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Bach: Keyboard Works - Page 20

post #286 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears View Post

I wonder what the world is coming to when critics complain that brilliant live recordings lack the polish of doctored studio recordings. I would have given anything to hear such an inspired performance of Mahler. It just doesn't happen that often.
Critics need something to prove their raison d’être I guess, even if, in Hurwitz's case, it has turned into something of a media power abuse and self-parody. Let no one forget that the likes of Claudia Cassidy have not exactly disappeared simply because the internet is replacing newspapers.

ps. Did Hurwitz pan Boulez's VPO Bruckner 8 also? That is one perfect living recording, both in sound and in interpretation and performance.
post #287 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masolino View Post
Critics need something to prove their raison d’être I guess, even if, in Hurwitz's case, it has turned into something of a media power abuse and self-parody. Let no one forget that the likes of Claudia Cassidy have not exactly disappeared simply because the internet is replacing newspapers.

ps. Did Hurwitz pan Boulez's VPO Bruckner 8 also? That is one perfect living recording, both in sound and in interpretation and performance.
No, that one got the 10/10, but he still quibbled about the details:

Yes, the acoustic of the Austrian monastery church of St. Florian (Bruckner's own "home away from home"; he's buried in a crypt under the organ that bears his name) absorbs some of the high frequencies and makes the timpani a bit boomy, but this is a real "Bruckner" sound: big, reverberant, the horns less forward though not less powerful than in many other VPO productions, the whole capped by brilliant trumpets that add an almost Baroque splendor to the aural palette.


Apparently an accoustic that makes the typani more boomy is to be preferred to one that muffles the triangles.
post #288 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears View Post
No, that one got the 10/10, but he still quibbled about the details:

Yes, the acoustic of the Austrian monastery church of St. Florian (Bruckner's own "home away from home"; he's buried in a crypt under the organ that bears his name) absorbs some of the high frequencies and makes the timpani a bit boomy, but this is a real "Bruckner" sound: big, reverberant, the horns less forward though not less powerful than in many other VPO productions, the whole capped by brilliant trumpets that add an almost Baroque splendor to the aural palette.


Apparently an accoustic that makes the typani more boomy is to be preferred to one that muffles the triangles.
Frankly, I find Jed Distler - not that he's perfect either - easier to deal with than Hurwitz, so to speak. Distler, when he loathes something, at least has the manners to explain why that's the case. For example, Distler seemingly hates the Rachel Podger Bach violin sonatas and partitas, but makes his case why he does. Hurwitz would probably take 2000 words to explain why HIP is wrong, why Podger doesn't even get HIP, and why the recordings miss something crucial. Of course, I still prefer Nathan Milstein to Podger.

I use CT.com, mostly, to see what's new and what's popular, but if I really needed a recommendation, I would probably come here first.
post #289 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08 View Post
Frankly, I find Jed Distler - not that he's perfect either - easier to deal with than Hurwitz, so to speak. Distler, when he loathes something, at least has the manners to explain why that's the case. For example, Distler seemingly hates the Rachel Podger Bach violin sonatas and partitas, but makes his case why he does. Hurwitz would probably take 2000 words to explain why HIP is wrong, why Podger doesn't even get HIP, and why the recordings miss something crucial. Of course, I still prefer Nathan Milstein to Podger.

I use CT.com, mostly, to see what's new and what's popular, but if I really needed a recommendation, I would probably come here first.
I agree. The only reason I read the Hurwitzer is for the really scathing review which is always so vitriolic that I can't help but smile. But seriously, he's become toxic and sometimes it's not funny at all.
post #290 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears View Post
I agree. The only reason I read the Hurwitzer is for the really scathing review which is always so vitriolic that I can't help but smile. But seriously, he's become toxic and sometimes it's not funny at all.
The unfortunate part is that the stuff he likes to cover is the stuff to which I like to listen.

