Author Topic: The Art of Fugue  (Read 97772 times)

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Online (: premont :)

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #180 on: May 15, 2011, 10:56:16 AM »
It's a bargain indeed, but to be honest I wasn't really impressed by other Bach stuff from Messori, i.c. the Clavier-Übung III (also on Brilliant Classics). Beautiful organs, but IMHO most of the pieces were too 'heavily' interpreted.

Nor was I - as you know - that impressed by Messori´s Clavierübung III. But I think the AoF stands that kind of treatment better.
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Offline Marc

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #181 on: May 15, 2011, 11:00:04 AM »
Nor was I - as you know - that impressed by Messori´s Clavierübung III. But I think the AoF stands that kind of treatment better.

PLEAZE!
DO NOT CONVINCE ME TO BUY THIS INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE SET!
YOU ARE RUINING ME!
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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #182 on: May 15, 2011, 11:29:25 AM »
PLEAZE!
DO NOT CONVINCE ME TO BUY THIS INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE SET!
YOU ARE RUINING ME!


Do not tell me, that you will not purchase it, whatever I say.  ;D
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Antoine Marchand

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #183 on: May 30, 2011, 05:42:33 PM »
It's a bargain indeed, but to be honest I wasn't really impressed by other Bach stuff from Messori, i.c. the Clavier-Übung III (also on Brilliant Classics). Beautiful organs, but IMHO most of the pieces were too 'heavily' interpreted.

I agree with you, his German Mass is marred by a sort of general heaviness; but the samples of his new discs sound very promising for this humble listener. I was greatly impressed in special by what I listened to in the Musical Offering. Additionally, Messori has some remaining credit with me because I have loved his Schütz series on BC.

Right now this set is travelling from Amazon.de towards daddy. ;D   


Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #184 on: July 27, 2011, 07:16:11 PM »
Hi everyone,
I am in the market for a good recording of The Art of Fugue on solo keyboard or preferably harpsichord.
I have the Fretwork release which I enjoy immensely, but want to expand my collection to a solo instrument and possibly a SQ.

Thanks in advance, my friends  :)

kishnevi

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #185 on: July 27, 2011, 08:29:15 PM »
Hi everyone,
I am in the market for a good recording of The Art of Fugue on solo keyboard or preferably harpsichord.
I have the Fretwork release which I enjoy immensely, but want to expand my collection to a solo instrument and possibly a SQ.

Thanks in advance, my friends  :)

Multi instrument, in order of preference:  Emerson String Quartet, Goebel/Musica Antiqua Koeln,  Canadian Brass.  I think the Goebel/MAK may be available only as part of a DG box set of all of MAK's Bach recordings;  the original CD issue was one of the first CDs I ever bought.  Don't have the Fretwork recording, so I can't directly compare it to these.
Modern piano:  Aimard
 I have only two recordings on harpsichord and none on organ, so I can't suggest a favorite there;  but the recording by Matteo Messori which Tonito suggested impressed me on the first hearing.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2011, 08:30:50 PM by Jeffrey Smith »

jlaurson

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #186 on: July 28, 2011, 01:00:26 AM »
Hi everyone,
I am in the market for a good recording of The Art of Fugue on solo keyboard or preferably harpsichord.
I have the Fretwork release which I enjoy immensely, but want to expand my collection to a solo instrument and possibly a SQ.
Thanks in advance, my friends  :)

Aimard, pn / DGSokolov, pn / NaiveRieger, hp / CaviKeller Q4t, SQ4t / ECMEmerson Q4t, SQ4t / DG

Aimard on piano is very good, but I have always hoped it to be better than it turned out... partly because I admire the artist so much.
I do, in the end, prefer Sokolov.

Am intrigued by the mere existence of the Konstantin Lifschitz's account (Orfeo) but haven't heard of it.

Trying to think of a harpsichord version that I think is really good... and I'm noticing that I don't even know that many. Rieger is pretty good... but right now I'm blanking on any other newer versions on the harpsichord that I've [apparently not] heard.

Second the Emerson recommendation, one of their finest recordings IMO. (As opposed to their Bach follow-up of assorted Fugues, which I found disastrous.) I do, by the slightest of margins, prefer the Keller Quartet on ECM, though.

Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #187 on: July 28, 2011, 03:55:24 AM »
Multi instrument, in order of preference:  Emerson String Quartet, Goebel/Musica Antiqua Koeln,  Canadian Brass.  I think the Goebel/MAK may be available only as part of a DG box set of all of MAK's Bach recordings;  the original CD issue was one of the first CDs I ever bought.  Don't have the Fretwork recording, so I can't directly compare it to these.
Modern piano:  Aimard
 I have only two recordings on harpsichord and none on organ, so I can't suggest a favorite there;  but the recording by Matteo Messori which Tonito suggested impressed me on the first hearing.


Aimard, pn / DGSokolov, pn / NaiveRieger, hp / CaviKeller Q4t, SQ4t / ECMEmerson Q4t, SQ4t / DG

Aimard on piano is very good, but I have always hoped it to be better than it turned out... partly because I admire the artist so much.
I do, in the end, prefer Sokolov.

Am intrigued by the mere existence of the Konstantin Lifschitz's account (Orfeo) but haven't heard of it.

Trying to think of a harpsichord version that I think is really good... and I'm noticing that I don't even know that many. Rieger is pretty good... but right now I'm blanking on any other newer versions on the harpsichord that I've [apparently not] heard.

Second the Emerson recommendation, one of their finest recordings IMO. (As opposed to their Bach follow-up of assorted Fugues, which I found disastrous.) I do, by the slightest of margins, prefer the Keller Quartet on ECM, though.


Thank you for the recommendations! :) 
I've been eyeing the Emerson recording for a while now.


Bulldog

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #188 on: July 28, 2011, 12:50:40 PM »
Aimard on piano is very good, but I have always hoped it to be better than it turned out... partly because I admire the artist so much.
I do, in the end, prefer Sokolov.

Yes, I also prefer Sokolov, and by a wide margin.  Aimard isn't nearly austere enough for my tastes.  However, if one likes the jazz-infused Aimard version, you can do much better with Bradley Brookshire on harpsichord.  It's a very interesting version that makes Aimard's sound as dull as dishwater.

Another version I'd like to highlight comes from Walter Riemer on fortepiano.  Actually, there are many wonderful versions on solo instrument, and each one easily trumps a chamber or orchestral version.  If you really want to hear everything that's going on in the AoF, solo is the way to go.

Offline Marc

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #189 on: July 28, 2011, 01:02:28 PM »
Actually, there are many wonderful versions on solo instrument, and each one easily trumps a chamber or orchestral version. If you really want to hear everything that's going on in the AoF, solo is the way to go.

From what I've heard so far: I agree!
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kishnevi

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #190 on: July 28, 2011, 03:40:18 PM »
Yes, I also prefer Sokolov, and by a wide margin.  Aimard isn't nearly austere enough for my tastes.  However, if one likes the jazz-infused Aimard version, you can do much better with Bradley Brookshire on harpsichord.  It's a very interesting version that makes Aimard's sound as dull as dishwater.

Another version I'd like to highlight comes from Walter Riemer on fortepiano.  Actually, there are many wonderful versions on solo instrument, and each one easily trumps a chamber or orchestral version.  If you really want to hear everything that's going on in the AoF, solo is the way to go.

Whereas i prefer the multi instrumental versions because it's easier for me to follow the different voices and the musical structure--to "hear everything going on", as you put it.
That said, I went and checked, and realized I have fewer versions than I thought--only eight.  The only other piano version I have beside Aimard is Gould's partial version, and besides Messori I've only got one harpsichord version (Guillot on Naxos--I'm not very keen on it, so something tells me you wouldn't be either).    Marriner's version rounds out the lot (again, I'm not keen about it), with the Emersons, Canadian Brass and Goebel/MAK.

Obviously I need to bulk up this section of my library.  Any particular harpsichord performances you think particularly well of (especially if they lean in the "austere" direction)?  And organ?
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:42:36 PM by Jeffrey Smith »

Antoine Marchand

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #191 on: July 28, 2011, 04:25:53 PM »
Whereas i prefer the multi instrumental versions because it's easier for me to follow the different voices and the musical structure--to "hear everything going on", as you put it.

I clearly prefer versions played on harpsichord and organ. However, one of my favorite versions is nothing less than orchestral:  Karl Münchinger and his Stuttgarter Kammerorchester. It's austere, concentrated, disciplined and highly recommendable.



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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #192 on: July 28, 2011, 06:06:23 PM »
Obviously I need to bulk up this section of my library.  Any particular harpsichord performances you think particularly well of (especially if they lean in the "austere" direction)?  And organ?

