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Heads up Bach Goldberg Variations - live on BBC Radio three NOW!

Discussion in 'classical' started by George J, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    lordsummit likes this.
  2. lordsummit

    lordsummit Moderator

    I’ll catch up on that soon. Thanks
  3. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    By any measure it was a great musical event. Fantastic playing - stylish and expressive in the best way possible. The kind of performance to want to listen to more than once.

    Best wishes from George
  4. JTWzen

    JTWzen pfm Member

    Excellent, heard part in the car will definitely listen to it all on catch up.
  5. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

  6. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    This very performance - the UK premiere - has now emerged on youtube.

    Though I have loved the Goldberg Variations on the Harpsichord [Helmut Walcha on Warner nowadays and still available after six decades] for over thirty years, this arrangement by the avant guarde Polish composer, Józef Koffler in 1938 is for me one of the very few orchestral arrangements of Bach keyboard music, which really works well in respect both of the original musical invention and as a newly transformed piece.

    I have to say this is the most exciting musical discovery for me so far this year.

    Best wishes from George
  7. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    Cute and pastoral. Bach will be rolling over in his grave. You can’t beat a Ruckers

    Was the Walcha on Warner the one he recorded on an Ammer? You know he recorded it twice, the second time on a real authentic harpsichord? Walcha’s interesting because in a way, he’s someone who confuses the music with the score - hardly any rubato.
  8. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Mandryka,

    Helmut Walcha recorded the Well Tempered Klavier twice, the second time with each Book given on a different Baroque period harpsichords for DG. I was unaware that he had re-recorded the Goldbergs also.

    The question about how much rubato to employ in Bach is one that will never be answered precisely. Certainly Walcha is towards the natural flow school of playing rather than the interventionist, but I have always liked that. I suppose it is one reason why I struggle with some more modern performances! To me at least, Walcha is natural and warm in expression and absolutely full of very subtle rubato.

    But I suppose that Walcha must have been quite good, or else his recording on the Ammer Harpsichord would have sunk without trace by now sixty odd years later. I don't think off them as old fashioned curios in the way I might with Landowska, but rather a very honest un-showy approach ...

    Best wishes from George
  9. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    Yes I was confusing WTC and Goldbergs. And I think that the Ammer is one of the better harpsichord revival instruments.

    The Walcha harpsichord recording I like the most is the sixth English suite, there the combination of energy and transparency is fabulous.

    I think Landowska made some adorable recordings before and indeed during the war, the later recordings seem less interesting to me.

    Who do you prefer: Walcha or his colourful soulmate, Ralph Kirkpatrick?

    It’s interesting that one of my favourite keyboard players was a disciple of Walcha’s, and yet you just couldn’t be further way in terms of style: Wolfgang Rübsam.
  10. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Mandryka,

    Nowadays, I have the big Warner set of the EMI Bach Harpsichord Recordings of Walcha, and I have to say that my favourites are the WTC, The Goldbergs, and The Partitas, whilst for the French Suites my favourite recording is Thurston Dart on a Clavichord. Intimate for certain, but wonderful!

    I find that Bach on a proper keyboard has an endless attraction for me. I much prefer the idiom to large romantic orchestral music for example.

    Best wishes from George
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  11. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    Thurston Dart was someone who I didn’t respond to straight away, he seemed to be always rushing the music, but I’ve come to very much appreciate three recordings he made - the French Suites, some Froberger on clavichord and a fabulous recording of English organ music.

    He did something which, being a bass player, you may appreciate. He had a viol consort and they made a charming recording of music by Lawes.

    [Moderation edit: we avoid needle drops, even ones offered!]


    I like to think that the French Suites were a wedding present from Johann Sebastian to Anna Magdalena, so intimate and domestic sized performances seem to me to absolutely fit the music.

    Clavichord is my favourite instrument really, it can be so colourful and refined, over the years I’ve developed a very large collection of clavichord recordings of baroque, renaissance and gothic music. You know that organists used to use clavichords to practice, often stacking several instruments? It can be really interesting to hear organ music by, for example, Sweelinck or Buxtehude, on clavichord.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2019
  12. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Mandryka,

    I have a friend who has a clavichord, and so I am able to gauge well how loud to re-play recordings of it.

    It is an instrument I would love to have here. Always quiet, but expressive with the touch on the keys. I'd get endless pleasure from tinkling with it. A piano or harpsichord would never get up the stairs and electronic keyboards are not my flavour at all, even though there are some good but really expensive ones with many different "sounds" on selectable stops. I did know that Bach used a clavichord "for practicing" and that seems a bit unexpected really considering the difference in sheer projection between an organ [even a Baroque one] and the clavichord!

    I never knew that the French Suites were for Anna Magdalena! I reckon the day I stop learning some new is the time to quit this mortal coil. Thanks for the information, and nice exchange.

    Best wishes from George

    PS: For all following this: Thurston Dart on youtube playing the French Suites on clavichord.

    The instrument. A Thomas Goff clavichord. So small and yet so big! Don't play it too loud or you will spoil the effect. It is quieter than a classical guitar by far!!!

    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  13. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Please do not encourage or offer distribution of bootleg recordings.
  14. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    I know that this performance has appeared on youtube, but I very much hope for a commercial recording by Pinnock and possibly the same youngsters playing that would allow me the pleasure of revisiting this music in this arrangement legally.

    If I won the Lottery [which would be miraculous considering I don't but the tickets], I would sponsor such a recording! Hopefully in the suitable acoustic of the Wigmore Hall, say on DG!

    Best wishes from George

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