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The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: DavidW on February 25, 2010, 10:09:33 AM

Title: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: DavidW on February 25, 2010, 10:09:33 AM
Looking for a recording of the Bach English Suites on piano and is played transparently without excessive ornamentation, and not too fast, but I'm not interested in Gould.  Anyone know of anything that would fit the bill?

btw I've already searched and can't find much discussion of this topic on the past.  But if you know of something I overlooked, by all means share with me the link.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Opus106 on February 25, 2010, 10:15:25 AM
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,11802.msg290642.html
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,9885.msg246879.html

Merge, merge, merge!!! >:D

;)
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: DavidW on February 25, 2010, 10:32:21 AM
Nah I'd been there, mostly French Suites discussion.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Mandryka on February 25, 2010, 10:47:33 AM
For a set try Perahia.

Supplement it with Gieseking (2, 3 4 and 6); Pogorelich (2 and 3); Richter (1, 3,  4 and 6)

Rübsam's interesting -- but I suspect you will think the ornamentation excessive.


Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: DarkAngel on February 25, 2010, 11:15:15 AM
Looking for a recording of the Bach English Suites on piano and is played transparently without excessive ornamentation, and not too fast, but I'm not interested in Gould.  Anyone know of anything that would fit the bill?

Perahia and Hewitt fit that description, Perahia slightly better for me.........
 
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51IidR51BhL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41YG2R1EWCL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
 
 
 
 
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: (: premont :) on February 25, 2010, 11:37:53 AM
Honestly I do not favour Bach on piano that much. And still I have owned all in all seven recordings of the English suites played on piano. How do these things happen??

My facorite on piano is Wolfgang Rübsam, either his Naxos recording or his somewhat earlier Bayer recording. Some may - undeservedly do I think - find him too individual and idiosyncratic, and then I also think I can recommend the more mainstream Robert Levin on Haenssler or my countryman Sverre Larsen on Danish Classico. "Played transparently without excessive ornamentation" is true of Sverre Larsen IMO. But I can not find a link to this recording. If you want, I can send you a burnt copy.

Maybe it is only me, but I find Gould´s English suites irritating and Andras Schiff´s blend.
I have not heard Hewitt.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Bulldog on February 25, 2010, 01:57:40 PM
Looking for a recording of the Bach English Suites on piano and is played transparently without excessive ornamentation, and not too fast, but I'm not interested in Gould.  Anyone know of anything that would fit the bill?

Although I'm not a big fan of Perahia, his English Suites are excellent and should satisfy your needs.  Hewitt might also, although her ornamentation could be troublesome for you.  Rubsam would definitely be a problem.  Levin is a little heavy-handed.  Schiff is much too mannered.  Yup, it's Perahia for you; DarkAngel and Mandryka know what they're talking about.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: DavidW on February 25, 2010, 02:30:47 PM
Oh nice got a consensus fast. :)

Tomorrow I will order Perahia.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: SonicMan46 on February 25, 2010, 03:49:13 PM
Although I'm not a big fan of Perahia, his English Suites are excellent and should satisfy your needs.  Hewitt might also, although her ornamentation could be troublesome for you.  Rubsam would definitely be a problem.  Levin is a little heavy-handed.  Schiff is much too mannered.  Yup, it's Perahia for you; DarkAngel and Mandryka know what they're talking about.

Don - currently I own Hewitt in the English Suites & Schiff in the French Suites on piano - bought these long ago when a member of the BMG club; Perahia might be a 'better fit' for me, but will need to give these an updated listening!  BTW, quite happy w/ my Alan Curtis 3-CD set of both suites on the harpsichord (another recommendation from you!) - Dave  :D
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Clever Hans on February 25, 2010, 04:12:59 PM
I prefer pianists that actually take risks, since Bach on the piano is already experimental.

Pogorelich for 2 and 3.







Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Josquin des Prez on February 25, 2010, 04:36:20 PM
Looking for a recording of the Bach English Suites on piano and is played transparently without excessive ornamentation

That's a relatively hard request, considering those suites were meant to be heavily ornamented and virtuosic in nature (heck, each suite starts with a concerto. This is when Bach was still under the influence of Handel and Vivaldi). If you want plastic perfection you are going to have to turn to the Partitas.

