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#1889319 - 05/01/12 08:43 AM Best Bach Pianist  
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TomJamesMcmahon Offline
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So who do we think the best Bach pianist is?
But for these works:
Goldberg
Well-Tempered
Art of Fugue
Just came across Pierre Laurent-Aimards Art of Fugue and very impressed.
What do people think and why?

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#1889325 - 05/01/12 08:58 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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Glenn Gould.

Why?

Because Glenn Gould.


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Algernon: I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.
#1889326 - 05/01/12 09:06 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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Glenn Gould for me. My favorite pianist to. Glenn Gould is the pianist which keeps me playing the piano. As a muscian Glenn Gould did something new, werent as booring as many other pianists. If Bach had heard hes recordings he would call hes BWV.988 "The Gouldberg Variations" im sure.


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#1889332 - 05/01/12 09:16 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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I'm also very impressed by every Gould Bach recording I've heard. I could listen to him forever.

That's not to say that there aren't other great recordings, and I'm sure there are many fine ones of which I'm not even aware.


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#1889348 - 05/01/12 09:52 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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Apart from Gould, may I recommend:

for WTK, Tureck -- but only her BBC studio broadcast.
for AOF, Koroliov.
for Goldbergs, I don't prefer any piano version to Gould's final one, but my favorite Goldbergs is the Sitkovetsky adaptation for string trio, but only in the recording by Triskelion, a Canadian group. Incomparably witty and poetic, and no bow slashing.

My favorite piano recordings of Bach are of Carl Seeman performing the Six Partitas and Gyorgy Sandor playing transcriptions.

#1889400 - 05/01/12 11:48 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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If you can get past the smug perfection and incessant ornamentation, Schiff's Bach is a delight. The range of colors and contrasts he gets is truly astounding - the exact opposite of Gould's equally incredible x-ray vision contrapuntal clarity.

Sokolov's Art of Fugue is absolutely magnificent, probably the finest single non-Gould Bach recording I've ever heard. Stylistically he occupies the middle ground between Gould and Schiff, and yet his idiomatic view of Bach on the piano is entirely his own.

Last edited by AldenH; 05/01/12 11:50 AM.
#1889410 - 05/01/12 12:06 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: AldenH]  
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Originally Posted by AldenH
If you can get past the smug perfection...

Thanks Alden, that was worth a nice morning chuckle.


Jason
#1889414 - 05/01/12 12:09 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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"Best" in what sense .... ?


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#1889416 - 05/01/12 12:12 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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I hate Gould.

Hewitt or Tureck for me

#1889418 - 05/01/12 12:16 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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Whats wrong with Glenn Gould?
Best in youre personal taste i think BruceD. I hope you know what pianists you like?..


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#1889441 - 05/01/12 01:12 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: AldenH]  
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Originally Posted by AldenH
If you can get past the smug perfection and incessant ornamentation, Schiff's Bach is a delight. The range of colors and contrasts he gets is truly astounding - the exact opposite of Gould's equally incredible x-ray vision contrapuntal clarity.


Schiff will perform both books of the WTC at Disney Hall in October, and I'm looking forward to that.


Gary
Essex EUP-111 at the mountains
W. Hoffmann T-122 at the beach
#1889481 - 05/01/12 02:38 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: Hermanberntzen]  
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Originally Posted by Hermanberntzen
Whats wrong with Glenn Gould?
Best in youre personal taste i think BruceD. I hope you know what pianists you like?..


Of course I know what pianists I like. There is, however, no best for my taste in Bach or any other composer, as every good pianist has something to offer that I can enjoy and appreciate.

Regards,


BruceD
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#1889518 - 05/01/12 04:01 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: BruceD]  
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Alright Bruce "Favorite" then, strongest interpretation in your opinion. Recording you get the most out of.
I like Gould a lot but I do find some of his Well Tempered a little dull- I'm working on the Fudue in F from book 2 and he plays it far too harpsichord like for me.

#1889550 - 05/01/12 05:07 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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Gould cannot be the best. Although he certainly plays Bach's Goldberg Variations very well, he never plays the repeats as Bach wrote them!

#1889567 - 05/01/12 05:34 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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London, Cambridge, San Francis...
Agree that Gould WTC leaves something to be desired. It almost comes across as disdainful for certain pieces (e.g. Book 2 Eb Prelude). I think I prefer Richter and Tureck... Tureck probably being the most musical... if only the recording was better quality.

Of course, Martha plays some of the best Bach ever. Not sure she would have ever had the temperament to play Goldberg with her aversion to monolithic solo pieces, but I treasure her Bach recording more than almost every other Bach recording, perhaps save Casals' Suites & both Gouldbergs.


