Alexander Hawkins

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About Alexander Hawkins

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    Master of the Groove!
  • Birthday 05/03/1981

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  1. What Classical Music Are You Listening To?

    Yes indeed!
  2. What Classical Music Are You Listening To?

    For me - a few versions of the Brahms Handel variations...Kovacevich, Solomon, and Yudina. [edited to correct spelling!]
  3. What Classical Music Are You Listening To?

  4. Most difficult famous piece to get right?

    The Kleibers were my first thoughts too...somewhat astonishingly (or maybe not given who we're dealing with), that recording was the only time Carlos ever performed the piece. Thank you for the recommendation on the Monteux, which I don't know, but am going to check out!
  5. Dave Holland - Uncharted Territories

    The gig where I actually met Louis for the first time was when Evan asked me to sub for Steve in this band - something for which I'll be forever grateful. The gigs with this band were such a joy...I *think* this recording might somehow have been the first time John and Hamid had played together, unbelievably...
  6. What Classical Music Are You Listening To?

    Caught them playing Schumann on Radio 3 a few months back...enjoyed it, although haven't checked out the CD!
  7. Dave Holland - Uncharted Territories

    Jim - funny you should mention radical DJ chopping. Don't know if you've come across this one? The record is totally amazing...heavy going, in a gripping way!
  8. Your Thoughts On Glenn Gould/Bach?

    Thanks for this - hadn't heard it!
  9. Your Thoughts On Glenn Gould/Bach?

    I'm sure it is what you're hearing! Some examples of his so-called 'hiccuping' piano in the C major 2 part invention, for instance:
  10. Your Thoughts On Glenn Gould/Bach?

    I could be remembering wrong, but doesn't the manuscript of the trio sonata portion of that work expressly request flute/violin/continuo? Anyway, what an astonishing piece *that* is! (Count me in as a huge fan of the Webern orchestration of the 6 part Ricercar.) Re TAF and contemporary performances - I don't know about contemporary practice and playing things like this from unpublished manuscripts, but wasn't it only published posthumously?
  11. Julius Eastman, composer

    Absolutely! Yes, I'm really looking forward to checking out this performance!
  12. Your Thoughts On Glenn Gould/Bach?

    Jim - there are a few bits here and there of Gould working in the studio. Here's a little video which I think is really fascinating, of Gould mixing his Scriabin. The Sibelius record is a pretty fascinating document of his approach too. A nice book which goes into Gould's piano is 'A Romance on Three Legs'. It contains lots of biographical detail on his faithful/long suffering/delete as appropriate technicians; things on how Gould requested they set up CD318, his own Steinway D (which explains why you can hear the hammers bouncing just very occasionally when he really attacks the instrument); accounts of recording sessions etc. Larry - I hear what you're saying, although I wouldn't personally say 'over-' differentiates; this is the clarity I love in Bach (e.g. the quality of the voicing is one of the reasons why I think Lipatti's Bb partita is held as such a classic). Again, I don't really feel that there's any 'correct' way to voice this type of contrapuntal writing. But I suppose worth throwing in (and relevant to the Rosen discussion, since I suppose the piece would be regarded as one with which he has a special connection) is that of course with pieces like The Art of Fugue, it's not even clear that we're dealing with keyboard music as such in the first place anyway; so it's harder to claim that lines need to speak with the same timbral/dynamic homogeneity as the by definition would on a harpsichord.
  13. Julius Eastman, composer

    Incredible music! One performance which I think is really worth anyone's time checking out is by Eastman's own group doing 'Stay On It' at the CCA in Glasgow. I think the key here is the wildness and improvisatory freedom, whereas I have heard Eastman's music done in more of a 'museum piece' contemporary classical 'repertory' way, which I don't think quite captures it...
  14. Your Thoughts On Glenn Gould/Bach?

    I have to say that I disagree a little with Charles Rosen (extremely respectfully - I'm definitely an admirer of his playing). It's very interesting to read what he says - I used to play a number of preludes and fugues on the organ when I was much younger, but have actually recently been going back to the WTC to learn some more on the piano; so have been listening a lot again recently. A few thoughts in relation to what he says: - yes, Bach of course often dovetails the entrance of a subject with the end of a previous phrase; but I don't think it follows that this is an attempt to 'hide' the subject. Look for example at the language of the countersubjects, which leave lots of space for the subjects (melodically/rhythmically/otherwise) - I take it that Bach of all people could hide a subject much more successfully than claimed, if this is what he's really trying to do. Plus of course I don't think all entrances of the subject are equal; then there are the false entrances of subjects, etc. etc. etc. - of course pianists have a variety of options open to them which aren't open to harpsichordists (etc.) to voice an entry...and yes Gould (alongside countless others) will often bring out the entrance of a subject; but he chooses his moments. Richter too in his recording. Some he makes very obvious; others less so. For sure Rosen doesn't mention Gould, and one reason I wouldn't personally link those comments to Gould is that it sells him way short IMHO here, in talking about performances 'in which the theme is consistently emphasized to the detriment of the other voices'. I don't know of many pianists who would argue - whether particular fans of Gould or not - that he emphasises the theme 'to the detriment of the other voices'. I would say that one of the miracles of Gould's playing pianistically speaking, and one which I don't think many detractors of his would deny (though of course there may be many other aspects of his artistry on which they're less than keen), is his ability to articulate and phrase a number of contrapuntal lines simultaneously, i.e. not just the subject (take e.g. the 5 voice B flat minor fugue from book 1; which I would say also gives the lie to any idea that Gould just hammers out all entries of the subject...some he makes very obvious here; others far less so - listen e.g. to the delicacy of the stretto at the end). Just a few thoughts scribbled in a rush. I love Gould in Bach (the WTC and other stuff which I think feels very different in ways, e.g. the partitas). I also like Charles Rosen! On a slight tangent: I sometimes feel like the 'Ur' Gould is actually possibly the Byrd/Gibbons stuff, even more so than Bach. And just one last thought: I think so much of the magic of Bach is that there are so many ways to play it; and that however personal, idiosyncratic, (in-)authentic or whatever the playing, it still always sounds like Bach... I've never heard that, and it wouldn't make sense to in most Bach, where individual parts move between the hands. On the one hand, knowing how much he loved the studio as an instrument in itself, I guess it wouldn't be totally surprising if he tried it to see how it sounded; but on the other, I actually think it would - on balance - be harder to do, and to get it sounding musical, than just to play the thing down..!