Gould may be way over the top at times but he still pulls it off relatively well. Both Perahia and Hewitt are far too bland and boring to do those compositions justice. Personally, i'd just stick with harpsichord though. Try Kenneth Gilbert if you haven't already, he is particularly good here.

Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Bulldog on February 25, 2010, 05:51:52 PM
I prefer pianists that actually take risks, since Bach on the piano is already experimental.

Pogorelich for 2 and 3.

Thinking back to the Pogorelich disc, his take on the Prelude of Suite no. 2 is the most exciting I've ever heard; the propulsion is amazing.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Josquin des Prez on February 25, 2010, 06:11:40 PM
I prefer pianists that actually take risks, since Bach on the piano is already experimental.

There's nothing particularly experimental in playing Bach on piano, and Bach was never experimental to begin with. He knew perfectly well what he wanted to achieve, and his music should be played as naturally and as perfectly as possible, regardless of the instrument used.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: XB-70 Valkyrie on February 25, 2010, 10:33:22 PM
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://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513eFtJ7wHL._SS500_.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/Bach-English-Suites-Nos-Richter/dp/B0002SPPBE/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1267165642&sr=1-4
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Clever Hans on February 26, 2010, 06:16:59 AM
There's nothing particularly experimental in playing Bach on piano, and Bach was never experimental to begin with. He knew perfectly well what he wanted to achieve, and his music should be played as naturally and as perfectly as possible, regardless of the instrument used.

Exactly how would you define experimental, or does the word have no meaning?

Even though this doesn't necessarily follow as an argument from what you said, I'll remind you that playing can be natural and perfect and still take risks and be experimental, e.g. Pogorelich in practically everything. Obviously, you know this because you find Perahia and Hewitt bland. I'm also a big fan of Gilbert's English Suites, incidentally.

Nothing experimental about performing music with an instrument on which it was not written? It's almost experimental by definition to use a pianoforte, to make a decision about precise and sensitive dynamics in place of those texturally realized or implied--unless you think there is no difference between a Steinway and a clavichord. Just because we're so used to hearing a piano doesn't make it not an experimental activity, at least with a smart pianist.

In any case,
Bach never experimental? Hello! Art of Fugue, or listen to his organ music after listening to Buxtehude, or his exploration and synthesis of concerto styles. And experiments build on other experiments by others, e.g. The Well-tempered Clavier's exploration of keys and possibly temperament.

I suppose you know that he knew what he wanted to achieve, after having a séance with him? As a young composer he had no doubts, struggles, or preoccupations, just like all geniuses, right...
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Josquin des Prez on February 26, 2010, 05:38:59 PM
In any case,
Bach never experimental? Hello! Art of Fugue, or listen to his organ music after listening to Buxtehude, or his exploration and synthesis of concerto styles. And experiments build on other experiments by others, e.g. The Well-tempered Clavier's exploration of keys and possibly temperament.

Bach saw music as a purely practical affair. He was loath of lingering over theoretical problems and preferred to solve those problems before even committing his ideas to ink and paper. There's nothing experimental about his work because to experiment implies a level of uncertainty which is completely absent in his music. You never get to see the tribulations which led to the application of a particular idea, you only see the final result. I know that to apply contemporary sensibilities to the older masters is all the rage this days, but it just doesn't work that way.

I suppose you know that he knew what he wanted to achieve, after having a séance with him? As a young composer he had no doubts, struggles, or preoccupations, just like all geniuses, right...

He had a period of struggle. That period was long over when he wrote the English Suites.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Scarpia on February 26, 2010, 05:49:09 PM
Thinking back to the Pogorelich disc, his take on the Prelude of Suite no. 2 is the most exciting I've ever heard; the propulsion is amazing.

Yes, that recording was striking.  A shame Pogorelich aged like unpasteurized milk not like fine wine.   :'(

Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Josquin des Prez on February 26, 2010, 07:01:34 PM
The depth of Bach's invention is mindblowing and it's found in all areas of his music!

Failing to understand the argument +1. Experimental != invention.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: DavidW on February 26, 2010, 07:08:28 PM
XB that looks good, I might buy that in the future. :)

I have ordered Perahia for now.

