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Grant, Degens And Bradbeer...


deadsheepstew

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So this Buxtehude interpretation gathers appreciation both

from you here and from the french forum's members....

Full points also for Göteborg, and for Mr Davidsson

(By the way teacher at Eastman, Rochester, where the copy of the

Casparini organ has been built!), artistic and projects director to Go-Art.

 

Now we expect recordings on the Casparini organ. At best on the Vilnius one!

 

Pierre

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"I really like this; For my choice it is a perfect match of music, instrument and player. And, yes - it does sing beautifully. I even like the tuning, which is not nearly so 'violent' as some forms of mean-tone temperament."

 

The organ is tuned in 1/4 comma meantone, more violent is impossible so I'm wondering what you had in mind. The organ does have sub-semitones, but the piece in question barely needs them I think (I don't have a copy in front of me and the link doesn't work on this computer). Perhaps we've converted you to the joys of meantone pncd! :rolleyes:

 

The Aubertin organ is the one thing I like about U S-H's recording. U S-H used to study with Jacques! And he was/is a rock musician in his spare time I think.

 

Greetings

 

Bazuin

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We've rather got off the original topic of the New Colelge Organ here but, who cares!

 

One of my favourite LPs 40 years ago was of Anton Heiller playing the "Wedge" P&F and the P&F in A major from Maria Kyrke, Halsingborg, Sweden. It was in the era of the Walcha and early Rogg recordings and I always thought it stood up well against both those players. As a matter of chance I bought a replacement copy of this LP, and two others of the same player and organ, on E-Bay a couple of days ago and they arrived this morning. I wouldn't agree with eveything thst Heiller did in terms of tempo, phrasing and articulation but his JSB interpretations still inspire me and I feel they have clarity, energy, grandeour and a sense of moving forwards,

 

Perhaps in those days players were less fanatical about proving a historical point and more ocncerned about being musical, than some of the more recent players we have been discussing on this topic. Perhaps those more recent players would not have reached the point they are at without Walcha, Heiller and even Rogg coming first. Fashions come and go, as do ideas of historical accuracy, but I still find that Walcha and Heiller inspire me in a way that van Oortmerrson and Koopman do not.

 

Perhaps I am just getting old. What do others think?

 

Malcolm

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To me, Van Oortmessen and Koopman belong to two different schools,

two different worlds.

We could come back to Schweitzer as well, and the somptuous Dalstein & Haerpfer organs

he used for his Bach recordings (while calling them "Silbermanns"!)

 

Pierre

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I like the old Walcha and Rogg recordings too. A couple of weeks ago I dug up some old Hurford recordings and I enjoyed listening to those afresh as well. I now recognise them as products of their time but accepting them as such actually increased my pleasure in listening to them.

 

Can someone please point us at an example of an historically accurate performance? I notice all the discussion above focusses on the musical facets and interpretations of the music - no-one's yet said "Oh but JvO/Ton Koopman/Ulrich Spang Hanssen (delete as appropriate) is right to do that because it's historically accurate" in the discussions above. All the discussion is on the musical features.

 

Rather like some people study theology and exegesis of biblical passages to develop their understanding of God and their faith, so I think studying the music and its historical context helps to uncover a greater understanding and depth of the music we play. Study of the music and its historical context gives us the opportunity to reflect on our own interpretations, giving us new ideas to try and new viewpoints, to help us approach the music we know so well already afresh.

 

I think it's necessary to constantly review and revisit the way we choose to play our music, whether it is through historical study, listening to other people's ideas (whether they're musicians or historians - they both have differing viewpoints that can only broaden our outlook) and performances of the music. We constantly need to broaden our viewpoint - otherwise we risk stagnation, which is followed by regression. The greatest musicians have always reviewed and reformed their art - think about Artur Rubenstein taking years out of his career to review and refine his technique. His later records replace the bravura and fire of his early recordings with a depth and understanding that has rarely been equalled - especially in Chopin. What about comparing an early Beethoven piano sonata to Op 110 or 111? The idea that musicians of the past didn't study earlier music is bunk - Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, etc all had an enormous amount of knowledge of Bach's music - although Schumann didn't really play the organ, he had a greater knowledge and a larger collection of Bach's organ music than any organist of the time - even Mendelssohn referred to him. C H H Parry described the old Samuel Green organ in St Mary Redcliffe as the finest he'd ever heard, with the noblest diapasons. Who says a histological approach detracts from musicianship?

