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Posted By: M. Doege Andrea Bacchetti again - 06/18/10 03:07 PM
He has been mentioned here favorably in the past, but maybe it's time to point out that Andrea Bacchetti (talk about having a fitting name for playing Bach!) has a lovely new Bach CD out (well, since last year actually), featuring the 2- and 3-part inventions among others. I'm not an expert on every Bach recording every done, but I think his efforts are pretty successful.

My favorites so far:

It's nice to see the inventions and sinfonias receive such a five-star treatment once in a while. Very inspiring IMHO.

Posted By: BruceD Re: Andrea Bacchetti again - 06/18/10 04:15 PM
These three excerpts were interesting to hear, but I think I like Bach keyboard works with a lot less syrup, thank you!

Posted By: RationalPianist Re: Andrea Bacchetti again - 06/18/10 04:37 PM
Too honeyed for me.
Posted By: M. Doege Re: Andrea Bacchetti again - 06/18/10 06:41 PM
Well, those 30 second-clips don't really do him justice, especially as they start somewhere in the middle, not at the beginning.

But perhaps Bacchetti's style mirrors a general shift in the perception of Bach's music: In the 19th century, Bach was supposedly played very romantically, with lots of rubato, then in 20th century, there was Gould, who drained Bach's music of every last bit of emotion and phrasing, perhaps now we can find an acceptable middle ground. Something between the analytical playing of Brendel and the more emotional approach of Bacchetti seems quite appropriate to me. IMO that whole Gould experiment didn't really lead anywhere.

Something else I've found on Amazon I was intrigued by (and when I say "intrigued by," that doesn't necessarily mean I like every last bit of it) is Friedrich Gulda playing the WTC I+II BTW.

Posted By: beet31425 Re: Andrea Bacchetti again - 06/18/10 06:52 PM
We will have differing opinions on this, and that's fine. For me, Gould gives his Bach the most exquisite and perfect emotional sense I can imagine. The Bacchetti, while interesting to listen to, sounds dreadful to me.

But the important thing is that we both like Bach, right?

Posted By: M. Doege Re: Andrea Bacchetti again - 06/18/10 09:54 PM
How can one play piano and not like Bach? smile

But listening to Gould's version of invention #13, he plays it in 45 seconds (if you can call that playing). Some other Bach pieces of his are extremely slow, but in this case he races through it.

I admire Gould's strange playing technique, but there's no emotional sense there I can detect. He does introduce some weird tempo changes toward the end of the Amazon sample, but they don't make any musical sense to me. It's like Gould has two different playing speeds and he randomly switches between them. That is not my idea of a good (or even great) piano performance.

One similarity between Gould and Bacchetti though: They both huff and puff audibly at the piano, although at least Gould's creaky chair is absent on Bacchetti's CD. Creating clean recordings was/is apparently not their strong suit.

Posted By: BruceD Re: Andrea Bacchetti again - 06/18/10 10:16 PM
Gould and Bacchetti aren't the only pianists who have recorded the Two- and Three-Part Inventions. Perhaps you should listen to some other performers besides those two before determining that Bacchetti is the only alternative to Gould.

Posted By: M. Doege Re: Andrea Bacchetti again - 06/18/10 10:43 PM
Bruce, I never said Bacchetti is the only alternative to Gould. I started this thread by saying that I like Bacchetti's recording, and J. chimed in and said he preferred Gould. That's all.

If you have anything else to suggest, go ahead. Judging by the admittedly limited selection at Amazon MP3, I notice that there's a version of #13 by Schiff that is somewhat similar to Gould's (judging by the sample), then there's one by Wolfgang Rubsam (never heard of him before) that's somewhat similar to Bacchetti's, although Rubsam plays other inventions very, very differently from Bacchetti.

I also like Serkin's recording, again judging by the sample, although the dynamics are a little muted for my taste. Koroliov has done a nice version, almost as fast as Gould but with lots of musical understanding.

So of course there are lot of good Bach performances out there, and by heaping a little praise on Baccetti I did not mean to imply that his CD is the best recording, because there is no such thing as "best" where personal taste is involved. Although I must say I cannot understand how someone could admire Gould for anything beyond pure technique.

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