MusingMuso Posted September 24, 2006 Share Posted September 24, 2006 I have a problem....well lots actually....but we'll stick to music. I am appalled at myself, due to what appears to be a complete lapse in my normal sensibilities concerning "historically informed performances." I take the trouble to go to Holland, where I can hear the right music played on the right organs (plus a lot of other muck), and yet, when I return home, what do I do? I'll tell you! I get in the car, and to satisfy the Bach famine (which has lasted maybe 6 hours), I start to listen to Murray Perahia (piano) and the Academy of St.Martin-in-the-fields, performing the Bach Keyboard Concertos no's 1, 2 and 4. (I don't know what no.3 ever did wrong) I never tire of the energy and flawlessness of that CD (SonyCB811-CF), which just picks you up, shakes you about from head-to-toe; leaving one feeling breathless and just a wee bit overwhelmed by the sheer artistry and panache of the performances. Yet I know that I am immersed in the realms of transcription, using a modern concert grand-piano instead of a harpsichord. It MUST surely be the same as Virgil Fox playing gigantic Skinner, or Carlo Curley playing 100,000 watt Allen, or perhaps Edwin Lemare playing the Gigue Fugue on Tubas. (Oddly enough, the Lemare actually comes across very well on recordings) Yet there is something even stranger. I can thoroughly enjoy another type of "historically informed" performance, which I have only ever come across in Holland, to my absolute delight. These are those performances which use the Straube editions of Bach, and seek to re-create, as accurately as possible, the late romantic way of playing Bach in germany; complete with marcato subjects or countersubjects, vast dynamic changes and even the use of crescendi and diminuendi within specific sections; normally played "flat" by almost all "historically informed" organists of to-day. Oddly enough, it was compelling and magnificent. It takes me back to an old, and very capable organist in Halifax, who played for an evening service one Sunday, when Philip Tordoff was away. The Bach G-minor Fantasia and Fugue was played very accurately, but the Fugue was played in the typical romantic English way; the modest registration at the start, the addition of Mixtures, then the fire of Swell reeds, then Trombas, then Ophicleide and Open Woods, and finally......OMG....the Tuba! The organist (now deceased) turned to us and said, "If only Bach could have played an organ like this!" I felt like saying, "If he had, he would probably have topped himself". It was absolutely horrendous, and yet, no thicker and no louder than hearing the Straube re-creation in Holland. So I wonder why one man's romantic Bach is another man's romantic poison? Any ideas? MM Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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