Currently working on: Bach Partita 4, English Suite 2, Toccata d-minor, Chopin-op 10/1, Schubert Impromptus
#1889688 - 05/01/12 10:14 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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Tureck for the Partitas (1949-50 recordings). I think these are unequalled. I like Gould as well though, having spent 30 years or so as a complete groupie I've learned that he was not 100% flawless in recent years. Still listen to him though.


Justin
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#1889755 - 05/02/12 12:37 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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Murray Perahia, hands down winner for me.


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#1889762 - 05/02/12 12:47 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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I dont see the problem why he dont play it like Bach wrote it? Its the same point as why should you record another Bach Concerto if its gonna sound like any of the others? This Gould was real clever.

Last edited by Hermanberntzen; 05/02/12 12:48 AM.

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Orlando Gibbons The Lord of Salisbury and his Pavin
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William Byrd Pavan to the Earl of Salisbury
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#1889807 - 05/02/12 03:12 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: Hermanberntzen]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by Hermanberntzen
This Gould was real clever.


He was, of course. Not only clever, but quite the genius. That doesn't, however, make him a great pianist (though he was, in many ways). It is too bad that he let himself get in the way so often and chose to pervert the music of so many composers. His Bach recordings are the reason we know of him and they are certainly ones that should be heard (notice I didn't say to LISTEN to them), but not aped. His ability to play counterpoint is something envied by many pianists and rarely reproduced at such a high level, but were it not for this extraordinary thing he would have been quite average.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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#1889839 - 05/02/12 06:20 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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Andrea Bacchetti's Bach is the best I've heard in recent years. Unless you're allergic to profuse ornamentation....


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#1889915 - 05/02/12 09:19 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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#1889936 - 05/02/12 10:00 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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I listen mainly to Schiff, Richter, Gulda and Fellner.
I wouldn't want to choose just one but if push came to shove I think Fellner is closest to my heart.I can't wait for him to record book two.

#1890004 - 05/02/12 12:41 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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Andras Schiff. Hands down.

#1890009 - 05/02/12 12:58 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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Glenn Gould

#1890198 - 05/02/12 09:43 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: RichterForever]  
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Originally Posted by RichterForever
Murray Perahia, hands down winner for me.


yes, ditto; i quite agree. a pianist must surrender to bach, not the other way around.

#1890430 - 05/03/12 10:27 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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I don't think there is a particular 'best', but I'm surprised that Edwin Fischer wasn't mentioned at all. Here is his recording of the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ91J0hjotA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlNGaaIPnWU

#1890720 - 05/03/12 08:01 PM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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Land of the never-ending music
Gould for me...



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#1890913 - 05/04/12 06:44 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: timmyab]  
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Originally Posted by timmyab
I listen mainly to Schiff, Richter, Gulda and Fellner.
I wouldn't want to choose just one but if push came to shove I think Fellner is closest to my heart.I can't wait for him to record book two.


Delightful video by Fellner. I love threads like this because I find out about artists I wouldn't know about otherwise. Marvelous tone from that instrument as well.

I often wish that recordings were accompanied by - in addition to the artist, of course - the:
1. type of piano
2. type of actions
3. type of hammers
4. type of tuning temperament
5. name of the technician/tuner (or both if not the same)

as credits, the same way that recording engineers are given credits on albums.

Forrest


PTG Associate Member
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#1890917 - 05/04/12 06:53 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: TomJamesMcmahon]  
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oh my gosh.. how could i decide.? I go to Gould for 'research' purposes... own the BBC's DVD of the WTCs. (way to many breaks between the recordings - i wish i could skip them).

I saw Schiff perform the Goldberg Variations and it was one of the best experiences in my life.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
#1890983 - 05/04/12 09:00 AM Re: Best Bach Pianist [Re: AldenH]  
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Originally Posted by AldenH
If you can get past the smug perfection and incessant ornamentation, Schiff's Bach is a delight. The range of colors and contrasts he gets is truly astounding - the exact opposite of Gould's equally incredible x-ray vision contrapuntal clarity.

Sokolov's Art of Fugue is absolutely magnificent, probably the finest single non-Gould Bach recording I've ever heard. Stylistically he occupies the middle ground between Gould and Schiff, and yet his idiomatic view of Bach on the piano is entirely his own.


Up to recently, I've been fairly ambivalent about Art of fugue as performed on the piano. I've been most content to hear it played on harpsichords, organs, and even (gasp!) by string quartets. There's no rhyme nor reason to this predilection - though as I gradually warm up to Pierre-Laurent Aimard's recording, I feel the resistance fading..

So thank you for that little shove, AldenH, towards Sokolov's recording - which I've just sampled on YouTube. So that's what I've been missing? It sounds wonderful - and has just been placed on my "to buy" list.

I, too, am partial towards Schiff's Bach.

Nowadays, I tend to treat many of Gould's Bach recordings as ultra-fascinating curiosities: It's probably just a phase.

Last edited by Gerard12; 05/04/12 09:00 AM.

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