 

Surely if we just concentrate on our instinctive and practical approach to music do we really become better musicians than those that study their music in a broader context?

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Can someone please point us at an example of an historically accurate performance? I notice all the discussion above focusses on the musical facets and interpretations of the music - no-one's yet said "Oh but JvO/Ton Koopman/Ulrich Spang Hanssen (delete as appropriate) is right to do that because it's historically accurate" in the discussions above. All the discussion is on the musical features.

The problem with this is that historical accuracy (= authenticity) is unattainable. No sensible player claims to be authentic these days; the most one can do (as Bazuin pointed out above) is to play in a manner that is historically informed.

 

But the trouble is that, however informed historically our playing might be, it is also quite likely that it will, at the same time, be informed by a host of anachronistic values from subsequent eras which it may not be possible to isolate. For example, it is, I suggest, almost impossible for us to develop an understanding of of Bach's and Buxtehude's music that is entirely without any concept of the era of the Romantic virtuoso. That is not to say that virtuoso playing is alien to Baroque music, but perhaps we should stop to ponder whether what Baroque musicians regarded as virtuosic was quite the same as we understand the concept today.

 

One needs to approach Buxtehude (and any other composer for that matter) through a thorough understanding of the music that was the composer's musical heritage, conscious or unconscious. It is quite clear from his chorale preludes that, at its roots, Buxtehude's counterpoint was the counterpoint of the Renaissance. However much he may have developed the style into something more ornamental or rhetorical, its Renaissance roots peek though all over the place. One rarely detects any appreciation of this in performers' interpretations however. Commonly, the music is taken purely at face value (so it seems) and presented devoid of sense of context. Extend this understanding to the free works and you might just start developing a sneaking suspicion that today's Buxtehude interpretations are way too Lisztian. An historically informed intepretation of Buxtehude's music will be as true to its Renaissance foundations as it is to its contemporary rhetoric.* The real problem is how to do this and come up with a result that is convincing musically. The performance of the Passacaglia posted above manages it, but the real challenges are in the Praeludia. It's a nut I've not yet managed to crack, but when someone does I think I'll recognise it.

 

* Of course you can turn this on its head and ask whether we understand Renaissance music properly too. At least we know that in the later seventeenth (if not earlier too) Thomas Tomkins's anthems were sung at a (ballpark) speed that equates to roughly 72 beats per minute (crotchet or minim depending on the edition), which suggests that our understanding of this style is not too far adrift.

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The problem with this is that historical accuracy (= authenticity) is unattainable. No sensible player claims to be authentic these days; the most one can do (as Bazuin pointed out above) is to play in a manner that is historically informed.

 

But the trouble is that, however informed historically our playing might be, it is also quite likely that it will, at the same time, be informed by a host of anachronistic values from subsequent eras which it may not be possible to isolate. For example, it is, I suggest, almost impossible for us to develop an understanding of of Bach's and Buxtehude's music that is entirely without any concept of the era of the Romantic virtuoso. That is not to say that virtuoso playing is alien to Baroque music, but perhaps we should stop to ponder whether what Baroque musicians regarded as virtuosic was quite the same as we understand the concept today.

 

One needs to approach Buxtehude (and any other composer for that matter) through a thorough understanding of the music that was the composer's musical heritage, conscious or unconscious. It is quite clear from his chorale preludes that, at its roots, Buxtehude's counterpoint was the counterpoint of the Renaissance. However much he may have developed the style into something more ornamental or rhetorical, its Renaissance roots peek though all over the place. One rarely detects any appreciation of this in performers' interpretations however. Commonly, the music is taken purely at face value (so it seems) and presented devoid of sense of context. Extend this understanding to the free works and you might just start developing a sneaking suspicion that today's Buxtehude interpretations are way too Lisztian. An historically informed intepretation of Buxtehude's music will be as true to its Renaissance foundations as it is to its contemporary rhetoric.* The real problem is how to do this and come up with a result that is convincing musically. The performance of the Passacaglia posted above manages it, but the real challenges are in the Praeludia. It's a nut I've not yet managed to crack, but when someone does I think I'll recognise it.

