Respecting your commitment to keep our responses to be "conducted with respect for integrity and person", I will pass all these attributes to my post on the clip (vehemence, violence, etc) and I will confine myself to the substance of your reply.
I am sorry that you took umbrage at my comments. I took what I thought was great care to avoid offence while still expressing profound disagreement with your viewpoint.
I have long enjoyed Jacques Loussier's "swung Bach" along with the Swingle Singers, and recordings of Stephane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin in similar vein. I fail to understand why their "arrangements" are acceptable but the musician's in the clip is not.
I also find the distinction you draw between dance rhythms unfathomable. Surely a dance rhythm is a dance rhythm? Why is it hallowed in Bach but denigrated in later music? Your definition of what constitutes good and bad dance rhythms would be interesting.
Unless, of course, and this is the real point isn't it? - unless it comes under the heading "Pop". To concede the validity of a jazz arrangement but not one in contemporary popular music, smacks of prejudice: judgement in the absence of reason. How one variation can be so acceptable and another condemned so vehemently because it crosses some kind of line between one kind of music and another seems wholly disproportionate to me.
We are dealing with styles of music here, not Holy Writ versus Heresy. This seems to be the position you take and defend. However does enjoyment merit condemnation in this field?
Vic, Jacques Loussier is a master of Piano and a great musician himself. Besides, the musicians, he choose to work with him, are some of the very musical and accomplished in the jazz field. So, what he is doing with his arrangements is of absolute musical beauty, harmony and respect to the original. Thirdly, his arrangements do not "mess around" with the original; they are different works in the jazz idiom. So, by listening to the actual final work of Loussier, you don't have to "compare" or think all the time of the original, as is the case with the clip in question. The same applies to the wonderful Swingle Singers (an amazingly musical vocal ensemble) or the King's Singers and some other groups or soloists.
As for the dances, I said clearly that Bach used the dances of His time, as many composers, if not all, did: Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, etc (just to mention the famous "minuet" or the Polonaise and so on), Brahms, Liszt (Hungarian Dances), Bartok (national thythms and songs), Shostakovich (russian and hebrew songs and dances). The difference is not with the dances rhythms themselves (whether they are good or bad), but how the composer transforms them into his music and transcends them into classical art. So, I don't have problem with the rhythm, but with the actual use (or, in this case, misuse) of the Bach's work and the actual final product of the clip, which, neither enhances the beauty or the importance of the original (respect to the original) nor projects something new or quite musical or even artistically interest. Of course, as a visual virtual trick, it may work as creative video entertainment, but I cannot see any musical interest. If, however, the artist feels secure with his musicianship, let him go in public and show what he can really do as a performer and as a composer.
So, there is nothing wrong because of the style, necessarily, but because of the treatment of the music. Once more, this is not a Variation of or on the original. According to the artist (or the auteur), it's a composition of his own called "Song" (whatever it means), by using the theme of the Prelude of the first Suite of Bach. There is nothing about Heresy and the Holy Writ. Besides, personally, I didn't enjoy it! If, obviously, you enjoy it, of course, there is no room for condemnation from your part.
Anyway, I hope, after all this "promotion" with a thread of nearly 100 posts, the artist and his clip may find some place outside Youtube.
So, there is nothing wrong because of the style, necessarily, but because of the treatment of the music. Once more, this is not a Variation of or on the original.
Thank you Parla.
Let us settle on this:
The musicianship of Jacques Loussier and the cellist in the clip is not the issue here.
Quote: So, by listening to the actual final work of Loussier, you don't have to
"compare" or think all the time of the original, as is the case with
the clip in question.
But when I listen to both Jacques Loussier and the YouTube clip I hear Bach's original. I hear it. It is not there in one and not in the other because one is jazz and one is pop, is it?
Quote: The difference is not with the dances rhythms themselves (whether they are good or bad), but how the composer transforms them into his music and transcends them into classical art.
But in the clip, he "transforms them into his music and transcends them into" pop art. (to use your description and for want of better nomenclature for the clip's style).
