The Organ Music of Bach

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

  1. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, Premont, I personally do not really believe in these North-South 'classifications'. And it's also risky to anwer such questions. ;)
    One might be getting stigmatized for ever as an ignorant layman.
    But, since I only started to listen to organ music (mainly by Bach) seriously some 15 months ago, I thought I should take this risk. :D
    It's just nice to make some kind of a 'summary' for one selves.

    My first idea was: we're listening to a 'Anglo-Saxon' influenced organist. The Toccata performance reminded me of Kevin Bowyer's reading. Fast, skillful, not introvert, but also not digging very deep. But the Fugue wasn't very Bowyer-like. It was played rather laid-back and too cautiously registrated, which caused a lack of tension IMO. Not to my likings, really.

    The recording was a bit hollow and maybe that caused the rather impersonal sound of the instrument. My guess would be: not a historic organ, but a neo-baroque one. Made me think a bit of the Tamburinis played by Corti.

    But I really couldn't mention a name or an organ builder. Who knows, maybe I own this reading myself.
    And maybe it's a 17th century instrument played by a hot blooded Spaniard. So: make fun of me. There's nothing wrong with having fun. :D
     
    Marc, May 28, 2010
    1. Advertisements

  2. Rodrigo de Sá

    pe-zulu

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    1
    Nor do I believe in classifications like these, especially not the Northener-Southener distinction. But Rodrigo brought them with him, and I am very curious to see him use the distinctions in practise.:)

    You describe the interpretation and recording very much in the way I think of it, and it was a great disappointment to me, given the name of the performer. I shall wait to reveal the name until Rodrigo has told us his opinion. By the way: I would never make fun of you in these issues.
     
    pe-zulu, May 28, 2010
    1. Advertisements

  3. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, but Rodrigo already withdrew this categorization.

    All right, I'll give you a name: M-C Alain? :eek:
     
    Marc, May 28, 2010
  4. Rodrigo de Sá

    bat Connoisseur Par Excelence

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dark castle
    Maybe this is ok... my sound card does not work.
     
    bat, May 28, 2010
  5. Rodrigo de Sá

    pe-zulu

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    1
    Or modified, or rather elaborated it.

    Fortunately not.:)
     
    pe-zulu, May 28, 2010
  6. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re pe-zulu: Olivier Latry?

    (Around 2014, I will have mentioned them all :D.)

    Re bat: sure it's OK. But I still think Janssen's Toccata is more bat-like.
    Or try something different than BWV 565 or 542:

    Prelude & Fugue in E-minor BWV 533, played by Stanislas Deriemaeker on the Metzler organ of the Onze Lieve Vrouwekathedraal in Antwerpen, Belgium.

    http://www.mediafire.com/?kbmiwwjahzy
     
    Marc, May 29, 2010
  7. Rodrigo de Sá

    pe-zulu

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    1
    Fortunately not. :)
     
    pe-zulu, May 31, 2010
  8. Rodrigo de Sá

    bat Connoisseur Par Excelence

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dark castle
    [​IMG]
    Shocking truth...
     
    bat, Jun 1, 2010
  9. Rodrigo de Sá

    pe-zulu

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    1
    "Was is Wahrheit?"
     
    pe-zulu, Jun 1, 2010
  10. Rodrigo de Sá

    Grothendieck

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    5
    I don't mean to interrupt, but I came across a recording of Walcha which might be of interest. It's a 1967 recording of Walcha playing live Bach's 6-voice Ricercare. The recording can be heard at the NCRV (Netherlands Public Broadcasting) website. I'm not familiar with posting links, but if you google Walcha + NCRV + Ricercare you should be able to find it. Walcha also performs live the unfinished fugue from the Art of Fugue with his completion.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2010
    Grothendieck, Jun 3, 2010
  11. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, me already discovered there are some interesting gems on that NCRV archive website. Thanks for the link!
     
    Marc, Jun 4, 2010
  12. Rodrigo de Sá

    Rodrigo de Sá This club's crushing bore

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,040
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lisbon
    Dear Grothendieck, welcome.

    I think this has been posted before, but it is always a pleasure to listen to it again. It is a pity Walcha never recorded this work.

    About the northern southern distinction: You are wrong, pe-zulu, I actually withdrew the distinction. As I explained before, I have been thinking about the question of the 'I' and of the 'Me', which varies according to culture and to historical period. But from there to say that all southerners and all northerners differ in this dimension is wrong.

    If I may add yet another counter example, it would be Lena Jacobsen.

