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post #31 of 298
I've been listening to the English Suites done by Angela Hewitt, and I think she may overuse the pedal, especially in the first suite where the structure of the music is really overwhelmed. I have to listen to them some more before I make up my mind, but the opening pieces are definitely not up to the level of the work on the later ones.
post #32 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by cynicalkane
Bach? On the piano?

On a fortepiano, maybe.

Bach, on a modern iron-framed piano, is just... no. I can't stand it. The seperate voices get tangled and muddled in the modern piano's super-loud super-sustained mass of overtones. You can't hear a thing.
I think I generally prefer Bach keyboard works on harpsicord vs piano, the music just seems to flow better with more natural rythm. When same notes played on piano it has a stripped down clinical feel to it that seems a bit cold or detached.

Same comments apply to Scarlatti sonatas, many try to force them into piano versions but again sounds more natural and flowing on harpsicord to me.
post #33 of 298
DA, I do agree for the most part. Bach on harpsichord is wonderful and preferred, but Tureck's recordings on piano really have a special dimension.

As for Scarlatti sonatas, that is a different proposition. Alexis Weissenberg's recordings of the Scarlatti Sonatas are so profound as to take my breath away. They are deeply moving, in ways I cannot begin to describe. Forget Horowitz's occassional recordings of them -- way too much pedal and schmaltz, they are pure Horowitz not Bach.

Edit: I tried to find a reference for the sonatas which were on DG, but it seems to be out of print. Hopefully, if you are interested you can find a used edition. I recommend it very highly. It is an extraordinary recording.
post #34 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
I will be able to directly compare Hewitt/Gould on a couple pieces, should be interesting.
Just listened to Goldberg Variations:
Hewitt/Hyperion
Gould/Sony (1955)


There can be no room for ambivilance in choosing your favorite here since they sound quite different, and I enjoy Gould much more. He plays with much more animated technique that sparks my interest to greater level. His sense of exploration making everything sound alive with natural rythmic flow.

By comparison Hewitt has smoother more refined style, yet to me sounds more static and lacks colorful character....it did not move me or pique my interest like Gould. Hewitt is like watching a well filmed BW movie and Gould is like same movie in technicolor.

Keeping in mind Tyson's comments about not liking Hewitt for long time initially will keep this for now, but not be buying more Hewitt. Critics seem to be extremely positive on her Bach, but doesn't seem to click with me.
post #35 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Just listened to Goldberg Variations:
Hewitt/Hyperion
Gould/Sony (1955)


There can be no room for ambivilance in choosing your favorite here since they sound quite different, and I enjoy Gould much more.
I'm with you here - Gould rules! Although Hewitt is an excellent player, Gould gives a much more sharply characterized performance, against which Hewitt sounds merely dull.

But Bach of all composers wrote music that trancends any individual performance, and I don't claim that Gould's way is the only way. It is just the way that appeals to me.
post #36 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shosta
I want to add Sviatoslav Richter IHMO one of the greatest artists of the last century.
I like specially his recordings of Haydn's sonatas.
For me, without doubt he is the greatest pianist of the 20th century.
His recording of well-tempered piano (RCA Gold Seal) is phenomenal.
He seems to use pedals a lot in that recording, which is rather uncommon.
The first few years I had it, I thought it was OK.
Then someday it stared to make sense to me, more and more, until it reaches a biblical status for me.
It took me years to start to appreciate this recording, but that's just me.
post #37 of 298
Thread Starter 
I have been listening to my Hewitt English Suites. I can concur with Tyson's and others opinions that it may take awhile to adore the recording. I really like it though and will be curious to see how I feel as I listen more. Her style is understated and lacks personality. Although that sounds condescending it really isn't. A lack of a personal stamp simply leaves us with Bach's music.

With a performer like Gould and to a lesser extent Tureck, one is much more aware of the personal stamp being made on the performance. I like the these performers a lot as well. They move you and dazzle you. They really are amazing performers.

It seems to be that one could compare these aesthetics with a work of art that grabs you and excites, or one that calms and pulls you into a deeper level of awareness and meditation. Personally I am of both camps.

Thanks Tyson for the recommendation. Not sure which performer to buy next, whether I want variety or to explore Hewitt further.

dshea
post #38 of 298
dshea, that's exactly it! It's the same reason that I prefer Fournier or Kirshbaum in the Cello suites over Rostropovich, Wispelwey, or Maisky.
post #39 of 298
Dshea & Gang
What about harpsicord versions of Bach?
Do you prefer piano or harpsicord and why?
I would love to have some of the new Christophe Rousset series on harpsicord but too expensive right now!
Here is his new English Suites release on Ambroisie label.

post #40 of 298
When it comes to Bach on the harpsichord, I am always comparing everything to Wanda Landowska. I heard her recordings first as a child, and continue to use her as my reference. Gould owes a lot to her as does Tureck. I am interested in finding more performers on harpsichord.

