Do we need another "Goldberg Variations"?

114 posts / 0 new
Last post
Do we need more "French Suites"?

Among the works that are saturated with plenty of at least interesting recordings, we have noticed very recently two more of the quite popular Bach's French Suites:

- One more global, very well-advertised and promoted by the seasoned Murray Perahia. A new personal statement of a great pianist, anyway, well recorded. Fine pianisme, beautiful sound and a consistent sense of unity in the whole series of these Suites with more unhurried tempi. The first DG recording of Perahia. It could not be more welcome by the press. Let's see how much this recording is needed and is going to be embraced byt the general public.

- A quite overlooked recording by the very interesting Russian Ekaterina Derzhavina, on Profil. More swift tempi but very clear and excitng articulation and very expressive reading of each mouvement, underpinning the polyphony and promoting the features of each piece. Quite well recorded and enriched with some extra works by Bach (an impressive French Overture in b minor and the Aria variata in a minor). (Perahia's double CD lasts 1h and 31 min, while Derszhavina's one reaches the 2h and 21 min.).

Personally, I prefer Derszhavina's more energetic reading, but, for someone with enough recordings of the French Suites, one can live without both of them, although he/she could appreciate them, if he/she wishes to go for them.

Parla

Please, Sir, More

I have mixed feelings about this.

 

For me Glenn Gould has always owned the Gouldbergs.

 

These are recordings that I constantly return to and am absorbed by.

 

However, I would shy from suggesting that 'enough is enough', for that sentiment discourages further production, recording and development.

 

Perhaps the next Glenn Gould is just around the corner?

Yes, Sir, more but...of what...and for what?..

Spring, to start with your last sentence: Because "perhaps the next Glenn Gould is just around the corner", this assumption cannot justify the fact that the recording field gets saturated with mediocre, bizarre, unecessary etc. recordings often by pianists that simply cannot make it in the recording industry.

Besides, I can assure you that there will be no other Gould. He was a brilliant maverick with these kind of absolute convictions and attitude of "take it or leave it".

Besides, Gould does not "own" the Goldberg Variations. He is not a reference; he is a...preference of course of a good number of people, pianists, reviewers etc. Definitely, he is not mine. Other pianists, like R. Tureck or A. Hewitt or E. Koroliov or Perahia to name just few, have made great contributions to revealing some more interesting and valuable aspects of this monumental work. The same applies for the Harpsichordists, while none has dared to perform them on a Fortepiano of Bach's period.

My question and not "suggestion" had to do with the multitude of recordings in a very short period and in a variety of versions byond the most common for piano. Finally, my question is trying to imply the awkward trend of a stalemate in the recording production and the lack of a creative and rich repertory of the newer pianists, before they get mature enough to establish their valued new account on such monumental works in a way that it can be both appreciated by the general public and endorsed by the experts, pianists and the rest of the establishment.

Parla

 

 

parla wrote:

parla wrote:

He is not a reference; he is a...preference

Parla

Gould HAS been a reference for many piano players that came after him. Not in the sense that it had to be more or less copied but in the way Bach could be played. For instance, it has now become a norm to interpret Bach polyphonically, being very careful in showing the independent voices. This as opposed to interpret him harmonically, something that lesser players do and good ones in the old times tended to do, for what I’ve seen. And I believe much of this is thanks to Gould, as I’ve heard others players acknowledge.

Up the Parla Garden Path Again

camaron wrote:

 

 

Gould HAS been a reference for many piano players that came after him......

No question. Parla is evidently confused about the meaning of the word "reference" here. He seems to think it might mean "best", or something like that.

No other player in the history of the piano has cast such a long shadow over a single work. Certain pianists have been strongly associated with certain composers - Schnabel-Beethoven, Rubinstein-Chopin etc - but not to this extent: and not at the level of a single piece. Every single pianist knows who they are going to be compared to when they take on the Goldbergs - and rightly so.

It is also no exaggeration to say that when it comes to Bach keyboard works as a whole, there was before Gould and after Gould. The impact of his playing, both live and in recordings, was truly seismic. You can see this in comments and diaries of the time from players such as Richter etc

The world according to Gould.

I do not see, at least in their recordings, the Piansits I mentioned plus other significant interpreters of Bach I did not include in my post that rely on Gould's interpretation. Of course, there was an influence at a given time but, slowly gradually, pianists move to other directions. And with "reference", I did not mean "the best" (in performances, there is no such a thing).

In any case, if we accept that there are references, benchmark recordings of a work, I can include Gould's as one of them. In any case, he left his indelible mark on this work. However, I have seen a significant polarisation on the defenders and those who do not accept Gould. I believe he is firstly a matter of preference than of reference.

Parla

More "Well-Tempered Clavier"?

Just the last few months, we witnessed three more recordings of the monumental work by J.S. Bach "Das Wohltemperierte Klavier", all of them on the modern Grand Piano.

- One of the First Book with the rather young German-Swedish Pianist Ann Helena Schlüter, in a good production on Hänssler.

- One of the Second Book with the distinguished and seasoned French Pianist Dominique Merlet, in a meticulously great production from a new very eclectic French label called "Le Palais des Degustateurs".

- And one of both Books with the very fine Russian (now living in Germany) pianist Dina Ugorskaja (daughter of another quasi brilliant maverick pianist, Anatol Ugorsky), in an excellent production of the German label Avi-music.

Do we need them, in one or the other way? Well, Schlüter is a more modern youthful approach, fresh, well articulated and with some broad tempi in the more elaborated Preludes and Fugues.

Merlet is on the fast, almost virtuosic track, but for his experience and wisdom but also for the most excellent production he should be explored.

However, it is the exciting, profound and with some broad tempi, reminding the excessive and unique features of a Richter (or even Nikolayeva), reading of Ugorskaja that could make me say: I need her five-CD set.

Parla

 

comment

thanks you for share!

Preference or reference?

With reference to Goud, Parla remarked that I believe he is firstly a matter of preference than of reference.

I understand what you may prefer, which may differ from what I prefer.

Normally, I would use my preference = Gould, as my reference when listening to others. Also do this when listening to hifi gear.

BUT, is there an objective standard for establishing "the reference"?

Preference and reference!

When we are dealing with performances, Socrates, it is not that feasible to establish certain "standards" to define a "reference" recording, let alone a live performance. There are different schools of how to perform this or that, developed or modified at various periods or regions or even on account of strong personalities. However, when there is not much disagreement among all kind of prefessionals in the realm of Classical Music on specific recordings, we may refer to some or various "references" or "benchmark" recordings. However, due to particular perceptions of even professionals, preference defines...the reference.

However, for the actual compositions, the criteria are more concrete and established, so that at least the professionals can agree whether a Fugue is superbly written or a Sonata Form well structured and so on. For example, it is not a matter of preference whether a Bach's Fugue is greatly written but it is a matter of...personal choice whether one wishes to indulge in it.

Parla

Parla

Pages

Log in or register to post comments

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2018