Of course, I've been on a serious Bach kick, which means that Jed Distler is the go-to guy (with a couple others) for the solo stuff, but occasionally Hurwitz will show up over there.
post #291 of 298


Harald Hoeren, of Camerata Koeln and Trio 1790 fame, has been involved in the CPO JC Bach project for recording the solo keyboard works, and does a commandable job in rendering and promoting these beautifully crafted and charming pieces (one has the feeling of hearing pre-quels of Mozart's masterpieces) by the most underrated of all Bach sons. The fortepiano he chose for these recordings, a Heilmann copy by Derek Adlam - himself formerly a famous Bach performer - has a really pleasant sound to match.
post #292 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08 View Post
The unfortunate part is that the stuff he likes to cover is the stuff to which I like to listen.

Of course, I've been on a serious Bach kick, which means that Jed Distler is the go-to guy (with a couple others) for the solo stuff, but occasionally Hurwitz will show up over there.
Hi PS,

Which Bach have you been listening to?
post #293 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears View Post
Hi PS,

Which Bach have you been listening to?
On the recommendations of this thread, and elsewhere,

Rousset's French and English Suites
Ehnes' and Beauséjour's Sonatas for violin and harpsichord 1-4
Manze's and Podger's solo and double violin concertos
Podger's and Milstein's violin sonatas and partitas
Barenboim's Well-Tempered Clavier (I) on the piano
Kirkpatrick's Well-Tempered Clavier (I) on the clavichord
Scott Ross' Goldberg Variations
The Rachlin/Imai/Maisky Goldbergs for string trio
Fournier's Cello Suites (an old favorite, but still a favorite)
Hunt Lieberson's cantatas, especially the famous "Ich habe genug."

For whatever reason, I am just on a serious - and seriously expensive - Bach kick, as well as a nascent fixation on the Hammerklavier.
post #294 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08 View Post
On the recommendations of this thread, and elsewhere,

Rousset's French and English Suites
Ehnes' and Beauséjour's Sonatas for violin and harpsichord 1-4
Manze's and Podger's solo and double violin concertos
Podger's and Milstein's violin sonatas and partitas
Barenboim's Well-Tempered Clavier (I) on the piano
Kirkpatrick's Well-Tempered Clavier (I) on the clavichord
Scott Ross' Goldberg Variations
The Rachlin/Imai/Maisky Goldbergs for string trio
Fournier's Cello Suites (an old favorite, but still a favorite)
Hunt Lieberson's cantatas, especially the famous "Ich habe genug."

For whatever reason, I am just on a serious - and seriously expensive - Bach kick, as well as a nascent fixation on the Hammerklavier.
Well, you have a good deal of harpsichord there for someone who's becoming obsessed with the piano.

The recent Bach harpsichord concerti recorded by Lars Ulrick Mortensen and the Concerto Copenhagen (Cpo) may be just up your alley! There are 2 volumes out so far which are just splendid.

You might also like the Rousset box set of solo Bach works which is still available at yourmusic and the BMG clubs. When that goes, it's going to be hard to pick up those works again. That one at least isn't so much of a budget buster.

If you decide that you'd like a set of the cello suites that aren't so romantic, you might want to try the second recording by Anner Bylsma (on the Smithsonian's Servais strad). Also, you can get a great boxed set from HMV UK, that even including the shipping to the USA is quite the bargain. It includes the Bach cello suites as well as the out of print Beethoven complete music for cello and piano. £14.99 for 10 cds of world class music is always a bargain.
post #295 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears View Post

If you decide that you'd like a set of the cello suites that aren't so romantic, you might want to try the second recording by Anner Bylsma (on the Smithsonian's Servais strad). Also, you can get a great boxed set from HMV UK, that even including the shipping to the USA is quite the bargain. It includes the Bach cello suites as well as the out of print Beethoven complete music for cello and piano. £14.99 for 10 cds of world class music is always a bargain.
I think the Bylsma Bach cello suites inlcuded in the box set are his first recordings though, which were recorded not on the Servais Strad but on Byslma's own Gofriller. Afaik to hear Bylsma on the Strad one will have to buy the second recording by itself.
post #296 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears View Post
Well, you have a good deal of harpsichord there for someone who's becoming obsessed with the piano.
Ah, no - not the Hammerklavier in general, just Beethoven's sonata. As a rule, I prefer the harpsichord for a variety of reasons. Especially under the hands of someone like Ross or Rousset, who really gets it.

