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Thread: Bach.. Well-tempered Clavier

  1. #46
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    I like Glenn Gould the best. I also have Gulda and Richter. The Russians seem to be good at Bach, and I have those "Russian Piano School" box sets, which I enjoy.

    It's just a short step from WTC to the Two-and Three-part Inventions and Sinfonias. My favorite of the Sinfonias is the Nr. 9 in F minor, the way Gould plays it so slowly and profoundly. The faster versions just sound mechanical to me now.



    The only flaw is the "tic" on some of the notes. Gould had the action reset to be more like a harpsichord.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Oct-12-2018 at 20:42.

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  3. #47
    Senior Member Allerius's Avatar
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    Most of the organ music by J.S. Bach that I know come from the hands of Walcha, and I absolutely love it. Looking for performances of the WTC on youtube, I found one by him, but playing the harpsichord. I would appreciate if someone could comment on this performance.

    Also, it would be great to know what you think about the WTC being played on an organ and if there's some great version of it for this instrument. It seems reasonable to me that it's played on an organ considering that, according to Wikipedia, Bach knew J.C.F. Fischer's Ariadne musica neo-organoedum, published in 1715, and even used some themes of this work on his own.
    Last edited by Allerius; Oct-12-2018 at 21:46.
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  4. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allerius View Post
    Most of the organ music by J.S. Bach I know from the hands of Walcha, and I absolutely love it. Looking for performances of the WTC on youtube, I found one by him, but playing the harpsichord. I would appreciate if someone could comment this performance.

    Also, it would be great to know what you think about the WTC being played on an organ and if there's some great version of it for this instrument. It seems reasonable to that it's played on an organ considering that, according to Wikipedia, Bach knew J.C.F. Fischer's Ariadne musica neo-organoedum, published in 1715, and even used some themes of this work on his own.
    Walcha recorded WTC on harpsichord twice, the first on a revival instrument, an Ammer, and the second for DG on a real baroque harpsichord, a Ruckers I think. I think both show their age a bit - his rhythms tend to be stiffer than some of the latest ideas about how to play Bach on harpsichord.

    There are several complete recordings of WTC on organ: Daniel Boccaccio, Bernard Lagacé, Louis Thiry, and I’m sure there’s a fourth I’m forgetting. None of them are favourites for me. Part of the problem is style, part of the problem is they don’t seem to chose instruments I like. There are also recordings with just a selection of preludes and fugues on organ, and some complete WTCs which mix organ, clavichord, piano and harpsichord.

    The most impressive WTC on organ I know is on this Cd by Wim van Beek

    chel02.jpg
    Last edited by Mandryka; Oct-12-2018 at 22:07.

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  6. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post

    There are several complete recordings of WTC on organ: Daniel Boccaccio, Bernard Lagacé, Louis Thiry, and I’m sure there’s a fourth I’m forgetting. None of them are favourites for me. Part of the problem is style, part of the problem is they don’t seem to chose instruments I like. There are also recordings with just a selection of preludes and fugues on organ, and some complete WTCs which mix organ, clavichord, piano and harpsichord.
    There is a fourth with Robert Costin and a fifth with Frédéric Desenclos. And Book II with Christoph Bossert. Neither of these are favorites of mine. Given all these unattractive recordings I wonder if most of the WTC is unsuited for organ.

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  8. #50
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    Colin Tilney recorded book 1 on clavichord and book 2 on both harpsichord and fortepiano. His set is highly individual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by larold View Post
    Colin Tilney recorded book 1 on clavichord and book 2 on both harpsichord and fortepiano. His set is highly individual.
    That's news to me. Have you got any link to the fortepiano recording.

  10. #52
    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    I love Gulda's Bach. How about you?

    I remember hearing one of the preludes on the radio and I had to stop the car to hear who had played it. I immediately wanted to buy his box set. I remember it was 74.95 + tax which was far more than I had spent before. A full price purchase <grin> when I was quite thrifty back then. Well, I rationalized that it was the WTC afterall and I would never tire of it, and I would never tire of his lyrical approach.

