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paul secor

Bach Recommendations

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I'm slowly making my way into the world of classical music, and have done some exploring of J.S. Bach's music. But there's so much there that I could use some help.

I have four recordings of the Cello Suites - Wispelwey, Casals, Starker, and Rostropovich - and plan on picking up at least a couple more in the future - considering Bylsma, Tortelier, and Queyras. So I'm in ok shape there.

I also have Hogwood/Academy of Ancient Music: Brandenburgs; Juilliard String Quartet: Art of the Fugue; Jeno Jando: Well Tempered Clavier; Pinnock/English Concert: Harpsichord Concertos - all of which I enjoy.

And Andrew Manze/Richard Egarr/Jaap ter Linden: Violin Concertos - which so far hasn't done much for me.

Anyway, what I'm looking for is Bach recordings that Organissimo members love - that could be different recordings of the works I already have or recordings of works that I don't have.

The recommendations I'm looking for are recordings that move you and that you love.

Hope that this request for recommendations isn't too personal. I hope that others will find something here that they can learn from too. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

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Glenn Gould's 1955 recording of the "Goldberg Variations" is one of a handful of recordings that literally changed my life. Sometimes the fetishization of Gould can be a problem among his champions -- I'm probably guilty myself -- but his recordings of the Bach solo keyboard works are really quite extraordinary -- the incredible clarity of the contrapuntal lines, the electricity of feeling, the personality embedded in the playing and the laser-like purity. After the Goldbergs I'd go for the Italian Concerto and the Partitas. Then there's the two books of the WTC, the French and English Suites, etc.

Edited by Mark Stryker

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And Andrew Manze/Richard Egarr/Jaap ter Linden: Violin Concertos - which so far hasn't done much for me.

Is it the performance/interpretation or the concerti themselves you don't like?

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I like Bach's secular instrumental work, not so much his religious work. I used to prefer piano interpretations of his compositions for keyboard, but not anymore, it's all harpsichord here these days :)

Here are some of my favourites:

Concertos

• Ton Koopman/Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra: Brandenburg Concertos Nos.1-6, BWV 1046-1051 – 2CD, Erato

• Giovanni Antonini/Il Giardino Armonico: Brandenburg Concertos Nos.1-6, BWV 1046-1051 – 2CD, Teldec

Orchestral Suites

• Ton Koopman/Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra: Suites (Overtures), BWV 1066-1069 – 2CD, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi (1988 recording)

• Ton Koopman/Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra: Suites (Overtures), BWV 1066-1069 – Erato (1997 recording)

• Monica Huggett/Ensemble Sonnerie: Four Orchestral Suites for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen: Suites Nos.1, BWV 1066; 2, after BWV 1067 (reconstruction); 3, after BWV 1068 (reconstruction); 4, after BWV 1069 (reconstruction) – Avie

Harpsichord Concertos

• Trevor Pinnock/English Concert: Concertos for Harpsichord and Strings, BWV 1052-1054 – Archiv

• Trevor Pinnock/English Concert: Concertos for Harpsichord and Strings, BWV 1055-1058 – Archiv

Violin Concertos

• Simon Standage with Trevor Pinnock/English Concert: Violin Concertos, BWV 1041-1043 – Archiv

• Rachel Podger with Andrew Manze/Academy of Ancient Music: Solo and Double Violin Concertos, BWV 1041-1043, 1060 – Harmonia Mundi France

• Rachel Podger/Brecon Baroque: Violin Concertos, BWV 1041-1042, after BWV 1055-1056 – Channel Classics

Chamber Music

• Barthold Kuijken, Sigiswald Kuijken, Wieland Kuijken, Robert Kohnen: A Musical Offering (Ein musikalisches Opfer), BWV 1079 – Deutsche Harmonia Mundi

• Ensemble Sonnerie: A Musical Offering (Ein musikalisches Opfer), BWV 1079 – Virgin

Solo Violin Music

• Arthur Grumiaux: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1001-1006 – 2CD, Philips

• Rachel Podger: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1001-1006 – 2CD, Channel Classics

• Viktoria Mullova: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1001-1006 – 2CD, Onyx

Solo Cello Music

• Pablo Casals: The 6 Cello Suites, BWV 1007-1012 – 2CD, EMI Références

• Pierre Fournier: The 6 Cello Suites, BWV 1007-1012 – 2CD, DG

• Jaap ter Linden: The 6 Cello Suites, BWV 1007-1012 – 2CD, Harmonia Mundi France

• Pieter Wispelwey: The 6 Cello Suites, BWV 1007-1012 – 2CD, Channel Classics

Solo Keyboard Music and Keyboard Concertos

• Rinaldo Alessandrini, Claudio Rufa, Francesca Vicari/Concerto Italiano: The Art of Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge), BWV 1080; Keyboard Concertos, BWV 1044, 1052, 1054 and 1057 – 2CD, Naïve

Solo Keyboard Music

• Kenneth Gilbert: The Art of Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge), BWV 1080 – Archiv

• Kenneth Gilbert: The Well-Tempered Clavier (Das wohltemperierte Clavier) Books 1 and 2, BWV 846-893 – 4CD, Archiv

• Gustav Leonhardt: 6 English Suites, BWV 806-811 – 2CD, Virgin

• Christophe Rousset: 6 English Suites, BWV 806-811 – 2CD, Ambroisie

• Ton Koopman: 6 French Suites, BWV 812-817 – 2CD, Erato

• Christophe Rousset: 6 French Suites, BWV 812-817 – 2CD, Ambroisie

• Christophe Rousset: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 – l’Oiseau Lyre

• Christophe Rousset: Partitas, BWV 825-830 – 2CD, l’Oiseau Lyre

• Trevor Pinnock: Partitas, BWV 825-830 – 2CD, Hänssler

Organ Music

• Ton Koopman: Organ Works, Vol.4: Toccatas and Fugues, BWV 532, 538, 540, 564-566 – Teldec Das Alte Werk

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I really like the Partitas for keyboard. Favorite recording so far is Schepkin (piano) on Ongaku (probably oop).

