Rosalyn Tureck The Well-tempered Clavier 1&2

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Harpsichord

Arguably it's the piano that adds colour and variation, as opposed to a harpsichord with its more homogenous sound. Especially in this work, harpsichordists have their task cut out for them if they intend a performance that stretches across more than a few isolated preludes and fugues. I have Ton Koopman's Book 1 on Erato, who I hate to say struggles to keep attention from wandering. Pierre Hantaï adds variation by fiercely contrasted tempi and ornamentation, but his approach ultimately comes across as hard driven (he is much better in his recent recording of English suites). He does have an exceptionally nice sounding instrument however, with a well defined bass.

EJ

Piano Alternatives

Mayako Sone' is a harpsichordist that I can listen to for more than twenty minutes straight however I only have her Scarlatti disc which is on Erato. I've tried finding other recordings by her, including her Bach recordings but they're difficult to come by. 

Another issue concerning the harpsichord when played on my stereo is that my amplifier creates such seperation and such a large soundstage that it make the harpsichord sound as if it's twice as large as it really is. I realize that this description may seem funny however a harpsichord is a small and intimate keyboard. And while it's not a gigantic shortcoming, harpsichord recordings tend to be overlooked when I'm creating my shopping list.

I do have Wanda Landowska on vinyl but they admittedly get little play time.

goofyfoot

Harpsichord: Homogenous sound? Arguably...

Arguably, one can claim that harpsichord has more "homogenous" sound vis a vis the piano. Schiff, in his recent recording of the Diabelli-Variationen, he chose two different "historical" instruments, one Fortepiano of the era of the composition and a Bechstein of 1930, claiming that Beethoven would complain about the homogenous sound of the Grand  Piano and the missing sonorities of the instruments of his time. No wonder, Schiff, in his latest recording of the WTC (on ECM) used no pedals at all, arguing that, based on his research, only in this way the modern Grand can come closer to the essence of these works. I guess Fellner (on ECM) and Jansen (on Void) won't feel very comfortable...

Demidenko, as well, claimed that anything up at least to Schubert's time, performed on the Grand Piano is almost a transcription.

As for the harpsichord recordings, there are plenty to chose and indulgre in the differences of the French or Flemish instruments used, the two or three manuals, let alone the Clavichord or the early Pianoforte (from Cristofori). Our good (also departed for the moment) specialist friend Socrates (from the Netherlands) gave us a full account of his review of almost all the available recordings on "non-piano", in his post #200 (dated 1/1/2014) of the thread "The Well-Tempered Clavichord" (in the section of the General Discussion).

I trust one should give a go to the greatest of all Leonhardt (while he was not comfortable with recordings, as he had stated in an interview), the very solid Verlet (on Astree), the daring Dantone (on Arts) or the very seasoned and refine Schornsheim (on Capriccio), while Kenneth Weiss, on Satirino, and John Butt, on Linn, are the most recent to deserve our attention. Levin, on Hanssler uses all the possible instruments of the period (Harspsichord, Clavichord, Organ and early Painoforte)! All the above enjoy some excellent recordings with the exception of the older recording of Leonhardt.

Parla

Mayko Sone

Goofyfoot, you are quite right. Mayako Sone has been a specialist on Bach and Scarlatti. There are quite a few recordings (including the WTC!) with her, exclusively on these two composers, available on major Japanese sites (like Amajon Japan or CD Japan), some of them at rather reasonable prices. I guess I have to try myself the WTC and the Goldberg Variations...

As for the sound of the Harpsichord on record, it varies. It is not always as you described. There are some very fine (technically) recordings...to trace, if you indulge in this subject.

Parla

Hpschd

parla wrote:

I guess I have to try myself the WTC and the Goldberg Variations...

As for the sound of the Harpsichord on record, it varies. It is not always as you described. There are some very fine (technically) recordings...

 

I believe there were earlier posts on the effect of different harpsichords on the variability/Variations. (Preferably slower, I suppose).

Rosalyn Tureck

8:31 am Sunday. Greetings from the distant island of Maui, Hawaii.

 

Rosalyn Tureck was responsible for my introduction to Bach many years ago.

 

Initially, I found the music stressful, and very difficult to listen to for any length of time. However, over the passing years, I came to love listening to Bach in all the different variations that he composed, and that have been recorded over time.

 

Close by my computer, as I write, there are over 221 cds of Bach's many recorded works awaiting my attention. However I have many more in my cd collection.

 

In essence, Rosalyn Tureck was responsible for my ongoing exploration, and enjoyment of Bach's compositions. Enjoy your continued explorations.

 

Irvine Shamrock

Irvine Shamrock

Musical Value

Certainly a technically less demanding work can have great worth. Yet I do tend to also believe that difficulty may add value.

Rosalyn Tureck and 'The 48'

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.  My absence was part holiday, then illness and then recovery from a minor op in hospital.  Having recovered I found most of you gone.

 

Those who know me will not be so surprised that it took a mention of Rosalyn Tureck's Bach to lure me back!  I suppose that I can't  offer a balanced view on these recordings of the 48.  I first heard them when the LPs were issued in the UK in 1955 (broadcast on the BBC Third Programme).  I was 10 years old at the time and those recordings of that music sowed the seed of my enduring love of Bach's music. Along with her equally fine recordings of the Partitas and Goldberg variations these performances have never been far first from my turntable, then CD player.

 

Others have made fine recordings of the well-tempered clavier, Richter, Hewitt and Gulda come to mind and though I've enjoyed many of these and others, I've never found them to sound their best when heard straight after Tureck!

 

So to turn belatedly to your original question Goofyfoot, I'd strongly urge you to fork out for those performances.  The good news though is that they will not cost you so much money if you wait a couple of weeks. DG are issuing in November a six-CD box with those Decca/Brunswick records of the 48 and her last recording, her sixth of the Goldberg Variations. Amazon Germany is offering it for around 30 Euros.

 

Goofyfoot, if you have access to the Gramophone's Digital Archive, I'd recommend you reading Alec Robertson's beautifully written review of the original LPs in the March 1955 issue. 

 

Tureck's 48 would certainly be one of my 'Desert Island' top choices!

 

Chris

 

PS: Good to see you back too, Camaron.  With the approach of winter is the time ripe for continuing our tour of this wonderful music?

 

Chris A.Gnostic

Lure
c hris johnson wrote:

Those who know me will not be so surprised that it took a mention of Rosalyn Tureck's Bach to lure me back!

Hi Chris!

Good to see you again.

Yes, certain people can be luring. Especially the "B" word, I suppose. Reminds me of the earlier post of how Karajan, upon hearing on a hospital bed that Barenboim was going to take over, "stirred suddenly into life. The word had effected a miraculous change in his state of health."

Thanks tjh.  Yes, that sounds

Thanks tjh.  Yes, that sounds like the Karajan we know and love. Overall I think 'B' was pretty good for composers and 'K' for conductors. Incidentally, I second EJS's recommendation for Heyworth's Klemperer biography, though the second volume is more interesting from  the recordings point of view, even if all the footnotes are relegated to the back.

 

Chris

Chris A.Gnostic

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