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Thread: Bach: Schiff vs Perahia

  1. #16
    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    A cautionary tale for us piano players;

    Murray Perahia cut his thumb. Picked up an infection. Took anti-biotics. He said he felt bad (mostly psychological) and couldn't concertize while on the drug so he stopped taking it. The infection flared. It probably led to his bone abnormality. He was out for 5 years. He began studying Bach away from the keyboard. He talks about this experience, very positive. He gave recitals again, and then injured his weakened hand. He denied it was carpal tunnel, but now he's constantly aware of over-doing it.
    Tradition is not the worship of ashes - but the preservation of fire!
    Gustav Mahler

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    I'm not sure why anybody wants to rank Bach keyboardists. Seems to me that anybody who's proficient with a sewing machine should be able to handle Bach with aplomb.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    A cautionary tale for us piano players;

    Murray Perahia cut his thumb. Picked up an infection. Took anti-biotics. He said he felt bad (mostly psychological) and couldn't concertize while on the drug so he stopped taking it. The infection flared. It probably led to his bone abnormality. He was out for 5 years. He began studying Bach away from the keyboard. He talks about this experience, very positive. He gave recitals again, and then injured his weakened hand. He denied it was carpal tunnel, but now he's constantly aware of over-doing it.
    When you say “he began studying Bach away from the keyboard “, what did he study? Are his performances really informed by some sort of studying?
    Last edited by Mandryka; Aug-24-2019 at 04:56.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    Out of curiosity who do you find inspired in Bach?
    As far as his keyboards works are concerned, performed on the piano, I'd say: Tureck, Feinberg, Gould, Richter along with the selected few recordings we have from de Larrocha, Sokolov, Gavrilov & Koriolov. On the harpsichord: Landowska, Pinnock, Hantai, Staier, Rousset & Suzuki.
    Last edited by numinisgos; Aug-25-2019 at 13:40.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by numinisgos View Post
    As far as his keyboards works are concerned, performed on the piano, I'd say: Tureck, Feinberg, Gould, Richter along with the selected few recordings we have from de Larrocha, Sokolov, Gavrilov & Koriolov. On the harpsichord: Landowska, Pinnock, Hantai, Staier, Rousset & Suzuki.
    Any love for Leonhardt? He is a great Bach player, in my book. Some I need to explore further are Pinnock, Hantaï, and Suzuki.

    Richter and Gould are two of my favorites too, and I'm just getting into the late Ms. Tureck, she was a phenomenon. But I also like Schiff and Perahia. I guess I'm not picky with Bach. There are a great many valid interpretations in my book. The music can stand up to a variety of personalities.

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Any love for Leonhardt? He is a great Bach player, in my book.
    I love Leonhardt's Bach, and he's also wonderful playing many other composers' music as well.

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  8. #22
    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    When you say “he began studying Bach away from the keyboard “, what did he study? Are his performances really informed by some sort of studying?

    He said that unlike the music of later composers Bach's keyboard music is "meditation”.

    Perahia - “I read all those great theorists, and I realised that music makes so much more sense when you see how the notes grow out of a deep structure. That’s why I always analyse a piece before I play it. Look, this is an Impromptu of Schubert I’m working on,” he says, leading me excitedly to the piano. Next to Schubert’s score is a stripped-down version of the same piece in Perahia’s neat hand, with all the surface luxuriance pared away.
    “See, this phrase is basically a huge single progression,” he says, “and these notes have to be understood as a prolongation, and these are an interruption.”
    It all sounds scarily intellectual. “Not at all,” he says, “I’m really against intellectualism in music. You have to internalise all this stuff, soak yourself in it, so that it comes out naturally.”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/...ve-it-too.html
    Last edited by Luchesi; Aug-25-2019 at 18:22.
    Tradition is not the worship of ashes - but the preservation of fire!
    Gustav Mahler

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    He said that unlike the music of later composers Bach's keyboard music is "meditation”.
    I can't make sense of that at all.

    To meditate has an object, it's a transitive verb. So he thinks that Bach's music is about something, unlike later composers. Is that it?
    Last edited by Mandryka; Aug-25-2019 at 18:38.

  10. #24
    Senior Member Dimace's Avatar
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    Perahia and Bach? Not the perfect equation…

    For the Father I'm going all the way home with Herr Joao Carlos Martin, die Frau Wanda Landowska and, of course, the Sir Andras.
    Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis; das Unzulängliche, hier wird's Ereignis;
    das Unbeschreibliche, hier ist's getan; das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimace View Post
    Perahia and Bach? Not the perfect equation…
    I'm sure you're right about that, but, paradoxically given what Luchesi says about him saying that Bach is meditation and later composers aren't, I think that people who want their Bach to sound like later composers, will find it more clearly in Perahia than in the others. In particular I think Perahia's sense of counterpoint is rooted in late c18 and even c19 ideas of several voices being led by one, and all singing together to make a beautiful coherent whole.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Aug-25-2019 at 19:01.

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  13. #26
    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    I can't make sense of that at all.

    To meditate has an object, it's a transitive verb. So he thinks that Bach's music is about something, unlike later composers. Is that it?

    When I read the word meditation I thought he was bringing out the idea that the contrasts in later compositions for keyboard are less conducive to contemplating very uncommon thoughts, while playing or listening.

    here’s a lengthy interview;
    He didn't have time to 'study' before his injury.

    http://www.iplaythepiano.com/piano-m...interview.html
    Tradition is not the worship of ashes - but the preservation of fire!
    Gustav Mahler

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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Any love for Leonhardt? He is a great Bach player, in my book. Some I need to explore further are Pinnock, Hantaï, and Suzuki.
    Lots, the only reason I did not mention him is that his output is inconsistent, ranging from supreme excellence to tediousness. I have only praise for his early 1970's Well-Tempered Clavier and consider his recording of the violin/harpsichord sonatas with S. Kuijken of the highest order, one of the benchmark recordings (cf. Blumenstock/Butt, Podger/Pinnock) but I was rather unmoved by both his 1975 Goldberg Variations and 1969 Art of Fugue.

    If you are undertaking the Bach-harpsichord path then Gilbert (there is a box-set by Archiv of all the keyboard works) and Van Asperen (WTC, Toccatas) should also be considered.
    Last edited by numinisgos; Aug-26-2019 at 01:06.

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  16. #28
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    I'm cool on Perahia, actively dislike Schiff, but my impression of Schiff is mostly from his Decca days, which recordings I found pretty dull.

    In general, I prefer Sokolov, Richter, Gould, Yudina, and Feinberg for my Bach keyboard playing. Argerich has a good Bach CD, and Zhukov has a fantastic recording of the Passacaglia of his own transcription that's one of my favorites. Schepkin is good too, but he can be irritating at times, but quite good other times.
    Last edited by howlingfantods; Aug-28-2019 at 21:37.

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  18. #29
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    I do quite like Perahia's Bach. He is unashamedly a pianist but I don't think it is true to say he is smooth. Schiff's later ECM recordings are quite special and not quite as pianistic as Perahia. There are many pianists I like in Bach and quite a few I don't like so much!

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    One place where you can hear the distinctive features of Perahia’s approach is in the gigue of the 6th partita. His piano style makes him unable to make anything more of the music than an exercise in speed, like the Schumann toccata. But we know from informed performances that this music can, indeed should, be very dark indeed. Schiff is very different from an expressive point of view even in the Philips recording, I think more so in the ECM.

    But I can imagine that some people will think that Perahia nails it, if they’re expectations are set by c19 music or if they’re rooted in the view that baroque music is essentially uplifting.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Aug-30-2019 at 17:39.

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