Discussion in 'Comedy & Tragedy' started by AdamSmith, Sep 7, 2016.
Thanks for posting this performance. I am always amazed by this kind of hand-eye-foot coordination that I have never had in my life. How this man, and other organists, are able to do this and make it look so natural is mind-boggling to me.
And as some organist remarked, "Then there are all the gadgets to contend with!"
I believe practice for each new piece is to learn one hand, then the other, then the pedal.
Aha! I never considered that approach. Very enlightening. Thank you.
Of course there is the infamous abrupt ending... Bach's son C.P.E. Bach said that his father died at that point... highly unlikely! Now if PDQ Bach had made such a remark that might have actually given some credence to the statement...
In all seriousness, given your love of the organ I am surprused that your favorite version of the piece is on harpsichord. I would have thought the organ, but then again what you know about the organ probably eliminated that instrument as being the instrument of choice.
In any event, I have always thought that a keyboard instrument such as the harpsichord as the most logical choice as after all there is no pedal part that might imply the organ. Likewise a string quartet is not correct or even worse an orchestral version as there is no basso continue implied and that would have been the case if an instrumental or orchestral setting were envisioned.
I do love Glenn Gould's organ performance of the first several contrapuncti, but I just have to give Koopman's musicianship -- his view of HIP, and his very high artistry in every respect -- pride of place. Plus as you say, everything about the piece seems to come through and come out better on the harpsichord than any other instrument.
I had loved Koopman's performance ever since first buying and playing a CD of it, but the beauty really struck me most deeply when I had just wired together a new stereo setup, put this in to play as the inaugural piece -- and a VERY LOUD, thus highly sonically detailed, first few notes rang out, before I turned it down a bit.
That reminded me that we often tend to play home stereos somewhat below the volume threshold where their sonic fidelity to real life jumps up several notches.
On re-listening, here is everything that is both so right and so wrong about every single solitary thing flowing, ultimately, from the vision and spirit of Joseph Smith: It is authentically American, authentically affirming, authentically schmaltzy and authentically shallow.
The MTC here has managed to turn the Hallelujah Chorus into a pop song.
Have you never had experience memorizing something long? You just have to break it up into manageable pieces. At Duke (before soul-saving transfer to Jale) I took a semester on Milton from one (very demanding, actually treated us as capable adults in a 30-student lecture class that he instead ran as a seminar; very productively intimidating) Reynolds Price. As end-of-term assignment, we could either write a ten-page paper, or memorize 'Lycidas' and then, in private thank God, recite it to him.
I would wake up early (early then was 7am), read through it to where I had it in memory thus far, then work to add the next ten lines to memory. Then repeat the next morning, and the next. It worked.
His point (as Bloom gave us again at Yale) is you only get a pale shadow of poetry's power if you don't internalize it through memorization.
It was Bloom's observation that he seems to commit any 'good' poem to memory on first reading that made me realize, I do that too, or fairly close to.
Once you do that, the entire corpus of English-language poetry comes alive with their interconnections, author-to-author shockingly visible influences, whether those influences helped or quashed the later writer, etc etc.
That retentive memory has helped me manage and mask many other severe cognitive deficits.
Harnoncourt's Third Brandenburg, recorded in the first half of the seventies.
I recall liking Harnoncourt's 1980's Brandenburg Set where in number 4 he actually had the flauti d'echo (recorders) move to a distant location in the studio so as to give a true echo effect in the second movement. I found it quite effective. The sound of the recording was quite warm and natural as I recall as well. I have not heard the set in quite some time.
I bought my vinyl of this in 1976.
It is in the basement together with various hibernating copperheads and moccasins right now, so not readily to hand for more detailed examination.
The only Brandenburgs that I have on hand are by Trevor Pinnok and The English Concert made for Archive in the early digital era. The tempi are quite swift and the rhythms springy. CD sound makes the gut strings sound quite metalic. It is an exhilarating traversal, but the sound does it in. The trumpet in number 2 is spot on however and that was the fly in the ointment for many early HIP versions.
As far as copperheads etc. are concerned where I am currently there is no basement, but the moccasins, etc. are all slithering outdoors... not to mention the occasional family of otters and gators.
Okay, the two of you have used the acronym often enough for me to ask WTF is HIP? Google was no help. Historically informed performance? I was kinda expecting something to do with original instruments.
My current copy of the Messiah is a CD of the Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Hogwood, but the Harnoncourt version of "For Unto Us A Child Is Born" sounds suspiciously familiar. But I think the version the Hogwood replaced because I couldn't find a CD version of it was the Mackerras one.
DING DING DING!
Some more Koopman...
Yet more. And what instruments!
And here performing Bach's Dorian fugue on one of the great Schnitger organs. (I happened to work in a company for some years with one of Arp Schnitger's descendants. Who was not musical at all. )
And the Little fugue on a different instrument from above.
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