Harpsichord - Gilbert/Harmonia Mundi, Leonhardt/Vanguard and DHM, Hill/Hanssler, Moroney/Harmonia Mundi and Vartolo/Naxos.  It's the Gilbert that I love most.

Organ - I haven't been very impressed with most organ versions.  Two that stand out for me are Walcha/Archiv and Weinberger/CPO.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #193 on: July 28, 2011, 08:18:21 PM »
Yes, I also prefer Sokolov, and by a wide margin.  Aimard isn't nearly austere enough for my tastes.  However, if one likes the jazz-infused Aimard version, you can do much better with Bradley Brookshire on harpsichord.  It's a very interesting version that makes Aimard's sound as dull as dishwater.

Another version I'd like to highlight comes from Walter Riemer on fortepiano.  Actually, there are many wonderful versions on solo instrument, and each one easily trumps a chamber or orchestral version.  If you really want to hear everything that's going on in the AoF, solo is the way to go.

What do you think of Koriolov's?

I like Sokolov because it's extreme -- contrast the way he takes cpt 1 almost in one single breath with the highly  articulated way he plays cpt 2.

And Sokolov is  such a master of voice -- he seems to make the voices float one above the other.


I like Koroliov too, partly because he's so lively and joyful and extrovert, partly because the semi staccato touch is nice.


Sokolov's relatively restrained in terms of dynamics. Koroliov takes advantage  of the pianos's dynamic resources to add some drama. All good



« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 09:45:18 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #194 on: July 28, 2011, 08:50:37 PM »


Obviously I need to bulk up this section of my library.  Any particular harpsichord performances you think particularly well of (especially if they lean in the "austere" direction)?  And organ?

Try Leonhardt's first recording. It's  austere. He plays legato, he doesn't roll chords, there's very little ornamentation. The only expressive resource he allows himself is tempo flexibility.

On the organ premont here put me onto Zacher's recording which I have grown to love. But there are loads of outsnding organ records of this: I think on record  it's fared better on organ than any other way. I love Walcha because he's so alive and exuberant and there's a sense of inevitability, ineluctability, unstopability -- force-of-nature-ness (he recorded it only  once, right?); I love Rogg beciause of the way he drives the music forward and because he's so colourful; I love Tachezi because he is so marmoreal  and granitic.

« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 11:42:09 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #195 on: July 28, 2011, 11:47:12 PM »
The AoF is without doubt concieved for harpsichord or organ (manual only) enabling all the parts to sound in perfect equilibrium. This ideal is realised in the recording Gerd Zacher made (Aeolus 1999) on the restored Balthasar König-organ (1714) der Pfarrkirche St.Leodegar, Niederehe. The organ contains a manual section of nine stops and a pedal section of three stops. He only uses the manual for this recording. In his interpretation one can concentrate upon the internal variety or upon the musical expression.  If one does not know the work so well it is tempting to concentrate upon the internal variety (the counterpoint which often is so dense as to become confusing) in order not to loose the orientation, but as one gets to know the work better it may be relevatory deliberately to ignore the counterpoint and just listen to the rich musical expression. Zacher´s version is indeed contemplative and expressive. This IMO concerning these issues (counterpoint and expression) ideal interpretation permits both points of view in equal mesure, and ideally even both ways of listening at the same time, experiencing the balanced synthesis of spirit and emotion, which this work reflects more than any other of Bach´s (or anyone else´s) works, and which I consider the essential meaning of the work. It takes time to reach this way of listening, compare the way Marc, Velimir and I described our initial problems about understanding the work at all. Hope you understand. It is indeed difficult to explain things like these in a foreign language.

Preferring a rendering with all the parts in equilibrium, I think chamber and orchestral versions often disturb the balance of the work, the parts being scored in different colours, and the playing often with enhanced focus on the thematic statements, the purpose of which seems to be some wish for expression rather than to bring contrapunctal clarity to the playing. I only mention this as some kind of tendency. There are exceptions - the recording by Stuttgart CO / Münchinger being one such exception, because of the homogeneous sound of the very disciplined Stuttgart strings, and because of Münchinger´s balanced vision of the work. 