    Also, in those years, CDs were quite new and I was happily getting used to the idea that CDs would never get degraded or wear out.


    These showed up in my email years ago..

    "In Friedrich Gulda's recording of The Well- Tempered Clavier two significant events in the history of Western music meet. One of these is this exceptional recording. It originates in the years of 1972/73, the highand endpoint of the collaboration between the Austrian pianist and the sound-sorcerer from Villingen, Germany, Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer. Since 1969, Gulda had been using the Black Forest studio's state-of-the-art technical capabilities for the recording of the music cycles of Beethoven, Debussy, and Mozart, as well as his own work. A Steinway Grand Imperial was hauled into the MPS studio especially for Gulda's use. You can still see the marks left from where the instrument had been precisely placed to the millimeter so that the piano's sonority could be optimally captured. All of this is what makes Gulda's interpretations so bold and meaningful to this day. The optimal microphone placements on the piano strings reduces the distance between Bach's work and the audience, allowing the listener to physically experience the music. The Steinway sounds out in full stereo; its extreme dynamics creates a wide emotional spectrum, ranging from delicate intimacy to unbridled extroversion."
    "When awarded the Vienna Beethoven Ring in 1969, he rejected it with grand gesture, one incident of many in a long and tortuous relationship with his home town. He played Mozart in Vienna's holy of holies, the Musik- verein, tapping along with his feet. On another occasion, he and his girlfriend appeared on stage naked for a rendition of Schumann songs on the recorder.
    Gulda turned more and more to jazz for musical nourishment. Completely disregarding the printed programmes during classical concerts, he would treat his audiences (who were not always happy about the privilege) to extended improvis- ations in the middle of pieces and to performances of his own compositions. After 1995 he also played regular techno sessions with the Liverpool DJ Vertigo.
    Gulda's attempt to launch a second career as a jazz pianist was hindered by the distrust of jazz fans, who were unsure of his motives. In any event, his ambition to scale the fence between "classical" and "popular" music - or to tear it down altogether - failed, largely because he came too strongly from the former. "Jazz," Gulda once explained, "is the music of our day, the only modern, progressive music. Schoenberg is not really new, neither is Bartok, and the experimental composers certainly aren't. They are only trying to cast the past in concrete. Schoenberg does it dogmatically, Bartok with folklore." "
    Last edited by Luchesi; Oct-13-2018 at 17:24.
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  12. #53
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    Of the versions I've heard, I would probably go with Hewitt (2009) on piano and Kenneth Gilbert on harpsichord, were I restricted to one each.

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  14. #54
    Junior Member Over the Rainbow's Avatar
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    I think Bach supreme works can embarrassed by the very dense nature of Bach: no silence, no breathing IMHO.
    And I find the RICHTER RCA recording, his way of playing allows you to forget what is written above

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  16. #55
    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Over the Rainbow View Post
    I think Bach supreme works can embarrassed by the very dense nature of Bach: no silence, no breathing IMHO.
    And I find the RICHTER RCA recording, his way of playing allows you to forget what is written above
    That's new to me. I'll have to see if Richter does the same for me.

    But would I want silences in JsB? I've never thought about playing some of the works with silent breaks. There's so many possibilities. I'll try it, thanks.

    And welcome to the forum.
    Tradition is not the worship of ashes - but the preservation of fire!
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  17. #56
    Junior Member Over the Rainbow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    That's new to me. I'll have to see if Richter does the same for me.

    But would I want silences in JsB? I've never thought about playing some of the works with silent breaks. There's so many possibilities. I'll try it, thanks.

    And welcome to the forum.
    Thanks Sir,

    You are right, we don't need silence.
    But Richter's game allows the listener to "breathe" and thus stay really focused on this fantastic piece of art (at least me)

    I listened to excerpts from Koroliov and Feinberg today, whatever the interpretative quality, I did not find exactly this possibility to "breathe" and so to fully enjoy this magnificent work.

    Best Regards

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  19. #57
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    Edwin Fischer and Samuel Feinberg on piano, and Wanda Landowska and Kenneth Gilbert on harpsichord

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