The Bach prelude is there in both of them. The difference between us is that you don't like it and I do. You don't like it because you feel it diminishes (etc) the original; I like it because I feel it adds another dimension - not better, of course, but in a style I find joyful and fun. I don't see the barrier between one form of enjoyable music and another (the relative merits of each is not the issue here either. Note: the relative merits.)
Let us agree to disagree. I wonder what what others think of this matter?
"I said clearly that Bach used the dances of His time, as many composers, if not all, did: Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, etc (just to mention the famous "minuet" or the Polonaise and so on), Brahms, Liszt (Hungarian Dances), Bartok (national thythms and songs), Shostakovich (russian and hebrew songs and dances)."
I can't really agree with this: most of the dances used, notably by Bartok, were traditional tunes dating back centuries. There are instances, in Bartok's case, where I actually prefer the originals, which tend to be simpler.
Thank you Vic, as well. However, I cannot yet settle the matter after your last post, even if we agree to disagree. My last effort is to see if we can possibly understand certain aspects of the matter that they still seem to be elusive...
So, the musicianship is the main and the crucial issue here, there and everywhere, where Classical (at least) Music is involved.
You see Loussier's musicianship would never allow him to create such a "notable" negative achievement even with jazz treatment terms. The difference with great musicians and artists in general is that they create refined, utterly musical and original works, even if they use themes (or parts) of the works of Classical composers. In the case of the notorious clip, the lack of musicianship allow him to go to the extremes he liked to be, to the detriment of the composer and for his own benefit. In the case of Loussier, we have a theme from a classical work, which is elaborated with new original material and is developed in a quite new composition. The theme is heard, normally, at he outset and at the end of the work, while in between there is plenty of improvisation and further development of the original material. In the...clip, we have a relentless use of the theme and parts of its original elaboration with the outrageous intervention of his equally relentless pop ideas. Of course, how he could possibly develop further or elaborate, in an original way, a perfectly written short Prelude? Loussier, wisely enough, has so far avoided the Cello Suites.
So, in Loussier or in the clip you don't hear the original Bach work in question, but what they decided to use (from the original) in their own creation. That's make the difference. It's not a repetition of the original but rather a recreation (in the case of the clip) or of a further elaboration of the theme (most of the times) of the original (in the case of Loussier).
Therefore, the guy does not "transform" the music of the Prelude to his music; he distorts it not to "transcend" it to "pop art" but to accommodate it within the fashion contemporary, trivial entertainment (something like taking the recipe of a gourmet dish and "adapt" it for fast food purposes). By the way, the verb "transcend" in music is used to show how a great composer took a trivial, indifferent, even tedious issue and elevate it to great, eternal Art (see the trivial everyday life libretti of Da Ponte, like Le Nozze di Figaro or Cosi fan Tutte, how divinely are lifted by Mozart to some incredibly refined spheres of utmost musical beauty that make them eternal and uncontestable masterpieces of Music and Art). Do you really think, Vic, that the "clip" elevates, in any way, a work, which is already at the heighest possible musical and artistic stature, to any higher lever?
Anyway, I hope you may trace some points of reference that cannot be ignored or overlooked as "relative merits".
Do you really think, Vic, that the "clip" elevates, in any way, a work, which is already at the heighest possible musical and artistic stature, to any higher lever?
No, Parla, I don't. What I do know is that for the four minutes or so it lasts, it gives me a great deal of pleasure.
I appreciate your detailed explanation and, I think, understand your viewpoint. I just do not agree with the absolute separation of genres that your argument depends upon.
Fair enough, Vic. The pleasure is all yours (as for the enjoyment of the clip)!
However, your understanding even a bit of my viewpoint it means a lot to me...after all!
All the best in further listening. And a new tip: a revelation or a discovery: Composer (new discovery) : Carl Arnold. The work: His Piano Works (the revelation). Label: Simax (superb recording). Try it. It's great listening experience!