 

* Of course you can turn this on its head and ask whether we understand Renaissance music properly too. At least we know that in the later seventeenth (if not earlier too) Thomas Tomkins's anthems were sung at a (ballpark) speed that equates to roughly 72 beats per minute (crotchet or minim depending on the edition), which suggests that our understanding of this style is not too far adrift.

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Shouldn't this topic be under "The organ and its music" rather than "Nuts and Bolts" as it appears to have become a discussion about the music of the organ rather than its construction, scaling, pipe scales etc. Forgive me for being a pedantic old B.

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The idea that musicians of the past didn't study earlier music is bunk - Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, etc all had an enormous amount of knowledge of Bach's music - although Schumann didn't really play the organ, he had a greater knowledge and a larger collection of Bach's organ music than any organist of the time - even Mendelssohn referred to him. C H H Parry described the old Samuel Green organ in St Mary Redcliffe as the finest he'd ever heard, with the noblest diapasons. Who says a histological approach detracts from musicianship?

Not sure about the others but I don't believe Mozart was familiar with much of his forbears' music (Handel and Bach mostly) until well after his adolescence. He learnt more from those just one generation above him. Although Mendelssohn is, of course, famous for his championing of Bach's music (possibly Mendelssohn's greater contribution to the organ repertoire, was his edition of Orgelbuchlein, rather than his own writing...IMHO). I believe more musicians today are more interested in the music of the past than has previously been the case.

 

Cue chorus of: "The Enlightenment project has come to an end, nobody is writing decent music any more, so we have to look to music of the past", which I don't entirely believe.

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The organ is tuned in 1/4 comma meantone, more violent is impossible so I'm wondering what you had in mind. The organ does have sub-semitones, but the piece in question barely needs them I think (I don't have a copy in front of me and the link doesn't work on this computer). Perhaps we've converted you to the joys of meantone pncd! B)

 

Bazuin

 

Well, if they sound like this, you may well have done just that. :wacko:

 

However, in which case, could someone explain why I found several other examples (which David Coram posted a couple of years ago, by way of comparison) much harder to bear - and, to my ears, full of wolves and howling creatures....

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Pcnd, did you note what you hear in that Passaglia are, 90% of the time, flutes ?

And that they are voiced quite sweetly, despite precise, accurate attacks ?

 

Did you note those attacks, at a dedicate place in the piece, are modulated by the player

to the point you would believe there is a String division that comes in, and, moreover,

within an opening swellbox ?

 

This is only an example of the magic of the baroque organ: those instruments are illusionists

that always fool you somewhere.

And among others mysteries, those traits above help much to avoid the temperament

to disturb. Try the same piece, with the same temperament, with neo-baroque mutations

and Mixtures all the time, and we all shall be eaten alive by a full division of wolves.

 

Pierre

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Probably. The thread was posted in the wrong forum to begin with really. I'm sure the moderators would consider moving it if you asked them to.

I opened a new thread on "The Organ and its Music". It's thriving. Please come and join.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Well, if they sound like this, you may well have done just that. :lol:

 

However, in which case, could someone explain why I found several other examples (which David Coram posted a couple of years ago, by way of comparison) much harder to bear - and, to my ears, full of wolves and howling creatures....

 

It all depends what key you're playing in, doesn't it!

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It all depends what key you're playing in, doesn't it!

 

Well, yes. But I recall some being still rather more offensive than Pierre's example. To be honest, I cannot remember in which key(s) the examples which you posted were played, though.

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Well, yes. But I recall some being still rather more offensive than Pierre's example. To be honest, I cannot remember in which key(s) the examples which you posted were played, though.

 

It was some Mendelssohn in F minor in a tuning designed for Bach, but not a whole lot more extreme than what Felix himself would have been accustomed to.

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