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Thread: For love of the Baroque...

  1. #1066
    Senior Member Dirge's Avatar
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    Domenico SCARLATTI ~ Sonatas

    My earliest Scarlatti memory is of watching The "World Famous" Lipizzaner Stallions perform to K. 380 on ABC's Wide World of Sports back in the late '60s/early '70s. I had no idea what the music was at the time, but I remembered it when I heard it again maybe ten years later … about the time I began listening to classical music in earnest.

    The hodgepodge of works/recordings below includes favorites, interesting alternatives, and a few dubious alternatives.

    Played on piano unless otherwise noted …

    K. 380 :: Wanda Landowska [HMV ’34] ~ on Pleyel harpsichord
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN-EMP3kgYw

    K. 132 :: Maria Tipo [Vox ’54]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IptZS0SotcY

    K. 9 & K. 27 :: Marcelle Meyer [Les Discophiles français ’54/’55]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jeuBKxYfJ8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTo15a9DRaw&t=754s

    K. 481 & K. 491 :: Vladimir Horowitz [Columbia ’64]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk9wrgYlasI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hldyjFVlqG0

    K. 87 & K. 141 :: Anthony di Bonaventura [Connoisseur Society ’72]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZoH53wLSso
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XzCbW2ts3w

    K. 87 & K. 322/323 :: Igor Kipnis [EMI ’76?] ~ on clavichord
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGoUT6r26qs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EjyaYB4R8k
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JvjasQXZ9Y

    K. 208 & K. 239 :: Peter Katin [Claudio ’85]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm9ES43O4GE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNvV4BzCtE8

    K. 380 :: Mikhail Pletnev [Virgin ’94]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tkaM5Sgx5w

    K. 8 :: Sergei Babayan [Pro Piano ’95]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD4incfUi0M

    K. 208 & K. 239 :: Alexandre Tharaud [Virgin ’10]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3deXvQbp8wc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO6FnaW5H3c
    Last edited by Dirge; Oct-15-2019 at 03:38.

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  3. #1067
    Senior Member Metairie Road's Avatar
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    Well, If I was forced to choose only one Vivaldi work...

    Juditha triumphans


    So many great versions of this oratorio on You Tube, I was spoiled for choice.

    Best wishes
    Metairie Road

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  5. #1068
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    15714953600179083507582575513356.jpg
    Been listening to this bought from Oxfam in York. It's an interesting chamber arrangement of Art of Fugue, something I'm generally in favour of with this work. It's one of those twisty/turny affairs I often go on about. It's counterpoint taken to vanishing point, to the nth degree to where Bach almost disappears into his own fundament. I found it quite a dry experience, it lacked humanity and joy. I recognise the outstanding achievement but it felt a little like watching an OU documentary about mathematics from the '70's. The cover design is most apt as this kind of Bachian exercise in fugue and counterpoint really does remind me of the Fibonacci sequence made real. An astonishing work of composition but perhaps more didactic rather than enjoyable.

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  7. #1069
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classical yorkist View Post
    15714953600179083507582575513356.jpg
    Been listening to this bought from Oxfam in York. It's an interesting chamber arrangement of Art of Fugue, something I'm generally in favour of with this work. It's one of those twisty/turny affairs I often go on about. It's counterpoint taken to vanishing point, to the nth degree to where Bach almost disappears into his own fundament. I found it quite a dry experience, it lacked humanity and joy. I recognise the outstanding achievement but it felt a little like watching an OU documentary about mathematics from the '70's. The cover design is most apt as this kind of Bachian exercise in fugue and counterpoint really does remind me of the Fibonacci sequence made real. An astonishing work of composition but perhaps more didactic rather than enjoyable.
    A very interesting post, and as I understand it, 'dry & mathematical' was the reaction to Bach when his reputation went into a decline in the nineteenth century.

    I tried to look for a quotation and found that in more recent times 'The Art of Fugue' has provoked the same reaction - in this Guardian article, Angela Hewitt asked herself 'Could it be that, at the end of his life, Bach had finally written something boring.'
    https://www.theguardian.com/music/20...tt-battle-bach

    I must ask Taggart what he thinks, as he is a Bach fan - I myself don't know 'The Art of Fugue', I'm afraid.
    Perhaps it is the jar of Marmite among Bach's works, the unique flavour you either fancy or you don't.

    By the way, thanks for the tip about Oxfam in York - we must take a look there!
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  9. #1070
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    The best way I've found to listen to the AoF is via this venerable rendition by the Canadian Brass. Easy to follow the lines and warm, mellow listening.



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  11. #1071
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    I think Bach is a recently-acquired passion in our times. My father was quite taken by Stokowski’s T&F in D minor in the movie Fantasia, but not quite enough to ever buy an LP of Bach’s music. It seems to me that Bach didn’t really take off in the popular mind until Gould’s 1955 Goldberg Variations – and the rest is history.
    Last edited by KenOC; Oct-20-2019 at 07:23.


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  13. #1072
    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    I decided to give this another listen after reading the above discussion.

    OK it's dry but it's also beautiful. My immediate thought is that it fits in more with the 2 and 3 part inventions - a teaching or instructional tool rather than a performance piece. It's an exploration of fugal technique using a single theme. Although some variations are unplayable on a standard harpsichord, it probably represents a series of exercises for the developing musician and composer.