About Gould, I didn't want him because even though I love his Goldberg Variations I tired of his French Suites, and I suspect the same would happen with the English Suites.  He is hit and miss with me, sorry. :)
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Josquin des Prez on February 26, 2010, 09:34:46 PM
Bach tirelessly experimented and tried all sorts of things.

No, he never tried anything. He envisioned a concept, an idea, and then labored to actualize it. Once again you are trying to attach a level of uncertainty in his music which simply doesn't exist.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Josquin des Prez 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?
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Clever Hans 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.

Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: (: premont :) 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.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: kishnevi 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.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: owlice 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)
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: karlhenning on October 19, 2010, 03:42:18 AM
Welcome [back] owl!
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: owlice on October 19, 2010, 03:45:04 AM
Thanks, Karl, and howdy!!
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: DavidW 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. :)
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: owlice 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!
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Josquin des Prez on October 19, 2010, 06:57:16 PM
Perahia is over-rated dross.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: kishnevi 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.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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?


Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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. ::) ???


Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 19, 2010, 09:42:46 PM
Anyone familiar with Robert Levin's complete set of English Suites?
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: owlice 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.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Mandryka 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://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513eFtJ7wHL._SS500_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Josquin des Prez on October 27, 2010, 07:36:17 AM
What happen to number two and five? 
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: XB-70 Valkyrie on October 29, 2010, 09:41:54 PM
B of A foreclosed on them.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Josquin des Prez 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.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Expresso on October 30, 2010, 10:45:54 AM
XB that looks good, I might buy that in the future. :)

I have ordered Perahia for now.

About Gould, I didn't want him because even though I love his Goldberg Variations I tired of his French Suites, and I suspect the same would happen with the English Suites.  He is hit and miss with me, sorry. :)

Give Gould a chance, he's really good in these Suites.

His French suites might be hit and miss, but his English ones contain some of his best performances in my opinion.

Of course Perahia is an excellent choice too. You wont regret it  ;)
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Bulldog on November 02, 2010, 12:26:01 PM
Give Gould a chance, he's really good in these Suites.

His French suites might be hit and miss, but his English ones contain some of his best performances in my opinion.

Of course Perahia is an excellent choice too. You wont regret it  ;)

For piano versions, I'd also go with Gould and Perahia, along with Rubsam.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: (: premont :) on November 03, 2010, 04:44:52 AM
For piano versions, I'd also go with Gould and Perahia, along with Rubsam.

Which Rübsam? The Bayer or the Naxos?
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Bulldog on November 03, 2010, 05:53:34 AM
Which Rübsam? The Bayer or the Naxos?

The Naxos is the one I know.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: XB-70 Valkyrie on November 03, 2010, 10:27:30 PM
If they release the Rubsam on LP, I can play it at 78rpm and it will still be slower than any other interpretation.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Mandryka on November 03, 2010, 10:34:45 PM
Rusbaum is too agogically hesitant -- I find that annoying. It makes me want to reach for the travel sickness pills.

Why do they do that, these hip dudes?

On the plus side, he tells a good story, and he has a lovely touch, and the music is beautifully (and thoroughly) ornamented,

I am very glad to own the Naxos CDs and I think his Bach is amongst the best on piano -- French and English suites esp.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Verena on November 04, 2010, 11:05:01 AM
Rusbaum is too agogically hesitant -- I find that annoying. It makes me want to reach for the travel sickness pills.


Oh yes, I have the same feeling when I listen to him  :(
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Bulldog on November 04, 2010, 11:24:20 AM
Rusbaum is too agogically hesitant -- I find that annoying. It makes me want to reach for the travel sickness pills.

Why do they do that, these hip dudes?

The use of agogic devices is not uncommon among Bach keyboardists.  I think they do it in the quest for a more interesting and emotionally rich interpretation.  Some artists succeed splendidly; others can make one dizzy.  Rubsam doesn't make me dizzy.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Marc on November 04, 2010, 01:33:01 PM
Rusbaum is too agogically hesitant -- I find that annoying. It makes me want to reach for the travel sickness pills.

Why do they do that, these hip dudes?
I guess Rusbaum = Rübsam?

AFAIK, the young Rübsam was certainly HIP-influenced.
But during those years he certainly wasn't "agogically hesitant".

Later on he developed a different syle.
I only have his organ recordings of Bach, but his Naxos recordings are quite unique.

