PipeChat Digest #4508 - Wednesday, May 19, 2004
 
Re: changes in Bach
  by <quilisma@cox.net>
Re: changes in Bach
  by "Colin Mitchell" <cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk>
Re: changes in Bach
  by <Gfc234@aol.com>
 

(back) Subject: Re: changes in Bach From: <quilisma@cox.net> Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 21:19:09 -0700   Um, with respect, Walter, we can agree to disagree, but I hardly think Fenner Douglass, Roberta Gary, Roberta Anderson, David Craighead, Anton Heiller, Marie-Claire Alain, Bernard Lagace, or Luigi Tagliavini are "fuddy-duddies" ... I lost some of my Bach volumes a number of years ago (they were stolen along with my car), so I no longer have my notes, but the information came from one of them, either in lessons or in master classes.   No, "just because a teacher said it doesn't make it so," but if you look at the torturous manual changes in Schweitzer's notes, that's the extreme of what I'm talking about. If a manual change or a registration change requires THAT kind of working-out, then it probably shouldn't be DONE.   Bach can survived just about anything (vide "Switched-On Bach" and the lust romantic orchestral and piano transcriptions of the organ works), but that doesn't mean it's RIGHT.   AND, I reiterate that I would NEVER perform Bach without manual and registration changes on the typical run-of-the-mill "American Classic" eclectic electro-pneumatic organ. I'd be ready to slit my wrists before I ever GOT to the fugue (grin).   BUT ... I have had the privilege of playing Bach on some of the finest organs in this country ... Trinity Lutheran, Cleveland (4m Beckerath), Ashland Ave. Baptist, Toledo (2m Brombaugh), All Souls' Episcopal, San Diego (3m Fritts-Richards), etc. and once one has THAT experience, it all becomes clear.   Simplicity allows the music to speak for itself, on a GOOD organ.   The Bach F Major Toccata played on an historic temperament has the crescendos and decrescendos built in ... as one progresses further and further away from F Major, the sound becomes more and more harsh and dissonant, until you finally arrive at that Neapolitan chord just before the return to F major at the end. When one DOES return to F Major, it's like the sun coming out after a thunderstorm. One does not GET that effect in equal temperament, and Bach obviously exploited it.   Historically-informed performances CAN be deadly, but they aren't in the hands of a good organist with a good organ at his disposal.   Cheers,   Bud   Walter Greenwood wrote:   > Thank you, Bud, for your many excellent points, but this is not one of > them. There are > many perfectly obvious overlapping manual changes to be found in Bach. =   > This idea > is fuddy-duddery at best. Jes 'cause a teacher sayd it don't make it = so. > > -WG > >> <quilisma@cox.net> >> >> I cannot recall the teacher at the moment, but it has been said that >> when the sections of a piece OVERLAP, one generally should NOT change >> manuals (on a GOOD organ); when there is SILENCE, then changing >> manuals is an OPTION. Compare the sections of the b minor Prelude and >> Fugue with the sections of the D Major Prelude and Fugue and the F >> Major Toccata and Fugue. >> >> >> > > > "Pipe Up and Be Heard!" > PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related topics > HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org > List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org > Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org > Subscribe/Unsubscribe: mailto:requests@pipechat.org > > >      
(back) Subject: Re: changes in Bach From: "Colin Mitchell" <cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk> Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 22:25:16 -0700 (PDT)   Hello,   I often think that the finest interpreters of Bach's music are not the Germans, English, Americans, Canadians or Aussies, but the Dutch, who very carefully THINK about what they are doing.   Bach is an organist's way of life in Holland, and I can honestly say that I have NEVER heard a poor or uninteresting performance of Bach on my Netherland sojourns.   Of course, they have the organs and the buildings, which does make for good music, but this is only part of the story.   Listening to some stupendous performances of all the major Bach works on these wonderful instruments, convinces me that manual and registrational changes are absolutely "correct" when applied in a scholarly way.   Of course, Bud makes some interesting observations about texture, which I probably haven't thought about before.....an interesting revelation.   I would also add, that the use of stretti AND rubatti are the stuff of increasing intensity; voice leading being paramount in Bach. Consider the ending of the C major P & F (the big one, not the Weimar) where the fugue subject in the pedals rolls out in augmentation against all sorts of other fugal voices at normal speed....a real tour de force of fugal writing. It is complex and very, very exciting; the harmonic rhythm having changed dramatically.   The evidence for manual changes is there for all to see and hear. Look at virtually ANY baroque instrument of reasonable size, and there is almost always the provision of two completely balanced choruses and a fully independent pedal organ.   Organs of the German and North European tradition were designed as concertante instruments, where dialogue between contrasting divisions was surely intended. Look also at the priorities on smaller instruments, where two or more complete choruses were considered necessary; often at the expense of solo colour possibilities. None of that French nonsense!   Of course, on the very large 60+ stop instruments, there is an abundance of baroque "orchestral" sound to play with, but those solo combinations tend to be a luxury.   I cannot even imagine why a composer so great as Bach, would eschew the opportunity to use the concerted dialogue of the baroque style, when he did it with just about every other instrument or combination of instruments.   In a nutshell, I must assume that "werkprinzip" actually served a purpose other than being architecturally very pretty!!   As for the names Bud mentions, I confess to knowing only three! Marie Clair-Alain is one, and Anton Heiller is another, whilst Schweitzer had to be the most tedious Bach player in history.....though Germani came close.   I could easily quote the names of Ton Koopman, Michel Chapuis and Karl Richter, who all play/played Bach very differently, and with just as much scholarship.   Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK     --- quilisma@cox.net wrote: > Um, with respect, Walter, we can agree to disagree, > but I hardly think > Fenner Douglass, Roberta Gary, Roberta Anderson, > David Craighead, Anton > Heiller, Marie-Claire Alain, Bernard Lagace, or > Luigi Tagliavini are > "fuddy-duddies" ...       __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? SBC Yahoo! - Internet access at a great low price. http://promo.yahoo.com/sbc/  
(back) Subject: Re: changes in Bach From: <Gfc234@aol.com> Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 03:29:05 EDT   In a message dated 5/19/2004 12:30:24 AM Central Daylight Time, cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk writes: As for the names Bud mentions, I confess to knowing only three! Marie Clair-Alain is one, and Anton Heiller is another, whilst Schweitzer had to be the most tedious Bach player in history.....though Germani came close.   I could easily quote the names of Ton Koopman, Michel Chapuis and Karl Richter, who all play/played Bach very differently, and with just as much scholarship.   Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK Hans Fagius is wonderful too! Very honest and clean playing-great tempi-great articulation-mature registrations. gfc             Gregory Ceurvorst M.M. Organ Performance Student Northwestern University Director of Music and Organist St. Peter's U.C.C. Frankfort, IL 847.332.2788 home 708.243.2549 mobile gfc234@aol.com