The Keyboard Music of Bach

Discussion in 'Classical Music' started by Rodrigo de Sá, Jun 19, 2003.

  1. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

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    Really?
     
    Marc, Nov 8, 2009
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  2. Rodrigo de Sá

    bat Connoisseur Par Excelence

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    Sure I like you. What would Bach's music be without your posts.:)
     
    bat, Nov 8, 2009
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  3. Rodrigo de Sá

    bat Connoisseur Par Excelence

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    May I remind you of pianist Andras Schiff's opinion that although Bach
    CAN be played on the almost obsolete harpsichord, it sounds better on the piano
    and very few people can bear the sound of harpsichord for one hour or more.
    (I can.)
    Schiff has compared the sound of harpsichord to that of a sewing machine.

    Before you say that Schiff knows nothing may I remind you that he is one of the most respected living pianists. He probably knows more of music than all of us put together. Me excluded, of course,
    because I have THE BEST POSSIBLE TASTE, remember.:D
     
    bat, Nov 8, 2009
  4. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

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    I asked 'really?', because I did not read anything like the it's a crime to play Bach on the piano argument, although you suggested (only slightly, of course :D) that this argument was used.
    For instance: I myself (try to) play Bach on the piano. Should I punish myself for that?
    I only like harpsichord better myself (but I don't own one), and this preference is growing the last couple of years. The clarity of Bach's music can be heard and enjoyed much better, IMHO. That's all.
    About the highly respected mr. Schiff and his harpsichordio sewing machines: to me, that's his problem. Since I've heard Golden Brown by The Stranglers, back in 1982, I don't share that opinion. That's all (again).
     
    Marc, Nov 8, 2009
  5. Rodrigo de Sá

    pe-zulu

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    A rather tasteless statement.:rolleyes:
     
    pe-zulu, Nov 8, 2009
  6. Rodrigo de Sá

    bat Connoisseur Par Excelence

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    Could you elaborate on Golden Brown by The Stranglers, I am not sure if I got that.
    Personally I enjoy Bach on almost any instrument except the bazooka.
     
    bat, Nov 8, 2009
  7. Rodrigo de Sá

    bat Connoisseur Par Excelence

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    Late Kenny Everett used it with great success.
     
    bat, Nov 8, 2009
  8. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

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    Well, back in 1982 I fell in love with the sound of the harpsichord, thanx to this song, you knöw.
    And to experience these feelings of love I did not even need Golden Brown, you knöw.

    Apparently mr. Schiff doesn't.
    About myself: yes, I enjoy Bach on almost any instrument, too. But I do have my preferences, you knöw.
     
    Marc, Nov 8, 2009
  9. Rodrigo de Sá

    bat Connoisseur Par Excelence

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    bat, Nov 8, 2009
  10. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

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    Sometimes I feel the need to hug the poor man.
    No, I was referring to Brown Sugar.
     
    Marc, Nov 8, 2009
  11. Rodrigo de Sá

    bat Connoisseur Par Excelence

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    You mean the 1971 or so Rolling Stones album?
     
    bat, Nov 8, 2009
  12. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

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    In fact it's rather off-topic, but I'll be as 'clean' as I can with this explanation:
    Thanks to the Stranglers' song, I came to like the sound of the harpsichord. As a young adolescent I somehow experienced lovely and heavenly feelings inside, whilst listening to this song.
    To reach this lovely feeling, I did not need to actually have Golden Brown. In this particular song, Golden Brown refers to two things. It's about unadulterated heroin (which has a golden brown colour) and also about a lovely brown girl. Apparently, both heroin and the girl gave the 'singer' very pleasurable moments. :cool:

    The same 'explanation' goes for the Stones' song Brown Sugar.

    But, as I said, I did (and still do) not need the presence of a dark beauty nor a sniff of brown sugar to fully enjoy the sound of the 'sowing machine'.

    Especially when Bach's sowing is involved! :D
    (Let's make it at least on-topic!)
     