Gerd Zacher The Art of Fugue

Contrapunctus I
http://www.mediafire.com/file/m6ccs8d5woib38j/01%20-%20Contrapunctus%20I%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3

Contrapunctus III
http://www.mediafire.com/file/yfo0mtmdsoo7uj7/03%20-%20Contrapunctus%20III%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3

Contrapunctus VII
http://www.mediafire.com/file/xx8ngbb2fwdqht9/07%20-%20Contrapunctus%20VII%20%28A%204%20Per%20Augmentationem%20Et%20Diminutionem%29%20-%20Gerd%20Zacher%20%281929%29.mp3


It might seem relevant to choose Walcha´s recording for my purpose, but as he uses the pedal almost throughout, he does not really illustrate my argument.

I don't understand this. What is it that the pedal does that stops Walcha's performance following the principal of equilibrium?
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Offline Marc

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #196 on: July 31, 2011, 09:12:45 AM »
I don't understand this. What is it that the pedal does that stops Walcha's performance following the principal of equilibrium?

I can't speak for Premont, and I also can't speak for or against Walcha, 'cause it's been a while since I've listened to 'his' Kdf, but .... in some cases a 16ft pedal stop can ruin the equality of the different parts by sounding too heavy. In my personal view, especially works like the Trio Sonatas & Die Kunst der Fuge can suffer from this.
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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #197 on: August 03, 2011, 01:08:09 PM »
I don't understand this. What is it that the pedal does that stops Walcha's performance following the principal of equilibrium?

The AoF was obviously written with the keyboard manualiter in mind - in the first hand the harpsichord, in the second hand the organ manualiter, considering the fact that all of it (except the two mirror fugues) can be played with two hands. This assumption is confirmed by the fact that the bass part is written in manualiter style, and is unsuited for execution by the feet, as well as the fact that there are some voice-crossings between the tenor and bass part. One can say, that the AoF is written in the style of the fugues of the WTC rather than the style of Bach´s organ fugues. (The problem of the mirror fugues may be solved by playing them on two keyboards, a solution Bach himself hinted at by arranging the three part mirror fugue for two keyboards adding a free fourth part for the fourth hand).

Concerning the Contrapuncti  I – XI all four parts must sound in perfect equilibrium like the fugues of the WTC, which means that the foundation registration of all parts must be set at equal pitch (preferably 8´). This will be natural for a harpsichordist. If he changes the registration during the playing, this will affect all four parts. If we translate this to the organ, the work should be played manualiter, and if the organist changes manual during the playing, he should move both hands to the other manual at the same time. There are some organists who rightly consider the AoF a manual work and realize it without the use of the pedals (e.g. Zacher and Wikman). Even the mirror fugues can be played on the organ´s manuals, two organists playing two parts each on their “own” manual in equal registrations.

Arranged for organ in the way Walcha did, the bass part is generally set for the pedal, and few organists (Walcha himself the least) can resist the temptation to register the pedal with 16´ and the manuals with 8´ , thereby causing an imbalance between the parts, making the bass part sound too prominent, and transforming the AoF into a "genuine" organ work, which it is not. 

The unfinished fugue a 4 soggetti is more related to the organ works, and the bass part of the first and the third section (but not the second section) is perfectly playable with the feet, which may be interpreted in the way, that this fugue was conceived for manual and pedal, probably organ. The middle section of the fugue may be a manualiter solo episode like the middle section of the E flat major triple fugue BWV 552 or the F major double fugue BWV 540. If this is correct, it seems unlikely, that the fugue was intended to be a part of the AoF - a work written entirely manualiter. 
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 01:12:47 PM by (: premont :) »
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Offline Marc

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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #198 on: August 09, 2011, 09:19:23 AM »
Ordered this one.
The KdF is played by Charles Rosen.



It will take about 3 weeks until arrival .... I won't be lonely Christmas! ;D
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Re: The Art of Fugue
« Reply #199 on: August 10, 2011, 08:16:13 AM »
Ordered this one.
The KdF is played by Charles Rosen.




This was AFAIK the first piano recording which was made of the AoF, scholary but not pedantic, and to some extent gaining its authority from the advantage of being the first, like Schnabel´s Beethoven sonatas and  Edwin Fischer´s WTC. Rosens AoF was also the first piano version I acquired (about six years ago). I never really favoured Bach on piano, and blind completism may have played a part. At first I was suitably impressed by his playing, but since then I got twenty other piano versions, and except for Koroliov, Sokolov, Aldwell, Ader, Lifschitz and the tedious Boyle, I would rate all of them higher than Rosen, favorites being Petermandl, Riemer, Mechler, Janssen, Lepinat and Nicolaieva.
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