Quote:
The recent Bach harpsichord concerti recorded by Lars Ulrick Mortensen and the Concerto Copenhagen (Cpo) may be just up your alley! There are 2 volumes out so far which are just splendid.
My reference recordings of the concerti are Pinnock's (et al., on occasion) with The English Concert. I'm sure you know, but Mortensen was a contributor to Pinnock's set. As a rule, I am partial to the F-major concerto (BWV 1057), largely for the charming first movement with its woodwinds and harpsichord.

Quote:
You might also like the Rousset box set of solo Bach works which is still available at yourmusic and the BMG clubs. When that goes, it's going to be hard to pick up those works again. That one at least isn't so much of a budget buster.
So I hear, and that set is indeed on my list of things to buy. I'm still partial to Martha Argerich in English no. 2, but Rousset is undeniably great at what he does. He and Pierre Hantaï are probably my favorite living harpsichordists at this point (some allowance must be made for Scott Ross). The piano recordings are a different story, though.

Quote:
If you decide that you'd like a set of the cello suites that aren't so romantic, you might want to try the second recording by Anner Bylsma (on the Smithsonian's Servais strad). Also, you can get a great boxed set from HMV UK, that even including the shipping to the USA is quite the bargain. It includes the Bach cello suites as well as the out of print Beethoven complete music for cello and piano. £14.99 for 10 cds of world class music is always a bargain.
I'd agree. There's Fournier, and following closely is Tortelier. I will add the Bylsma recordings on my list, but it's an uphill battle to displace Fournier for me. Tortelier gave it the college try, but fell short.
post #297 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08 View Post
Ah, no - not the Hammerklavier in general, just Beethoven's sonata. As a rule, I prefer the harpsichord for a variety of reasons. Especially under the hands of someone like Ross or Rousset, who really gets it.
Have you listened to any Hammerflugel (fortepiano) recordings of the sonatas? The Andreas Staier/Daniel Sepec recording of sonatas for klavier and violin by Beethoven is probably the best recording of such works I've yet heard. I hope they don't let that go out of print, but so many of Staier's recordings have been allowed to fade away there's just no guarantee.

Quote:
My reference recordings of the concerti are Pinnock's (et al., on occasion) with The English Concert. I'm sure you know, but Mortensen was a contributor to Pinnock's set. As a rule, I am partial to the F-major concerto (BWV 1057), largely for the charming first movement with its woodwinds and harpsichord.
Pinnock is quite fine but I think the Mortensen set has better sound quality (esp. sound stage) as well as more interesting ensemble play. If you can find them, the Rousset/Hogwood concerti are also quite fine. Again, the sound is from the earliest days of digital. There are also the Café Zimmermann's first volume of Concerts pour Plusieurs Instruments which includes the 5th Brandenburg concerto. They have 3 volumes of concerti, but they are not volumes of solely the harpsichord concerti, and it's next to impossible to find the most recent volume as it was never released in the USA.

The biggest problem with HIP recordings is that they aren't widely distributed in the USA and they are frequently allowed to go out of print. If you decide that you really want them a few years down the line, they will be wickedly expensive because they are very desirable to collectors. The Mortensen set is on the mid priced Cpo label. They would be quite a bit more expensive if they were released by HM or Bis or any of the other smaller independent companies. Cpo, however, also lets things go out of print which is when prices start to increase. Of course you can wait a few years hoping to find them at Berkshire one day. I picked up the Haydn London Trios by the Camerata Köln there very recently (also Cpo). I am not usually that lucky.

Quote:
So I hear, and that set is indeed on my list of things to buy. I'm still partial to Martha Argerich in English no. 2, but Rousset is undeniably great at what he does. He and Pierre Hantaï are probably my favorite living harpsichordists at this point (some allowance must be made for Scott Ross). The piano recordings are a different story, though.
As Scott Ross died of aids in 1989, there's no way he could be among anyone's living favorites of anything. He was a great harpsichordist who, had he lived longer, would certainly have been ranked along side Hantaï and Rousset. His Couperin Intégrale is rated as highly as Rousset's (priced at Amazon at $901.00 used) and will eventually command similarly high prices as it too is becoming very scarce.

