Do we need another "Goldberg Variations"?

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It is indeed extraordinary.

It is indeed extraordinary.  And from what you say, far ahead of its time.  We had to wait another 25 years for his recordings, and even more before he was heard in London.

 

Chris A.Gnostic

Annoying no editing!

Annoying no editing!

 

I remember Kirkpatrick gaver a series of Bach harpsichord recoitals in the Wigmore Hall; it must have been early 60s.  He good some stick from the critics (I'm afraid I don't remember what the didn't like) and in the third recital his harpsichord was adorned with an 'L' plate!

Chris A.Gnostic

Even worse!

I've corrected here the previous post:

I remember Kirkpatrick gave a series of Bach harpsichord recitals in the Wigmore Hall; it must have been early 60s.  He took some stick from the critics (I'm afraid I don't remember what they didn't like) and in the third recital his harpsichord was adorned with an 'L' plate!

Chris A.Gnostic

Slightly off topic, though

Slightly off topic, though only slightly. Have a look at this https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/05/arts/music/glenn-gould-goldberg-varia...

(insert link seems to have been disabled.......)

Someone has "transcribed" every detail of Gould's 1981 Goldberg recording. I mean, they have transcribed the dynamics, every ornament, every accent etc and published it in a book........So, armed with this document, you could effectively play exactly as Gould did.

 

I wonder if anyone knows

I wonder if anyone knows Kirckpatrick's recording. I remember good things from his WTC

Kirkpatrick Goldbergs

Camaron, I have the Kirkpatrick recording, though I’ve not listened to it seriously for a good few years now, until you just reminded me.  What I dislike is the rather monotonous sound of his Neupert harpsichord.  There are so many lovely instruments to be heard now - it all sounds very staid. I don’t think it’s his playing: I very much enjoy his WTC Book 1 on the clavichord.  No repeats I think (less than 44’ in total). Anyway that’s all from memory.  Parla asked me about my preferred versions, so I’ll add this to my listening.  The one’s I listen to most often at tghe moment are Leonhardt, Tureck and Kempff.  Gould is not for me as you know, Camaron, and I imagine Kempff (Aria without ornament) is not for Jane.  More later.

Chris

Chris A.Gnostic

I do like Tureck’s playing,

I do like Tureck’s playing, but I often grow impatient after a number of variations. I’m not usually in the mood for that level of restrained contemplation. It is a case to me where repeats are too much of a good thing. Of course, it is not surprising having come to know the work through Gould.


I personally love Charles Rosen recording, from the 60s. It s one of those interpretations where nothing in particular seems to stand out, and yet… It doesn’t tend to be mentioned as a pick for the Goldberg, but to me it is one of the very best, most satisfying versions. Also his Art of Fugue could well be the best version on a keyboard.

Favourite Recordings

camaron wrote:

I do like Tureck’s playing, but I often grow impatient after a number of variations. I’m not usually in the mood for that level of restrained contemplation. It is a case to me where repeats are too much of a good thing. Of course, it is not surprising having come to know the work through Gould.


I personally love Charles Rosen recording, from the 60s. It's one of those interpretations where nothing in particular seems to stand out, and yet… It doesn’t tend to be mentioned as a pick for the Goldberg, but to me it is one of the very best, most satisfying versions. Also his Art of Fugue could well be the best version on a keyboard.

 

Yes, Camaron, I think there’s a lot of truth in what you say about Tureck.  It does seem that here style is at its most extreme in the Goldbergs.  With the '48' and the Partitas I’ve never had a problem but here?  When the aria starts, each time I hear it, even though I know what’s coming, it seems unbearably slow, but slowly, on the right night, I often get used to it, and there is some very rewarding playing.  At 94 minutes overall, it’s a very long listen, and one does wonder about all those repeats, not least since the playing of those is always identical or almost identical to the first time round. Not a version I’d recommend for the first-time listener.

At the other extreme, repeats-wise is Leonhardt, who takes none, in either of his recorded versions.  His tempi seem just right to me, from beginning to end. A most satisfying reading, unless you are allergic to the harpsichord.

Now here’s an extraordinary thing.  I’d not given any real thought to ‘stopwatch’ timings until they came up in this discussion. Compared with Tureck’s 94’ and all repeats, Leonhardt takes 47’ with none. Now the fact is that 47 x 2 = 94!!!  But my ears deny this fact in almost every variation.  The aria, so ‘slow’ in Tureck, lasts precisely the same time in Leonhardt’s much ‘faster’ version! And so it goes on. Yes, better to forget about the stopwatch, but I must admit I found this quite a shock.  Incidentally, I slightly prefer Leonhardt’s older version, on Teldec.  It has a (to my ears) more pleasant sounding harpsichord (its a different instrument). Curiously whereas the Harmonia Mundi version was performed at A=415, the earlier recording is at modern pitch.

It’s time I heard the Rosen version: like you Camaron, I think his recording of The Art of Fugue is deeply satisfying. I'll look out for that one.

Kempff is not for everyone I know.  He takes a typically Kempffian slightly romantic, unHIP approach, but there is so much beautiful playing and mostly excellent tempi. With regard to repeats, he’s inconsistent but most usually takes only the first-half repeats, something considered ‘inexcusable’ in the Gramophone’s first review (February 1971).

Chris

 

 

Chris A.Gnostic

low, certainly not THAT slow.

low, certainly not THAT slow. Obviously the absence of repeats is a lot to do with it, but I’m positive it is not the only thing.

I also agree that Turecks playing works so much better the 48 and the partitas. In my view, a successful Goldberg interpretation needs to keep up a strong sense of momentum. That does not mean speed at all, but the whole things has to move. There is plenty of “wavy” activity in this work, at time is hectic, at times it slows down into contemplation, etc. For obvious reasons the 48 do not require  that, but even the partitas don’t either.

“With regard to repeats, he’s inconsistent but most usually takes only the first-half repeats, something considered ‘inexcusable’ in the Gramophone’s first review (February 1971)”

Now, that’s interesting. I commented before that, to me, that is a very obvious approach to repeats, but wasn’t aware of any recording that did it this way. “Inexcusable”??!!! Why? It just makes so much sense. With that solution you sort of get the best of both worlds. Second halves are thematically related to first, so repeating the first half is more than enough for familiarity’s sake. But most importantly you can keep the momentum going. To me there is something wrong about finishing something twice. I think there is much of this perception behind the reason why even today, a fidelity obsessed era, repeats for development/recap of many sonata forms from the Classic periods are not respected.

I will look for this Kemppf’s recording

Faulty copy and paste!

Faulty copy and paste! Previous post should start:

Yes Chris, I had noticed exactly that about Leonhardt and Tureck. Leonhardt does not sound slow, certainly not THAT slow. Obviously the absence of repeats is a lot to do with it, but I’m positive it is not the only thing.

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