Discussion:
Some Musings and Rants on the Bach PF&A
(too old to reply)
Phil
2005-08-12 16:44:49 UTC
Permalink
The Prelude, Fugue and Allegro for Lute by JS Bach. If there really
were angels like in all of those european paintings, if they could sang
would they not sing the Bach PFA?

C.Parkening blows this away on his recording but I will never
understand why he left out the Fugue - it is a beauty. Is this a
Segovia thing - leaving out sections of a score? Too busy to learn it?
Sharon, can you help us here?

K. Gallagher does an excellent job on his recording, including the
fugue - followed by some exceptional SL Weiss you don't get to hear
much - he adds ornaments the the Courant - they're good - just right.

I listened to D. Russell's rendition of the PFA - in the Prelude right
at that jucy chord two lines from the end he adds an improvised "riff"
that sounds more like Giulliani than Bach - it disturbs the pastoral
feeling - I hate it. The fugue put me to sleep. And then, in the
opening notes of the allegro he adds an ornament that is not in the
music - NBG - but enough of this making the guitar sound like a
harpsichord already - I hate this too. "Sleepers" plods and clomps
along. Sorry David, you are one the greats - I absolutely love your
other baroque recordings.

I have heard J. Williams do the A - fast - music ripped from the
guitar.

I think I have heard Walter Gerwig (I'm old) do this on lute and liking
it but thinking (at that time) it was probably too slow.

I am considering springing for a P. Galbraith CD.

Anyone familiar with this?

Regards,

Phil
Room 101
2005-08-12 17:16:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phil
The Prelude, Fugue and Allegro for Lute by JS Bach. If there really
were angels like in all of those european paintings, if they could sang
would they not sing the Bach PFA?
C.Parkening blows this away on his recording but I will never
understand why he left out the Fugue - it is a beauty. Is this a
Segovia thing - leaving out sections of a score? Too busy to learn it?
Sharon, can you help us here?
It was probably too difficult or he didn't understand it.
Post by Phil
I am considering springing for a P. Galbraith CD.
Anyone familiar with this?
Yes. He's a brilliant player--staggering technique and very passionate. He
does tend to add ornaments and take unorthodox tempos (primarily in the the
Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas), but his recordings are well worth
owning.
Isaac bustos
2005-08-12 17:46:35 UTC
Permalink
Hi Phil,
I think that the Galbraith Recording of the PFA is spectacular! His
tempos are faster than what you are used to--specially the P and the F.
The Prelude is perhaps too fast and probably not as expressive as some
of the other players I have heard. However, the highlight of this
recording is his reading of the Fugue and the incredible clarity with
which he brings out the subject everytime it happens throughout the
piece. It is absolutely stunning!!
The Allegro also has its moments. He brings lines out from the 16th
note passages that is actually really amazing to hear since we are used
to either really fast and clean/sloppy or really slow and clean/sloppy.
His Allegro is simply brisk, articulate and musical.
I too recommend his Bach recordings!

Isaac.
http//www.bustosguitarist.com
Phil
2005-08-12 18:40:31 UTC
Permalink
Hi,

In the second section of the allegro when it goes to e min and you are
up on the 5th, 7th and 8th frets on the sixth string guitar - I could
see how these passages might be simplified on PG's eight string guitar
with the "first" string tuned to "A."

Essentially these passages would be played in first position, I think.
Not necessarily easier I suppose - but does having that additional high
string solve other problems in this music and contribute to PG's
virtuosity - I would think yes.
Steven Bornfeld
2005-08-12 18:17:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phil
The Prelude, Fugue and Allegro for Lute by JS Bach. If there really
were angels like in all of those european paintings, if they could sang
would they not sing the Bach PFA?
C.Parkening blows this away on his recording but I will never
understand why he left out the Fugue - it is a beauty. Is this a
Segovia thing - leaving out sections of a score? Too busy to learn it?
Sharon, can you help us here?
K. Gallagher does an excellent job on his recording, including the
fugue - followed by some exceptional SL Weiss you don't get to hear
much - he adds ornaments the the Courant - they're good - just right.
I listened to D. Russell's rendition of the PFA - in the Prelude right
at that jucy chord two lines from the end he adds an improvised "riff"
that sounds more like Giulliani than Bach - it disturbs the pastoral
feeling - I hate it. The fugue put me to sleep. And then, in the
opening notes of the allegro he adds an ornament that is not in the
music - NBG - but enough of this making the guitar sound like a
harpsichord already - I hate this too. "Sleepers" plods and clomps
along. Sorry David, you are one the greats - I absolutely love your
other baroque recordings.
I have heard J. Williams do the A - fast - music ripped from the
guitar.
I think I have heard Walter Gerwig (I'm old) do this on lute and liking
it but thinking (at that time) it was probably too slow.
I am considering springing for a P. Galbraith CD.
Anyone familiar with this?
Regards,
Phil
My favorite guitar version is Goran Sollscher's. I think they're
entitled to their own reasonable judgement with regard to ornamentation.
Sollscher himself uses a few ritards in the allegro which I haven't
heard any other players use.
I also wondered why Parkening didn't do the fugue, but if he was going
to grunt along it's probably just as well. I also think he takes the
allegro at a very fast tempo--too fast for my liking.
The first version I ever heard was Eugen Dombois' on the lute. It is
very, very slow compared to other versions I've heard, but IMO works
very well because of the general majesty of his playing. I also have
Lutz Kirshoff's recording, which at the time was highly praised--not
least because IIRC he plays all the works in their original keys. I am
not a lute player, so I cannot relate to how big a deal this really is.
It is of course wonderfully played, but a bit dry to my ears.
Amazingly (to me) I've never heard either Williams or Russell do this.