Btw, that Rousset set doesn't include the English or French Suites, but instead has the Goldbergs, the Italian Concerto, French Overture, Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, and 6 Partitas.

Martha Argerich is a pianist, not a harpsichordist, so that's like comparing apples to oranges. Her Bach can be quite fine, there's not a doubt about that, though. At her concert with the Philadelphia in March, she performed the Bourée I and II from Bach’s English Suite No. 2 in A minor (BWV 807). It was sensational, so I can understand your preference.

You cannot do better than Hantaï for a harpsichordist. His Goldbergs really set the standard, but Celine Frisch, Ketil Haugsand, Blandine Rannou, Christiane Jaccotet and many others also have excellent recordings on harpsichord. For the Well Tempered Clavier there are also Glen Wilson's estimable set (which I think edges out the Kirkpatrick which is probably the cheapest set available), Bob van Asperen, and also Masolino's recommedation of Ottavio Dantone among others. On piano, there is Till Fellner (for book 1) as well as Angela Hewitt, and many more. It's a very competitive field.


Quote:
I'd agree. There's Fournier, and following closely is Tortelier. I will add the Bylsma recordings on my list, but it's an uphill battle to displace Fournier for me. Tortelier gave it the college try, but fell short.
Tortelier was also in the romantic tradition as was Rostropovich and Casals. All of them used modern reconstructed cellos with steel strings. Bylsma (properly spelled Bijlsma) uses baroque instruments strung with gut so the sound of his recording is extremely different because of the instrument as well as the style of playing (Far less vibrato than Fournier and Tortelier use). For other period instrument performance of the suites, I would suggest Wispelwey, Jaap ter Linden, Thedéen or Kuijken. If you want a modern cello performance that would appeal as much as the Fournier, I would suggest Heinrich Schiff whom Tyson also favors.
post #298 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
As Scott Ross died of aids in 1989, there's no way he could be among anyone's living favorites of anything. He was a great harpsichordist who, had he lived longer, would certainly have been ranked along side Hantaï and Rousset. His Couperin Intégrale is rated as highly as Rousset's (priced at Amazon at $901.00 used) and will eventually command similarly high prices as it too is becoming very scarce.
As Ross probably is my overall favorite harpsichordist, I put the "living" bit in there so that I could protect his overall place while giving room to Rousset and Hantaï. In the Ross material that I have heard and listen to regularly, he seems to have had a preternatural understanding of how to make things sound so they sound "right."

Quote:
Martha Argerich is a pianist, not a harpsichordist, so that's like comparing apples to oranges. Her Bach can be quite fine, there's not a doubt about that, though. At her concert with the Philadelphia in March, she performed the Bourée I and II from Bach’s English Suite No. 2 in A minor (BWV 807). It was sensational, so I can understand your preference.
This is one area where <gasp!> I believe that the performances on a piano and harpsichord are immediately comparable. Bach's notes are the notes, and while some allowance can be made for instrumental issues, either a performer gets it or they do not. They could play on a harpsichord or a theremin or a gutbucket, and if they don't understand how to play Bach, then it will sound like it - no matter what the instrument. Both Rousset and Argerich get Bach, so it isn't a problem, but I don't see the problem in comparing them.

Quote:
Tortelier was also in the romantic tradition as was Rostropovich and Casals. All of them used modern reconstructed cellos with steel strings. Bylsma (properly spelled Bijlsma) uses baroque instruments strung with gut so the sound of his recording is extremely different because of the instrument as well as the style of playing (Far less vibrato than Fournier and Tortelier use). For other period instrument performance of the suites, I would suggest Wispelwey, Jaap ter Linden, Thedéen or Kuijken. If you want a modern cello performance that would appeal as much as the Fournier, I would suggest Heinrich Schiff whom Tyson also favors.
I do have the Jaap ter Linden set, but I still like Fournier. For whatever reason, his performance seems to work for me. There is a sort of stately calm to it, even when the music is far from calm, that really does it for me. To use my phrase: he got Bach, technique aside.
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