Btw, the Art of the Fugue was written for the organ, and I still prefer it that way. The organ has a lot more dynamism than the harpsichord and a lot more bass. I think a great deal of Bach comes across on organ much better than piano or even harpsichord, especially the preludes and fugues.
post #41 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson
dshea, that's exactly it! It's the same reason that I prefer Fournier or Kirshbaum in the Cello suites over Rostropovich, Wispelwey, or Maisky.
I have to agree about the Fournier, although I have a Janos Starker recording (out of print on Sefel Label) that is incredibly austere and elegant. I bought the Mercury recordings, but they are not quite in the same manner, perhaps because they are 5 or so years earlier.

I have been listening more to the the Hewitt, but I am still not "getting" them. I think it is her pedal use and the lightness of her touch which just make it seem anemic. I have Gould doing the English Suites as well and I much prefer his attack, eccentricities and all.
post #42 of 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
When it comes to Bach on the harpsichord, I am always comparing everything to Wanda Landowska. I heard her recordings first as a child, and continue to use her as my reference. Gould owes a lot to her as does Tureck. I am interested in finding more performers on harpsichord.
I just ordered the early Landowska/EMI performance of Goldberg Variations etc for mainly historical perspective (since Bunny will not let us rest till we do ) and hear her controversial "modified" harpsicord:



I got the early EMI version instead of later RCA one because most comments indicated her later recording looses some energy and is more relaxed. I just hope the sound quality is not too limiting since this is 1933 recording.
post #43 of 298
Actually, there were no harpsichords available for WL to play, so she commissioned Pleyel to construct a new one for her, which is what she used through her career. Pleyel is still the leading manufacturer of harpsichords today, as period instruments seem to vary in construction and design.

After listening to Hewitt's English Suites (and I still think that her work gets better as the disc progresses, I still don't like the pedal work in the first suite), I decided to put on my old recording of Peter Serkin doing the Goldbergs. Well, I think this is what Hewitt was shooting for: the neutral perfomer who lets the Bach structures and harmonies shine. PS was a lot more restrained in the use of the pedal; although employed, it is used very sparingly. I really think Tyson would enjoy this recording.
post #44 of 298
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Dshea & Gang
What about harpsicord versions of Bach?
Do you prefer piano or harpsicord and why?
I would love to have some of the new Christophe Rousset series on harpsicord but too expensive right now!
Here is his new English Suites release on Ambroisie label.

I don't have any harpsichord but think it would be a great addition. I love slow Bach on a harpsichord, it just seems so right.

Sorry all for being so out of it these past two weeks. Another week or so and life will return to normal, with hopefully new CD purchases.

dshea
post #45 of 298
I have the Rousset English Suites (just received) and it is wonderful!!! Unbelievably terrific. Well worth the price, it will change the way you listen to the music forever. As for slow, it is not slow. Rousset must have wrists like iron and fingers that are as fast and flexible as, I don't know-- I can't think of a comparison!

Another great harpsichord album that I just acquired and can't get over is this one:



Bach: Goldberg Variations / Pierre Hantai

And these English Suites:
Great Hall - Bach: English Suites 1, 3, 4 & 6 / Richter
Format: CD (01349156012)
Release Date: Aug 24, 2004
Catalog #: 5601
Label: Delos
Spars: n/a
Pieces in Set: 1
Recorded in: Stereo
The above is a recording of one of the last recitals given by Richter before his death, and shortly after his open-heart surgery. It was recorded in Russia and includes the spoken introduction of the performer and some audience noise. Although he really was not very strong and missed a few notes, the interpretation is amazing. I cannot say enough about the man's depth of understanding in the music. This is not a recording for anyone who wants icy perfection. It is the work of an older man who has faced the prospect of his own mortality and it shows in every note that he plays: it is a profound experience listening to it. Compare it with Angela Hewitt and see the difference.

Also, this:


Bach: Goldberg Variations / Alexis Weissenberg
Format: CD (72435749522)
Release Date: Mar 25, 2003
Catalog #: 74952
Label: EMI Classics Encore
Spars: DDD
Pieces in Set: 1
Recorded in: Stereo
Length: 78 Mins

This is also a great performance!! No wonder I don't find Gould satisfying anymore. The more I hear of Weissenberg the more I want to listen.

Needless to say, I am staying away from Lincoln Center in the near future. I managed to avoid the LC music store (where the outrageously expensive Mahler cycle is sitting) but just had to stop into Tower down the street. My BAD!!!
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