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Thread: For love of the Baroque...

  1. #121
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    I'm currently trying to listen to at least one baroque work new to me everyday. Today I've dipped into the massive corpus of one of my very favourite composers; Telemann. I'm not one who feels that just because he produced a huge body of work his talent was less in some way. I think equating fecundity with lack of quality is slightly wrong headed thinking. Telemann never fails to delight my ears and Bach certainly thought very highly of him (he was godfather to CPE Bach).

    Last edited by classical yorkist; Nov-07-2017 at 12:08.

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  3. #122
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    I've been thinking alot about HiP and period instruments this week, divisive I know, and my developing attitude towards the issue. When I first started listening to baroque music a mere few months ago my choices were very much of the 'don't care' attitude. I listened to alot of what would be called 'romantic' interpretations of baroque played on modern instruments and I thought 'well, I don't really care' but then I was increasingly exposed to period instruments and I find my attitude changing. I've increasingly found that I prefer period instrumentation and this is my attempt to explain why. Disclaimer: what follows is my rather hamfisted attempt at articulating my feelings re. Period instruments.

    To my ears period instruments have a wonderful timbre, a rounded, woody tone that totally delights my ear. They seem to have round edges rather than sharp. I really love, what I am going to call, the attack of the instrument. It never seems harsh to me, rather it's pleasingly mellow and the interplay between period instruments seems to flow. They have an organic sound like they have been grown rather than forged. I suppose it's mostly the absence of brassy, metallic tones I'm reacting to.

    I thought, when I first started listening to baroque, that I would never be able to to tell the difference between modern and period but it turns out that I usually can and my ears and brain tell me that I prefer period instrumentation.

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  5. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by classical yorkist View Post
    I've been thinking alot about HiP and period instruments this week, divisive I know, and my developing attitude towards the issue. When I first started listening to baroque music a mere few months ago my choices were very much of the 'don't care' attitude. I listened to alot of what would be called 'romantic' interpretations of baroque played on modern instruments and I thought 'well, I don't really care' but then I was increasingly exposed to period instruments and I find my attitude changing. I've increasingly found that I prefer period instrumentation and this is my attempt to explain why. Disclaimer: what follows is my rather hamfisted attempt at articulating my feelings re. Period instruments.

    To my ears period instruments have a wonderful timbre, a rounded, woody tone that totally delights my ear. They seem to have round edges rather than sharp. I really love, what I am going to call, the attack of the instrument. It never seems harsh to me, rather it's pleasingly mellow and the interplay between period instruments seems to flow. They have an organic sound like they have been grown rather than forged. I suppose it's mostly the absence of brassy, metallic tones I'm reacting to.

    I thought, when I first started listening to baroque, that I would never be able to to tell the difference between modern and period but it turns out that I usually can and my ears and brain tell me that I prefer period instrumentation.

    A performance is the creative response of the performer to the composition and the instrument. The instrument's properties are factors which inspire phrasing, portato, rhythmic expression, tempo, voicing etc. This is I think why period instrument performances are revealing.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Nov-12-2017 at 11:44.

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  7. #124
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    Re the above I've been listening to Stef Tuinstra's Georg Bohm, and I've been impressed by his performances in Hamburg, which was in fact Bohm's church. It's as if the big old organ there led him to a natural sounding reading of the music.

    I think when you're exploring music, it's often rewarding to see what it sounds like on the instruments it was written for. Often it's the most satisfying solution. Bohm is a case in point.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Nov-12-2017 at 11:54.

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  9. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Re the above I've been listening to Stef Tuinstra's Georg Bohm, and I've been impressed by his performances in Hamburg, which was in fact Bohm's church. It's as if the big old organ there led him to a natural sounding reading of the music.

    I think when you're exploring music, it's often rewarding to see what it sounds like on the instruments it was written for. Often it's the most satisfying solution. Bohm is a case in point.
    I will track that down, it sounds very interesting. I understand what you are saying, I enjoy these recordings of Bach on his favourite Silberman built organs for the same reason. http://www.baroquemusic.org/708Web.html (there are 5 more volumes scattered here http://www.baroquemusic.org/bmlcatalogue.html)
    Last edited by classical yorkist; Nov-12-2017 at 12:28.

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  11. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Re the above I've been listening to Stef Tuinstra's Georg Bohm, and I've been impressed by his performances in Hamburg, which was in fact Bohm's church. It's as if the big old organ there led him to a natural sounding reading of the music.
    As far as I recall without consulting my shelves, Tuinstra recorded the Böhm CDs on the Schnitger organ St, Jacobi Kirche, Hamburg. The organists there at the time of Böhm was Heinrich Frese and Johann Joachim Heitmann. Böhm on the other hand never held an organist position in Hamburg, but served for more than thirty years as the organist of the St. Johannis Kirche, Lüneburg.

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  13. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by premont View Post
    As far as I recall without consulting my shelves, Tuinstra recorded the Böhm CDs on the Schnitger organ St, Jacobi Kirche, Hamburg. The organists there at the time of Böhm was Heinrich Frese and Johann Joachim Heitmann. Böhm on the other hand never held an organist position in Hamburg, but served for more than thirty years as the organist of the St. Johannis Kirche, Lüneburg.
    You know, I've never heard Bohm played on the organ at Lüneburg as far as I recall, I just saw in France-orgue that there is (was) a Bohm recording which uses it. I was wrong to suggest that he was organist at St Jacobi Hamburg, but he lived in Hamburg before moving to Lüneburg. He could well have written his organ music in Hamburg, with the Schnitger in mind.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Nov-12-2017 at 15:06.