    It's probably more enjoyable to play and analyse than it is to listen to. I've run across some more modern works of this sort: some of the later parts of the Mikrokosmos - for example whole tone scales - are also more fun to play than listen to. My previous teacher had done her diploma including Hindemith and felt that she could not listen to it - too "unusual" - but it was a great challenge to play.
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Trio sonatas by Buxtehude on spotify all day here. Ensembles playing were Arcangelo and La Reveuse. I'm currently rediscovering baroque music again. I don't think I own a CD with Buxtehude ...
    Last edited by Kjetil Heggelund; Oct-20-2019 at 16:12.

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  17. #1074
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kjetil Heggelund View Post
    Trio sonatas by Buxtehude on spotify all day here. Ensembles playing were Arcangelo and La Reveuse. I'm currently rediscovering baroque music again. I don't think I own a CD with Buxtehude ...
    Buxtehude a real favourite of mine. Everything from cantatas, harpsichord, organ, sonatas. He can do it all.

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  19. #1075
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taggart View Post

    I decided to give this another listen after reading the above discussion.

    OK it's dry but it's also beautiful. My immediate thought is that it fits in more with the 2 and 3 part inventions - a teaching or instructional tool rather than a performance piece. It's an exploration of fugal technique using a single theme. Although some variations are unplayable on a standard harpsichord, it probably represents a series of exercises for the developing musician and composer.

    It's probably more enjoyable to play and analyse than it is to listen to. I've run across some more modern works of this sort: some of the later parts of the Mikrokosmos - for example whole tone scales - are also more fun to play than listen to. My previous teacher had done her diploma including Hindemith and felt that she could not listen to it - too "unusual" - but it was a great challenge to play.
    Yes, I would never, ever claim that AoF was anything other than a staggering achievement in the field of composition. However, it just didn't move me at all on that most recent listen. I often found myself agog at the fugues and counterpoints, shaking my head at the intricacy but it was admiration I was feeling. I've heard it on harpsichord, organ and Neville Marriner's St Martin's ensemble recording so I've heard it acrew different ways now.

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  21. #1076
    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classical yorkist View Post
    Yes, I would never, ever claim that AoF was anything other than a staggering achievement in the field of composition. However, it just didn't move me at all on that most recent listen. I often found myself agog at the fugues and counterpoints, shaking my head at the intricacy but it was admiration I was feeling. I've heard it on harpsichord, organ and Neville Marriner's St Martin's ensemble recording so I've heard it acrew different ways now.
    We should go back in time and ask Herr Bach, "Should your AoF be enjoyable?" I expect he would say, maybe maybe not, 'depends upon the listener..

    There's a remastering of Gould's. I don't know but the uploader says,"This is a fixed, higher-quality version of Glenn Gould's performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of Fugue), converted to 432Hz by myself."

    Tradition is not the worship of ashes - but the preservation of fire!
    Gustav Mahler

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  23. #1077
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    I imagine that it was intensely enjoyable for Bach to work out.

    Maybe he would expect 'listeners of discernment' to enjoy it too?

    Of course, that counts me out - though I did appreciate it.
    Last edited by Ingélou; Oct-20-2019 at 21:20.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  25. #1078
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ingélou View Post

    Maybe he would expect 'listeners of discernment' to enjoy it too?
    This is a good question. AoF was left unfinished on Bach's death and was assembled and published by his son CPE Bach. I don't think we can know what his intention was or when and how he would have finished it. The kind of music in AoF was deeply unfashionable at the time and Bach was ploughing a furrow most listeners and musicians were disinterested in.
    I personally think a much better listen from the late period of Bach's life the Musical Offering.

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  27. #1079
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    Quote Originally Posted by classical yorkist View Post
    This is a good question. AoF was left unfinished on Bach's death and was assembled and published by his son CPE Bach. I don't think we can know what his intention was or when and how he would have finished it. The kind of music in AoF was deeply unfashionable at the time and Bach was ploughing a furrow most listeners and musicians were disinterested in.
    I personally think a much better listen from the late period of Bach's life the Musical Offering.
    AoF is late Bach, but it's not all of it that late -- the first manuscript contains a cycle of pieces dating from 1740, and these form the heart of the final version. They are from the same period as The Goldberg Variations and WTC 2.

    Bach's contemporaries didn't all think that AoF was "deeply unfashionable." In the first edition there's a preface by Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg which stresses how the music appeals to current taste because Bach shows how to "combine an agreeable and flowing melody with the richest harmonies" much as Telemann did in his Canons Melodieux



    The moral is that these things are complicated. AoF is a complex work which underwent augmentations and revisions over a long period of time; the tastes of the times were changing and Bach's response to that defies any simple account; there's some received wisdom about Bach and indeed gallant style which doesn't stand up to scrutiny . . .
    Last edited by Mandryka; Oct-21-2019 at 17:36.

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  29. #1080
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    Re the compositional date - yes, it seems that the work was mostly complete by 1742 then apparently left alone by Bach until, maybe, 1748. That's interesting in itself. I wonder why Bach didn't pursue the work back in the early 1740's? What caused him to return to it and add extra pieces? I'm fairly sure the Marpurg preface is from the second edition though.

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