    The toccata and fugue: Good interpretation of the toccata; but if the player is the same, why on earth has he (I suppose it is a he?) opposed a massive toccata and a frail (but not really poetic) version of the fugue, almost as if it were a completely different piece? The toccata is massive and muscular; the fugue is almost 'chamber music' like and the result seems to me somewhat flippant (but then I listened to it only once, and on the lousy sound of my laptop).

    I don't think I like the result.

    I have no idea of who would play in such a mannered way. Dutch school, perhaps?

    PS: Edited to add. Superficial, extravert and decorative view of the dorian t&f. The contrast between the p and the f is almost perverse.

    To Marc: No hot blooded Spaniard would play like that! It would be much harder :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2010
    Rodrigo de Sá, Jun 5, 2010
  13. Rodrigo de Sá

    Rodrigo de Sá This club's crushing bore

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,040
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lisbon
    This, perhaps?
     
    Rodrigo de Sá, Jun 5, 2010
  14. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    0
    Talking about a coincidence!
    Found that link recently, too, and had the same 'count' associations.
    Not my fave reading, but I prefer this one to Isoir's recording that belongs to his Bach integral (Calliope), especially because of a bolder played fugue.

    BWV 533 is one of my personal (not so) secret Bach gems. :)
    Three of my preferred performances:
    Piet Kee on the Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger organ, St. Laurenskerk, Alkmaar, NL (Chandos).
    Marie-Claire Alain on the Schwenkedel organ, Collégiale de Saint-Donat, DrÃ'me, France (Erato).
    Stanislas Deriemaeker on the Metzler organ, Onze Lieve Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerpen, Belgium (René Gailly) -> link posted on May, 29th.
     
    Marc, Jun 5, 2010
  15. Rodrigo de Sá

    pe-zulu

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    1
    There is IMO a big difference in the attitudes of Messori and Vartolo on the one hand and Leonhardt and Jacobsen on the other hand. While the tempo and pace of the former is almost completely "free" - just depending on the spontaneity of the performer, the playing of the latter is only partially free, as it seems to vary according to some rather strict rules (agigoc give-and-take rubato). Observing these rules is part of what I see as stylistic understanding in the playing. I admit that some southeners have learnt these rules so well as to make them their own (Ghielmi, Corti, Alessandrini). But generally I think that Northerners obey these stylisitc demands in a more convincing way, than Southeners do. And this probably reflects some cultural difference in the way we learn to express ourselves. But of course the emotions as such do not differ.

    And concerning Southern (in the widest sense) legato contra Dutch style (even Koopman plays in Dutch style) I find that detailed and pointed articulation is a crucial part of the style and not an expression of some kind of pedantic mind. Cantabile playing of course implies detailled articulation, which must mimic the way you sing one or more notes on every syllable. The distribution of notes on syllables in Bach's voal works offers a very good guide to how he probably wanted his instrumental works articulated, and corresponds rather well to the actual but all too sparse articulation signs in his chamber music.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2010
    pe-zulu, Jun 5, 2010
  16. Rodrigo de Sá

    pe-zulu

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    1
    Nor do I like the result, - a big disappointment IMO. I was questioning my own judgement, but you confirm it.

    The player is Scott Ross on the Beckerath organ (1961) of the Immaculée-Conception church, Montreal, recording date unknown.
     
    pe-zulu, Jun 5, 2010
  17. Rodrigo de Sá

    pe-zulu

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    1
    Welcome. A relevant post like yours can never be called an interruption.
     
    pe-zulu, Jun 5, 2010
  18. Rodrigo de Sá

    pe-zulu

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    1
    Well, he looks a bat like an imaginary count Dracula, though I do not find the playing diabolic at all, but pedantic and tedious. I am well aware, that this organ invites to that kind of playing.
     
    pe-zulu, Jun 5, 2010
  19. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    0
    Pe-zulu, interpretation-wise you hit this one right on the spot.
    I guess I was trying to be friendly (again). :)
    But indeed: there's definitely no fluttering and flapping the wings in this one.

    From what I remember (to lazy to check) these pedantic tempo choices are more or less the same on Isoir's Calliope recording, except on that one he opts for a more 'poetic' and softer fugue, which I dislike even more. He's playing that one on a rather different (much less interesting) organ though: Grenzing, Saint-Cyprien, Périgord, France.
     
    Marc, Jun 5, 2010
  20. Rodrigo de Sá

    Marc

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for clearing up the mystery.
    I wouldn't guessed that one in a thousand years.

    Is this also the organ used by Bernard Lagacé for his Bach integral?
    And, if you know him, do you think Lagacé's playing would be more interesting to investigate?
     
    Marc, Jun 5, 2010
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.