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  15. #128
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classical yorkist View Post
    I've been thinking alot about HiP and period instruments this week, divisive I know, and my developing attitude towards the issue. When I first started listening to baroque music a mere few months ago my choices were very much of the 'don't care' attitude. I listened to alot of what would be called 'romantic' interpretations of baroque played on modern instruments and I thought 'well, I don't really care' but then I was increasingly exposed to period instruments and I find my attitude changing. I've increasingly found that I prefer period instrumentation and this is my attempt to explain why. Disclaimer: what follows is my rather hamfisted attempt at articulating my feelings re. Period instruments.

    To my ears period instruments have a wonderful timbre, a rounded, woody tone that totally delights my ear. They seem to have round edges rather than sharp. I really love, what I am going to call, the attack of the instrument. It never seems harsh to me, rather it's pleasingly mellow and the interplay between period instruments seems to flow. They have an organic sound like they have been grown rather than forged. I suppose it's mostly the absence of brassy, metallic tones I'm reacting to.

    I thought, when I first started listening to baroque, that I would never be able to to tell the difference between modern and period but it turns out that I usually can and my ears and brain tell me that I prefer period instrumentation.
    A great discussion to read. Thanks for the comments; also for the facts about baroque organists.

    When I grew up & learned baroque pieces on my violin, there were no HIP performances, so I liked the tunes the way I heard them played. But for the past five years, I've been taking violin lessons from a teacher who is also a professional HIP violist and violinist. We've been going to concerts performed by his local HIP ensemble.

    I do prefer the HIP sound - but I think I would anyway, because as a child of the 1960s, I reacted away from the 'wobbly vibrato' and smooth throbbing sound of violins playing romantic music. My Victorian grandmother adored that lush sound, but I was always drawn to a simpler sound, probably because I was born a folkie.

    I still enjoy performances on modern instruments, however. At present I am learning some Scottish baroque pieces from a book called Minuet & Thistle. Sometimes my teacher demonstrates phrases on his modern fiddle - and it still sounds great, and also very 'baroque', unlike my folk-y renditions.

    Classical Yorkist, I couldn't put it into words, but in the paragraph above that I've italicised, you have summed up what I feel about the HIP sound.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  17. #129
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    Belder or Scott Ross for a complete Scarlatti sonatas on harpsichord box?

  18. #130
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    ^ I would go with Scott Ross, (you can sample both on youtube).

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    Not quite ready to gird up my loins for my Mission to Appreciate Monteverdi . So in the meantime, there's this delightful link to raise my spirits. What would the world do without Jordi Savall?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Clryls7b8aI
    La Folia from the Renaissance through the Baroque up to Vangelis
    Last edited by Ingélou; Nov-15-2017 at 12:01.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  22. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ingélou View Post
    Not quite ready to gird up my loins for my Mission to Appreciate Monteverdi .
    Don't be frightened of Monteverdi! Just dive straight into the Vespers.

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  24. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by classical yorkist View Post
    Don't be frightened of Monteverdi! Just dive straight into the Vespers.
    Exactly! Wonderful music!

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  26. #134
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classical yorkist View Post
    Don't be frightened of Monteverdi! Just dive straight into the Vespers.


    So that is what I did.
    And I am going to tell the truth about my reactions to the Baroque Music I listen to, even when I don't, as here, totally cotton on at the first hearing.

    I want this thread to be somewhere where we can be honest about what we feel, and discuss it freely, taking it for granted that we all love Baroque and are respectful and friendly and well-disposed both towards The Music and to each other.

    We listened to the first disc yesterday in the car.
    I was wowed by the rich sound of the full choir, which was glorious. However, it was one of those discs where, when single singers come on, you can't hear - so you turn the car cd player up, and get blasted away when the choir next comes in.

    The quieter sections - one or two female voices, or one or two male voices - I didn't find quite so palatable, but I could see the artistry and how beautiful, in a subtle clever way, the music was. It's possible that I would grow to like this style more if I gave it a few listenings, and I shall do just that.


    The fault is definitely not with Monteverdi if I sometimes found the singing style like - oh dear, don't kill me - exquisite gargling. It must take very skilled vocal control, but when such singing is played to a folkie with the heart of a peasant, I'm afraid it's a case of pearls before swine.

    To someone brought up on folk songs and country dance tunes written in major keys, the melodies and harmonies sounded so minor-key as to seem dischordant and out-of-tune. I would say that the sound was often interestingly eerie - until the next burst of Full-Choir Glory.

    I am joking, of course, but I never felt like laughing ignorantly at these songs. I could hear and understand that it was lovely, and I could see that it should be moving to a true music-wallah. At present it seems like an alien language, where I recognise a few words and the more common phrases, but I will have to practise my skills.

    Disc 2 - we'll probably listen to that on our journey to Somerset in the near future, where Taggart & I will be attending a traditional dance-music workshop - I with my fiddle, and he with his English concertina.
    So - Monteverdi to the Bluebell Polka: from the sublime to the ridiculous...!
    Last edited by Ingélou; Nov-16-2017 at 11:09.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  28. #135
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    You don't have to like everything, I don't listen to Monteverdi that much at all. If you don't like it move on to something you do, life's too short.

    BTW. folkie here as well, morris dancer in fact.

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