.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Mandryka on October 10, 2021, 01:14:29 AM
Quite so. Here it is on Youtube - slow and ponderous....  ::)

I like the Scott Ross recording, but my favourite on the harpsichord is the young Christophe Rousset:

(https://img.discogs.com/mjPjTSx3FL1XWKs6o7g-jCZ_9ZQ=/fit-in/600x595/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3250777-1322386272.jpeg.jpg)

Other notable recordings (haven't kept up with new releases in the last decade or so):

Olivier Baumont, in an elegant style closer to Rousset.
And Ketil Haugsand in a meticulous performance Leonhardt would have aprroved of.

I think you will like Pinnock on Archiv. It may be my top choice on harpsichord in fact.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Jo498 on October 10, 2021, 01:30:00 AM
I am pretty sure there are also flute or oboe versions.
Bunin is an excellent Bach player, unfortunately he has not recorded a lot and even less is available outside of Japan. I have one more EMI disc besides the fillers for Gavrilov.
At least among pianist the Concerto seems much favored vs. the "French ouverture b minor". Koroliov has a nice disc on Hänssler (usually cheaper than TACET...) with all of Clavierübung II.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: hvbias on October 10, 2021, 05:30:49 AM
Thank you all for the suggestions! I did end up ordering the Gilbert CD and will be exploring the others I haven't heard.

I remember it's Genn Gould (?) who said that either this or the Chromatic fantasy was "Bach for people who didn't like Bach"

Sounds like something pretentious Gould would say, ironically if he'd lived into the era when HIP became the norm he might have heard the retort that Bach on piano is for people that don't like Bach :D I don't listen to Italian Concerto that often, Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue is one of my favorites on piano.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: MusicTurner on October 10, 2021, 06:09:14 AM
As one would perhaps expect, Gould's remark seems to have been related to the rather daring Chromatic Fantasy (which Gould apparently didn't like that much, comparing it to music from horror movies, and where he apparently didn't tend to play the Fugue): http://glenngould.org/f_minor/msg06001.html
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Selig on October 10, 2021, 06:58:17 PM
Nice relic: Kirkpatrick 1939 (or 1936, according to bach-cantatas)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWbCHsYSwHA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWbCHsYSwHA)
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Que on October 10, 2021, 08:14:03 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ8Pplgbo80

Hilarious.  :D
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: bioluminescentsquid on October 10, 2021, 10:59:40 PM
As one would perhaps expect, Gould's remark seems to have been related to the rather daring Chromatic Fantasy (which Gould apparently didn't like that much, comparing it to music from horror movies, and where he apparently didn't tend to play the Fugue): http://glenngould.org/f_minor/msg06001.html

This might be myself projecting then, but I do agree in the sense that the Italian concerto is much more galant and therefore digestible than most of Bach.

I have a harpsichordist friend who finds playing Bach to be rather boring, since the music is so prescriptive and most interpretation tend to be a little cookie-cutter. While I don't necessarily agree, I do feel like the Italian concerto is one of these very prescriptive pieces.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Mandryka on October 11, 2021, 12:42:59 AM
The booklet to Suzuki’s recording, which I’m listening to now with great pleasure, is informative as always

https://static.qobuz.com/goodies/96/000029769.pdf

He says the harpsichord is based on an “enlarged Ruckers” and it’s very characterful and engaging.

I also listened to Mortensen, who gives an excellent and colourful performance.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Jo498 on October 11, 2021, 01:08:48 AM
This might be myself projecting then, but I do agree in the sense that the Italian concerto is much more galant and therefore digestible than most of Bach.
It's pretty much as galant and digestible as most of the orchestral and chamber music. More than the more "theoretical pieces" like WTC or AoF but not really or only slightly more "popular" than most of the keyboard suites.  The pairing with the today far less popular  b minor French ouverture seems to indicate to me that Bach would have seen both of these pieces as similar in appeal for the players/listeners of his time.

Gould's remark would still be a bit strange as the Chromatic fantasy seems more late 17th century stylus phantasticus than 1730s gallant style.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: bioluminescentsquid on October 11, 2021, 01:18:27 AM
It's pretty much as galant and digestible as most of the orchestral and chamber music. More than the more "theoretical pieces" like WTC or AoF but not really or only slightly more "popular" than most of the keyboard suites.  The pairing with the today far less popular  b minor French ouverture seems to indicate to me that Bach would have seen both of these pieces as similar in appeal for the players/listeners of his time.

Gould's remark would still be a bit strange as the Chromatic fantasy seems more late 17th century stylus phantasticus than 1730s gallant style.

That's fair. The dreaded BWV 565 is also another popular piece that's tends to the more 17th century North German side. I wonder if, without its pop culture associations, if it would be around as popular as most of Buxtehude and Bruhns. Bach's other more Phantastic organ works like BWV 566 or BWV 551 have not fared as well.

When I think of Bach I do tend to think of his theoretical pieces and forget that he wrote a bunch of patron-pleasers :)
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Mandryka on October 11, 2021, 02:01:14 AM
Nice relic: Kirkpatrick 1939 (or 1936, according to bach-cantatas)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWbCHsYSwHA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWbCHsYSwHA)

Some wacky sounding registrations in the first movement, he's a bit more restrained in the 1950s recording. 
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: 71 dB on October 11, 2021, 03:27:40 AM
Just listened to BWV 971 again (Rübsam on Naxos) and I have to say I may have overlooked this work.
It has quite a lot of charm.
Strange how little attention I have payed on it.
I also think it works really well played on piano, but I may check out a harpsichord performance of it.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: Jo498 on October 11, 2021, 04:23:01 AM
The very beginning of the piece was used as title/break in a German TV program in the 1980s. I didn't know what it was back then.
Title: Re: JS Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971
Post by: hvbias on October 11, 2021, 10:44:12 AM
As one would perhaps expect, Gould's remark seems to have been related to the rather daring Chromatic Fantasy (which Gould apparently didn't like that much, comparing it to music from horror movies, and where he apparently didn't tend to play the Fugue): http://glenngould.org/f_minor/msg06001.html

Interesting that Gould didn't like the Toccatas either, his performances here aren't terrible. He usually throws his toys out of the pram when he has to record something he doesn't like. It was Rubsam that really opened my eyes to the Toccatas.