Bach, continued

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Tom
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Post by Tom »

(impressed with the knowledge of music here.
not obsequious - just admiring)

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Enjoy. There is never much incentive to try unfamiliar music, when there is so much available of the the stuff we know we enjoy. But exploration of the
unfamiliar sometimes rewards the daring or curious individual. And in my experience, music that stays with one is not always "love at first sight";
second and third exposures are often necessary before what's there really hits home.

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

That's true. Often the complexity of great music can sound chaotic upon first listening, only to fall into place after repeated exposure.

I have heard Bach's work all my life, but Boccherini sort of slipped by without notice. Then Laurie Virr brought up his name, and I listened. Now I have to stock up on Boccherini recordings!

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Aren't we 21st-Century humans blessed: the world's many musics are at our fingertips, and virtually free for the asking. Barely a dozen decades after commercial sound recording appeared, we now have this cornucopia of pleasure.


I made note of some highlights in Bach's St Matthew Passion, in the YouTube video recording mentioned on the previous page. In addition to the opening chorus and closing of the first part, we have these moments:

Soprano/Alto duet 1:00:50

Alto aria 1:31:52

Bass aria 1:41:50

Soprano aria 1:52:55

Bass recitative 2:31:45 and aria 2:33:45

Final chorus 2:44:01


SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Listeners who would rather listen to -- or ignore -- Latin, than German, can turn to Bach's Mass in B Minor, his notable foray into a text in that language.

In the twentieth century we paid homage to this piece, declaring it to be the most profound of the composer's choral works. It's a pleasure, therefore, to
find a light and joyful rendition of the score. This performance is Baroque "easy listening" at its finest. All of Bach's genius is here, minus the ponderous
weight of tradition, real or imagined, upon on the musical offering.

At an hour and three-quarters, this will provide an extended period of pleasure without having to decide "what to listen to next" -- or it can be taken in
smaller doses at will. Either way, enjoy !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY1w3EhXqwo

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The "B Minor" overshadows the 4 Missa Brevis, or Lutheran Masses comprised of snippets from Bach's 200+ Cantatas. The masses are wonderful ... and considerably shorter than the Big B!

SDR
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Post by SDR »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hms_PF_CKV4

Okay -- for those who could use some more harpsichord in their life, here's the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II. These are works written successively
in every key, major and minor, available to the composer -- 24 in all -- to demonstrate, among other things, "the musical possibilities of well temperament,
where in some keys the consonances are even more degraded than in equal temperament." See below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_temperament
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Well-Tempered_Clavier

In any event, "any excuse for some more good music !" we imagine Bach saying. There's a lot here to hear, and again the long suite of preludes and
fugues can be heard in succession, complete, or not, as will and time permit.

I link to one of gerubach's many "scrolling" videos, for those who are amused or instructed by observing the score as the music unfolds. And I like this
performance, and the instrument, very much. The keyboard player is not identified. Sadly, every pair of pieces here is separated from the next by a
short ad. In this case, the music is so powerful and satisfying that, for me, the disruption is worth the price.

Bach composes using the simplest of materials: little or large scale runs, simple figures, much repetition, of which he builds a sonic architecture that
surpasses all others -- for me. It is certainly not dry; it is in fact drenched in passion, of the most abstract yet deeply moving sort.

Jump ahead to Prelude and Fugue XVII, c. two-thirds of the way through, for a sample treat . . .

S

SDR
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Post by SDR »

On another thread a poster mentioned Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #5, and provided a link to a performance by Karl Richter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK6-x9s ... e=youtu.be My response:


Ah, Herr Richter. So . . . Germanic. I hear some lines anew in the final movement -- but the master seems intent on making a job of work of that harpsichord solo, rather than enjoying it ?

Two other performances, by Igor Kipnes and Gustav Leonhardt, are also "classic" recordings which nevertheless present the most likable versions of that solo, I think. Younger musicians
seem a little too willing to indulge themselves not by demonstrating speed but rather the opposite: exaggerated rubato. The old boys seem to give the thing the right emphasis, in the right
places, without busting it into pieces altogether.

This is Bach at his sunniest, no ? Of course it's great to be able to watch the performers; these older recording are audio only.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAza9ZYxvt8 (turn up the volume for the solo)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9zL0ml6OR0 (best of the bunch, for me, all three movements -- could have been recorded last week !)

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Did P. D. Q. Bach ever record the 5th?

SDR
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Post by SDR »


SDR
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Post by SDR »

Roderick: "There are too many types of instruments in Brandenburg #5. It should be whittled down to 90 euphoniums."


The Richter performance employed a force of c. twenty; another I looked at used ten, and the minimum I encountered in my YouTube search was a bare-bones seven instrumentalists. All three were commendable interpretations . . .

S

SDR
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Post by SDR »

We have already sampled the B minor Mass. Here is a fresh (to my ears) performance that I find delightful. Recorded in 1992, by forces I have not encountered before, it refreshes the music for me without losing anything by way of gravitas or of joy.

At any rate there is none of the quality that characterized performances one heard fifty or sixty years ago, the musicians taking themselves perhaps, and the music surely, way too seriously -- and killing it in the process ?

Here is clarity and light, every delicious line brought to the ear unmolested, all voices and every instrument a transparent vehicle for its part in Bach's great edifice of sound.

The performance gets if anything better as it moves forward; by the time we reach the Sanctus we are in paradise . . .

A review on Amazon seems to me apt:

https://www.amazon.com/Bach-Mass-Minor- ... B00515W1PQ

Here is the recording:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=mi ... ORM=VRDGAR

Enjoy !

S

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I attended a performance of the B Minor at the First Congregational Church (Episcopal) in the mid-70s, a local production. All went well until a solo, soprano, alto, I don't recall. The singer took her place and began to sing, then suddenly fainted, and fell unconscious to the stone floor, behind a railing. Without missing a beat, the orchestra kept playing, a chubby singer from the choir waddled her way through, and took up where the soloist had left off, and they finished the solo. Only then did a gentleman from offstage tend to the fainted woman, who had lain where she fell until the music ended. She was hefted off the 'stage', and the show went on. Not a sound nor a gesture of concern from the audience.

Oh, those COE Brits and their stiff upper lips!

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Top that ! What a day . . .

If the suggested B Minor performance isn't for you, try this one:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=mi ... ORM=VDQVAP

Great acoustic environment---and nice to look at; a real toe-tapper, and you get to watch the performers. Jordi Savall, Catalonia. A+

https://tinyurl.com/y4yhxadk

S

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Well, it's Bach's 334th birthday.

http://fortune.com/2019/03/21/bach-birt ... itorspicks

Ouch. Anybody got something good, for the day ?

Here's something new to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4f1SGOa1fU . . . if you are interested in the voice . . .

S

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