For the other keyboard works he played a piano in Bach. So I wouldn't call him a 'HIP dude'.

The comments in this thread make me curious about his piano recordings. I will probably try one or two discs in the future.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: (: premont :) on November 04, 2010, 02:51:24 PM
I only have his organ recordings of Bach, but his Naxos recordings are quite unique.

His Philips Bach organ integral was certainly also unique for its time.

The comments in this thread make me curious about his piano recordings. I will probably try one or two discs in the future.
I suggest that you try the Partitas, which are the most successful of his piano recordings. Strange  that his flexible style is less well suited for the Toccatas (manualiter) and the Inventions/Sinfonias,
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Mandryka on November 05, 2010, 08:35:05 AM
.

For the other keyboard works he played a piano in Bach. So I wouldn't call him a 'HIP dude'.



Indeed   :).
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Marc on November 05, 2010, 10:43:18 AM
Rübsam is more like a "Double Dude", by visiting all ends of the performer's spectrum, or even, by doing so, a "Dude on his own". ;)

Premont, thanks for the advice.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Mandryka on November 05, 2010, 11:14:18 AM
His Philips Bach organ integral was certainly also unique for its time.
I suggest that you try the Partitas, which are the most successful of his piano recordings. Strange  that his flexible style is less well suited for the Toccatas (manualiter) and the Inventions/Sinfonias,

Yet somehow I am more in love with his Suites, English and French.

Maybe it's just that the competition is so strong in Partita 1, 4 and 6 that I can't imagine frequently returning to Ruebsam's. That's rather a vulgar way to look it at of course  . . .

Really creative readings of the suites on piano -- well there are some (have you heard the 2nd French suite from Richter in Hungary?) But I feel there are less of them that the Partitas.

Haven't heard his Toccatas or Inventions.

I just listened to his 4th Partita in fact -- he seems to me completely sui generis -- unlike anyone else I know. But I'm no Bach expert.

Even if don't  appreciate what he does as much as others in the Partitas, I can certainly  hear there's something to respect there. He's an acquaintance I'm  looking  forward to developing.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: (: premont :) on November 05, 2010, 02:19:18 PM
Yet somehow I am more in love with his Suites, English and French.

So was I, but with repeated listening to the Partitas they grew on me.

Really creative readings of the suites on piano -- well there are some (have you heard the 2nd French suite from Richter in Hungary?) But I feel there are less of them that the Partitas.

Generally I do not listen to piano renderings of harpsichord music  (an exception is parts of The WTC and The AoF, which in some inexplainable way are rather well suited for almost any keyboard instrument), so I haven´t got but a sporadic knowledge of Bach piano recordings.  From S. Richter I know two WTC´s  and one of the 3. English suite (old Melodya release) but not the French suites, and from what I know I would call his style more efficient than creative, but I know that he was rather variable especially at recitals.

I just listened to his (= Rübsam´s) 4th Partita in fact -- he seems to me completely sui generis -- unlike anyone else I know. But I'm no Bach expert.

What appeals to me (in Rübsam´s Bach piano interpretations) is his creative thinking combined with a subtle kind of poetry, and he never becomes overtly romantic (like Sokolov or Koroliov) or distressing motorical-mechanical (like Gould or Pogorelic). Rübsam´s point of departure concerning his piano technic seems to be the clavichord rather than the piano.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Mandryka on November 05, 2010, 11:36:02 PM
Rübsam´s point of departure concerning his piano technic seems to be the clavichord rather than the piano.

Thank you for that -- that's given me something to think about :)

Someone who posts here (sorry -- I forget who), talks about Bach's playing keyboard music as if to tell a story. Valuable idea. I think Rübsam is an excellent story teller.

I do find the hesitations disorienting though, in the courante and aria of Partita 4 for example. I'm looking forward to getting my sea legs.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Mandryka on March 29, 2011, 08:32:51 AM
Rübsam´s point of departure concerning his piano technic seems to be the clavichord rather than the piano.

I listened to English Suite 6 and your comment came back to mind. Very perceptive -- the style is so quiet and intimate and almost confidential.

I also listened to Walcha's noble, masculine, forceful, emtionally rich and varied harpsichord -- which I love just as much. But Walcha and Rubsam don't seem to have much  in common besides the fact that they are playing a score by Bach.

