Interesting way to play Bach "Dorian" fugue

Discussion in 'Classical Music' started by bat, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. bat

    bat Connoisseur Par Excelence

    Feb 14, 2004
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    Dark castle
    bat, Mar 15, 2004
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  2. bat

    Rodrigo de Sá This club's crushing bore

    Jun 19, 2003
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    This is one of the Bach fugues I like the most. It is almost all made from thematic material (the theme and the countersubject). We are not sure of how Bach meant it to be played. Perhaps very markedly (the way Koopman does) and relatively fast (Guillou seems 'way too fast). Anyway, I personally prefer a more 'ecstatic' view of it.

    The second version of Walcha, at Alkmaar, is just perfect for my taste. He is not slow, but extremely vocal and he uses the very high tertzian plus the oberwerk cymbel. Later he comes to the Hauptwerk.

    Marie-Claire Alain just uses the principals (8+4, if I am not mistaken) and later adds the 2' and the mixtur, ending in a plenum. Isoir makes it with flutes - very beautiful - as Walcha 1 did.

    Now about Guillou. The excerpt is too small, but I know his playing relatively well. He always chooses strange, verging on bizarre, tempi, registrations and articulations. He is an unbelievable virtuoso, but is also a terribly narcissist.

    At Saint Eustache (Paris) he managed to move have a double console: one is mechanical, and is located behind the positif, where consoles usually are; the other is electrical, and stands in the middle of the church, so that everyone can watch him play. He is a very impressive character: tall, very slim, with an enormous white mane of a hair, extremely elegant and dresses in black, in a Cantor-like suit.

    It is fantastic to watch - he even plays the Goldbergs in the organ, with the bass voice in the pedals (this is a truly astounding feat).

    Now, do I like his playing? It is too effete to my liking. He never plays things the way one would expect - no bad thing in itself, but Bach doesn't grant the interpreter such a lot of freedom. It is much more 'interesting' than beautiful. I never said to myself, listening to Guillou: 'that is the way to play it!' I always think: 'How odd, let's see if it works'. Usually I find it works more or less, sometimes rather well, other times it is plain awful.

    The excerpt you pointed us at is too short, but it seems to be a case of 'how odd'. That said, this fugue is so beautiful it is almost impossible to spoil it.

    But you might perhaps listen to Walcha's first: it's cheap, easy to get an plain wonderful.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2004
    Rodrigo de Sá, Mar 15, 2004
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