Steve
--
Cut the nonsense to reply
Andrew Schulman
2005-08-12 18:24:35 UTC
Permalink
There was a recent thread about the rests in the bass in the Prelude.
I figured I'd wait until another PFA thread came up before posting
this.

Last week I was delayed on the return trip to NY with my quintet, the
Abaca String Band, in the Nashville airport, by about 2 hours (not bad
these days).

I took my guitar to a quiet part of the waiting area to play for a
while and started playing the PFA. Aha! I realized that a test I'd
been wanting to do for some time was a great way to kill some of the
waiting time.

My other players in the group are a violinist, mandolinist, violist,
and double bassist. All are professionals in their 30-50's with
conservatory training and extensive professional early music experience
in various well known NY ensembles.

One by one I asked them to come over to where I was to listen to the
Prelude. All I told them was that there was a difference of opinion
among various professional guitarists about the treatment of the bass
line; some played it as written, short basses of a quarter note
followed by rests, with others letting the basses ring through the
rests. I didn't tell them what I did, I just asked for their opinion
of what sounded better.

Then I played the Prelude both ways, as written first.

All four of them felt strongly that letting the bass notes ring sounded
better, that this was a "pedal point" situation. They all found the
short basses to be distracting. My bass player said he'd worked with
various conductors that had the continuo 'cellos and basses ring
through the rests in similar situations.

By the way, none of them were familiar with this piece so they were
listening with fresh ears.

After the previous thread I did try for a few days to see if I could
change my mind, but my feeling about the short basses was the same as
my players. It was helpful to me to have their feedback.

One can name various guitarists who have performed/recorded on both
sides of this argument. Personally, I have found these threads to be
very useful, because whichever way you decide, at least you are making
a conscious decision as opposed to playing without awareness. Another
piece that had a similar thread was BWV 999, the little D minor
prelude. I used to let the bass ring through the rest there, read the
thread, started observing the rest, and it sounded much better to me
that way.

Anyway, thought it was a good day to stir the pot some more! :-)

Andrew
http://www.abacaproductions.com/
Isaac bustos
2005-08-12 18:47:45 UTC
Permalink
Andrew,
A friend of mine who went to the Sienna Classes that Oscar Ghiglia
teaches, told me that the way OG teaches the Prelude (BWV 998) is by
comparing it to the cantata (can't remember the #) from which it
derives. The Cantata is about the angel Gabriel descending down to
earth. So, the bass at the beginning of the piece symbolizes earth and
the eighth notes symbolizes his "glorious descending to earth". I had
always let the basses ring in the Prelude and after hearing this plus
your airport experience I feel I made the right choice!

Isaac
http//www.bustosguitarist.com
Andrew Schulman
2005-08-12 19:07:20 UTC
Permalink
Issac-

That's a great story, thanks!

Andrew
Phil
2005-08-12 19:18:16 UTC
Permalink
Yes - a great story! I play both open Ds together and let them ring
out in the begining and at the end in the last few bars - I prefer a
more lyrical approach to this movement with some slides and slurs and
slight tempo changes here and there.

I wonder what interpretations are possible relative to the fugue and
allegro?


Phil
Andrew Schulman
2005-08-12 19:23:16 UTC
Permalink
As far as rests in the F & A, I follow them closely.

Andrew
Ashby
2005-08-12 19:42:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Isaac bustos
Andrew,
A friend of mine who went to the Sienna Classes that Oscar Ghiglia
teaches, told me that the way OG teaches the Prelude (BWV 998) is by
comparing it to the cantata (can't remember the #) from which it
derives. The Cantata is about the angel Gabriel descending down to
earth. So, the bass at the beginning of the piece symbolizes earth and
the eighth notes symbolizes his "glorious descending to earth". I had
always let the basses ring in the Prelude and after hearing this plus
your airport experience I feel I made the right choice!
I think the PFA has to do with the Passion of St. Matthew. IIRC, the Fugue
is an inversion of the Passion's famous Chorale.

Ashby
elmcmeen
2005-08-12 18:39:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phil
The Prelude, Fugue and Allegro for Lute by JS Bach. If there really
were angels like in all of those european paintings, if they could sang
would they not sing the Bach PFA?
Pretty sure some or all of these are on Michael
Chapdelaine's CD, called Bach is Cool...

www.michaelchapdelaine.com

El
Ashby
2005-08-12 20:18:42 UTC
Permalink
"Phil" <***@boeing.com> wrote in message news:***@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
<several snips>
Post by Phil
C.Parkening blows this away on his recording but I will never
understand why he left out the Fugue - it is a beauty.
Some scholars have questioned the authenticity of the Fugue. But I doubt if
that has anything to do with Parkening leaving it out. He probably just
didn't think it sounded good.
Post by Phil
Is this a
Segovia thing - leaving out sections of a score?
Bream often criticizes Segovia for not playing entire suites. Segovia to my
knowledge never played the Fugue in BWV 998. Parkening was Segovia's
student. Perhaps that had something to do with it.
Post by Phil
I am considering springing for a P. Galbraith CD.
Anyone familiar with this?
I like Galbraith's Bach. I would suggest you get a recording by someone you
like who plays the entire triptych. I prefer Sollscher and Bream, but that's
a matter of personal taste. You might also benefit from listening to St.
Matthew's Passion. You'll see connections with PFA (jmo).

Ashby

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