In Walcha's hands it's the range of feeling that is so extraordinary. You know that thing that Mahler said about the symphony containing the world -- well I think that Walcha's English Suite 6 contains the world. This is one of my favourite  Bach recordings, especially in the Gavottes and (even more especially) the Gigue.

The Walcha English Suites are hard to find. I have uploaded them onto symphonyshare.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: (: premont :) on March 30, 2011, 04:20:00 PM
But Walcha and Rubsam don't seem to have much  in common besides the fact that they are playing a score by Bach.


But I think it is a great experience to listen to both of them. Surprisingly Rübsam was an organ pupil of Walcha during four years, and Bach´s music must have had a central position in that relation.

Quote from: Mandryka
In Walcha's hands it's the range of feeling that is so extraordinary. You know that thing that Mahler said about the symphony containing the world -- well I think that Walcha's English Suite 6 contains the world. This is one of my favourite  Bach recordings, especially in the Gavottes and (even more especially) the Gigue.

I still remember when I fifteen years old heard Walcha´s recording of the sixth Partita by chance in a local broadcast.  I had never heard of Walcha by then and knew only a small fraction of Bach´s keyboard works, but Walcha´s  direct and energy-loaden style made such a deep and lasting impression on me, that I during the next few years used almost all my sparse pocket money to acquire all Walcha´s harpsichord recordings, which were available on LP in these days. These were (other than Münchinger´s Brandenburg recordings) the first Bach recordings I owned.

However I think it is Bach´s music which contains the world, Walcha being the loyal servant.

Quote from: Mandryka
The Walcha English Suites are hard to find.

The last parts of Walcha´s EMI harpsichord recordings were recorded 1962, so EMI´s copyright will end soon - at least in Europe. I hope, that Membran or some similar label will release a box editon of the complete recordings by then.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: adrian1805 on April 23, 2011, 03:24:54 PM
Overall the best is Murray Perahia. For individual suites I recommend:

Suites 1,5,6 : Perahia
Suite 2 : Argerich
Suite 3: Pires
Suite 4: Hewitt

but Perahia is superb in all of them.
On the other hand Gould´s performance of these pieces is the worst I´ve ever heard.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Bulldog on April 28, 2011, 03:25:46 PM
Overall the best is Murray Perahia. For individual suites I recommend:

Suites 1,5,6 : Perahia
Suite 2 : Argerich
Suite 3: Pires
Suite 4: Hewitt

but Perahia is superb in all of them.
On the other hand Gould´s performance of these pieces is the worst I´ve ever heard.

I think highly of both the Perahia and Gould sets.  If pressed, I'd go with the Gould; Perahia is quite mainstream.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Coopmv on April 28, 2011, 05:01:42 PM
Looking for a recording of the Bach English Suites on piano and is played transparently without excessive ornamentation, and not too fast, but I'm not interested in Gould.  Anyone know of anything that would fit the bill?

btw I've already searched and can't find much discussion of this topic on the past.  But if you know of something I overlooked, by all means share with me the link.

I have owned this CD by Pogo for over a decade and truly enjoy it.  It may now be OOP though ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yvuX9%2BrKL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 28, 2011, 07:02:27 PM
I have owned this CD by Pogo for over a decade and truly enjoy it.  It may now be OOP though ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yvuX9%2BrKL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


Agree with that, wonderful recording. Thankfully it's been reissued:



Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Mandryka on May 02, 2011, 02:05:11 AM
One guy to watch for this music is Nicholas Angelich. I saw him play the second English suite a couple of years ago and it was a real memorable and characterful performance. quite restrained in terms of how he used the piano's potential for dynamic variation and for colour. But nevertheless very dramatic, really due to tensions created by counterpoint.

I've got a file of the concert (it was the Bach suite and the big Liszt sonata.) If anyone wants it they can let me know.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Coopmv on May 08, 2011, 10:01:54 AM

Agree with that, wonderful recording. Thankfully it's been reissued:





I also have the Pogo's Scarlatti Sonatas as an original release. 
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 08, 2011, 04:44:42 PM
I also have the Pogo's Scarlatti Sonatas as an original release.

Yep, me too! Great disc.


Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Bulldog on May 09, 2011, 12:06:20 PM

Agree with that, wonderful recording. Thankfully it's been reissued:





Overall, I agree with the praise for the Pogorelich disc, except that I was less than happy with his soft-spoken ways in both gigues.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Brahmsian on August 11, 2011, 08:53:09 PM
Just listening to Hewitt's recordings of the English Suites.  The English Suites are my favourite Bach solo keyboard works, after the Goldberg Variations.

The Gavotte I and II from the 6th Suite has got to be one of my favourite movements of all solo keyboard repertoire.  I just love it!   :)
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: SergeCpp on May 07, 2020, 02:36:18 AM
Here my old (~2012-14) list of piano preferences for English Suites. New discoveries are exist but they are not carefully listened and re-listened yet.

Murray Perahia (1997-98)
Angela Hewitt (2002-03)
Andras Schiff (1988)
Robert Levin (1999)
Wolfgang Rubsam (1995)
Glenn Gould (1971-76)
Ivo Janssen (2000)
Vladimir Feltsman (2005)

//
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on September 11, 2020, 07:18:08 PM
Somehow I like these unique recordings by Anderszewski, Rangell, and Rubsam (I like the mainstream recordings as well). Dismissive opinion of any, or all, of these discs are totally understandable and reasonable. Even I find the freedom they took too much sometimes.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: vers la flamme on September 12, 2020, 02:11:24 PM
What are the "mainstream" picks for the English Suites, anyway? Schiff, maybe, the blue cover on Decca? This is one cycle within Bach's keyboard music that has largely eluded me. I've ordered the Leonhardt, on harpsichord, of course, but I do also want a recording of it on piano.

Anyway, Rübsam sounds good! Quick side by side comparison, better than Schiff, which surprised me.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on September 12, 2020, 02:23:45 PM
What are the "mainstream" picks for the English Suites, anyway? Schiff, maybe, the blue cover on Decca? This is one cycle within Bach's keyboard music that has largely eluded me. I've ordered the Leonhardt, on harpsichord, of course, but I do also want a recording of it on piano.

Anyway, Rübsam sounds good! Quick side by side comparison, better than Schiff, which surprised me.

Other members are better qualified to answer the question, and they will (rightly) question the term mainstream. I should be more careful about wordings. I like Perahia and Janssen.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Mandryka on September 12, 2020, 07:22:24 PM
What are the "mainstream" picks for the English Suites, anyway? Schiff, maybe, the blue cover on Decca? This is one cycle within Bach's keyboard music that has largely eluded me. I've ordered the Leonhardt, on harpsichord, of course, but I do also want a recording of it on piano.

Anyway, Rübsam sounds good! Quick side by side comparison, better than Schiff, which surprised me.

The English Suites were a high point of Walcha’s harpsichord output.

I am fond of Ketil Haugsand’s recording. Colin Tilney is very much worth trying to hear. The one from Suzuki impressed me when it first came out. Pinnock also worth a try. On piano, I wouldn’t go there if I were you.

That being said I should make it clear that I’ve not thought about the music much.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on September 12, 2020, 07:49:19 PM
The English Suites were a high point of Walcha’s harpsichord output.

I am fond of Ketil Haugsand’s recording. Colin Tilney is very much worth trying to hear. The one from Suzuki impressed me when it first came out. Pinnock also worth a try. On piano, I wouldn’t go there if I were you.

That being said I should make it clear that I’ve not thought about the music much.

I don’t recall Pinnock’s E suites. It could be a thought experiment like Schrodinger’s Cat.
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: Mandryka on September 12, 2020, 10:57:47 PM
I don’t recall Pinnock’s E suites. It could be a thought experiment like Schrodinger’s Cat.

I’m thoroughly pissed off now because I can’t remember who I was thinking of! If not Pinnock . . . who? It’s very annoying.


Anyway, searching for a solution to this enigma reminded me of Egarr’s recording.

AND . . . I didn't see this was supposed to be about piano! Fuck!
Title: Re: Bach English Suites on piano
Post by: (: premont :) on September 13, 2020, 12:59:14 AM
The English Suites were a high point of Walcha’s harpsichord output.

I am fond of Ketil Haugsand’s recording. Colin Tilney is very much worth trying to hear. The one from Suzuki impressed me when it first came out. Pinnock also worth a try.

Wishful thinking?