    Marc, Nov 8, 2009
  13. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

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    I'm not complaining. :)

    It seems my own taste is somehow crystallizing out.

    But I feel I do need to stop now, before someone wants to know more about Crystal.
     
    Marc, Nov 8, 2009
  14. Rodrigo de Sá

    bat Connoisseur Par Excelence

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    OK. now I get it. You mean the prime minister of the UK. But his first name is Gordon, not Golden.
     
    bat, Nov 8, 2009
  15. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

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    Yep.
    Like somebody called me Sebastian.
     
    Marc, Nov 8, 2009
  16. Rodrigo de Sá

    pe-zulu

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    Well, I never confused Steve Harley with Sebastian.:D
     
    pe-zulu, Nov 8, 2009
  17. Rodrigo de Sá

    Rodrigo de Sá This club's crushing bore

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    Well, we had this discussion before, but may I say again that the piano-harpsichord debate is foremost a matter of taste?

    It is true that the piano allows many things that the harpsichord doesn't, but then it add a lot of effects and possibilities that are alien to the music.

    NOTE on how to play Bach and counterpoint generally:
    I am growing more and more convinced that polyphony was always meant as a method of composition rather than as a 'theme-catching' puzzle.

    I really think most of what we react to is harmony and the upper line of the music (in organ music, also the lower part) – anyway, to the most prominent melodic line. Of course, music was written with hidden themes and relations, but they were no more to be listened to consciously than the famous 'numeric relations' and 'musical symbols' that Bach often used and that don't affect our appreciation of the music.

    Let me more or less quote Marie Claire Alain, about the Art of Fugue: she said she played the music as she felt it; she had had to know all the counterpoint devices Bach used; but in order to play well, she said she had to unlearn them.

    In fact, in Bach, it may happen that two themes start on the same note, which, unless two different instruments, with contrasting timbres, are used, make it impossible, even in the piano, to make them audible.

    Unless a theme stands out, it is not there to be listened to attentively; the attentive player will know, and the listener will get the sensation of harmonic recognition. That is all. The music always flows in terms of harmony and most prominent melodic part.
    END of Note

    Bach's music, as every other kind of music, depends on structure, melody, rhythm and harmony.

    Another NOTE: Usually, harmony distortion builds up and then resolves; or two different themes struggle for coexistence. There is melodic/harmonic meaning that must be respected (melody can be flowing or disjointed, open —large intervals— or closed —small intervals— contorted —modulations— or not and many more). END of NOTE

    A good interpretation is one that makes these features more evident.

    With this is mind, whether one prefers the piano or the harpsichord as a way of music making is a matter of taste, and providing one does not go against the spirit of Bach and respects tension buildup and the need for a somewhat cantabile and flowing style, every instrument will be good.
     
    Rodrigo de Sá, Nov 9, 2009
  18. Rodrigo de Sá

    Rodrigo de Sá This club's crushing bore

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    I'm sorry I did not notice all the stuff that went on after the harpsichord piano thing... I must say I am utterly confused by all the double meanings... What on earth are you talking about?? Who is Steven Harley, Sugar Brown and something Everest?
    Don't bother to answer... This post is only to explain the 'on earnest' post before this one.
     
    Rodrigo de Sá, Nov 9, 2009
  19. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

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    We, like Kenny Everett sometimes, were off-topic .... and you brought us back. :)

    In reaction to a part of your contribution: I have to admit that in music in many cases I do primarily react to the bass line. That's why (I think) the music of mr. Sebastian (Bach) is so appealing to me, from the first time I've heard it.
     
    Marc, Nov 9, 2009
  20. Rodrigo de Sá

    bat Connoisseur Par Excelence

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    Then Tallis scholar's recording of Jacob Obrecht's Missa Maria zart would blow your mind. It is loaded with divine bass lines, eight of them simultaneously. A psychedelic trip to Renaissance, and an unique composer who thinks as a virtuoso bass player.
     
    bat, Nov 9, 2009
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