With Easter coming up, have to mention the Saint Matthew Passion. I have only the Gardner (DG) recording, which is good, but can't make any comparison with others. The B Minor Mass is also an excellent piece, but I haven't heard enough recordings to recommend one - I only have it as part of a Brilliant Classics set.

For sure the Goldberg Variations: I've heard several on piano and can't really give a favorite (Gould is an obvious starter), and have only heard Hantai (who's very good) on harpsichord.

Can second the above rec. of • Arthur Grumiaux: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1001-1006 – 2CD, Philips

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41QCFDFVP2L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I love this album - the title is self-explanatory, and the performances are idiomatic without being overtly of the "original instruments" school.

51HvNLGj-TL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

This Samuil Feinberg collection is half Bach and half Mozart. The Bach pieces (all originally for organ) are all "wrong" - they're interpreted with a romanticism which would probably have horrified Herr Bach. But they're just beautiful. There are two versions of Chorale Prelude BWV 662, "Allein Gott in der Hoh, sei Ehr," one from 1952 and one from 1962, literally days before Feinberg died. The later version is three minutes longer - Feinberg lingers over every phrase and cadence, as if he's trying to squeeze every bit of beauty from the piece while he still can. It's heart-wrenching; it's possibly my single favorite recorded performance of a Bach piece.

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And Andrew Manze/Richard Egarr/Jaap ter Linden: Violin Concertos - which so far hasn't done much for me.

Is it the performance/interpretation or the concerti themselves you don't like?

The performance/interpretation, at least as far as I can tell - haven't heard any other performances. Sounds dry and unemotional to my ears. As I say, I'm fairly new to all of this so, to be fair, perhaps I'm not hearing what's there.

Thanks for all of the recommendations in your following post.

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41QCFDFVP2L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I love this album - the title is self-explanatory, and the performances are idiomatic without being overtly of the "original instruments" school.

I second that.

Another recording that's been getting a lot of play from me lately is the Hilliard Ensemble recording of the Motets. I don't have any other versions so I can't compare. I can only tell you that I listen to this one a LOT.

I also like Hilary Hahn's version of the violin concerti, but that may not be everyone's cup of tea.

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St Matthew Passion, Fritz Lehmann (Music & Arts) -- great 1949 live performance, a bargain at Berkshire Record Outlet:

http://www2.broinc.com/search.php?row=0&brocode=&stocknum=&text=BACH+lehmann+matthew&filter=all&submit=Search

St. John Passion, Eugen Jochum (Philips)

Brandenburg Concertos, Phillip Pickett (L'Oiseau Lyre)

Brandenburg Concertos, Rinaldo Alessandrini (Naive)

Violincello Suites, Pierre Fournier (DGG)

Organ Works, Helmut Walcha (Documents)

Goldberg Variations, Maggie Cole (Virgin)

Goldberg Variations, Charles Rosen (Sony)

Sonata and Partitas for Violin, Gidon Kremer (ECM)

Well-Tempered Clavier Book I, Pierre Hantai (Mirare)

Well-Tempered Clavier Book I & II, Sergey Schepkin (Ongaku)

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It's not a CD full, but I love Lipatti playing the Bb partita (the 2nd, IIRC).

I'm also a sucker for Glenn Gould as an interpreter of the keyboard works...

Edited by Alexander Hawkins

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Some recommendations for solo instruments.

Glenn Gould solo piano, particularly 1955 Golbergs (I don't really like his 1981 version), one of my most favorite CDs.

Sviatoslav Richter - Well-Tempered Clavier set on RCA.

Violin Sonatas & Partitas BWV 1001-1006 performed by Oleg Kagan - reissued by Warner in their budget Apex series. There are many celebrated recordings of these works that I have not heard, but I just can't imagine them performed any better than this. These might be not the most clean or exact performances out there, but they are truly profound.

Suites for Theorbo. Theorbo is a low pitch lute, sounds somewhat like bass guitar, really beautiful.

51oNmlPuxZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

As for orchestral works, you can't miss Branderburg Concertos. I love the Cortot / Orchestre de l'Ecole Normale de Musique recordings from the 1920s (with corresponding sound quality) on EMI. I have a couple of more recent versions, but somehow keep returning to these Cortots - there's unique energy and warmth there.

Edited by Д.Д.

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If you like/love Casals' interpretation of the cello suites, you need to own this edition. The remastering blows the EMI version(s) away. Opus Kura is a label very much worth exploring.

post-282-0-70707400-1303350124_thumb.jpg

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If you like/love Casals' interpretation of the cello suites, you need to own this edition. The remastering blows the EMI version(s) away. Opus Kura is a label very much worth exploring.

post-282-0-70707400-1303350124_thumb.jpg

Never heard of Opus Kura. Who did the transfers and the mastering? The EMI set sounds as if noise reduction was applied generously.

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If you like/love Casals' interpretation of the cello suites, you need to own this edition. The remastering blows the EMI version(s) away. Opus Kura is a label very much worth exploring.

post-282-0-70707400-1303350124_thumb.jpg

Never heard of Opus Kura. Who did the transfers and the mastering? The EMI set sounds as if noise reduction was applied generously.

The remastering engineer for Opus Kura is Kiyoshi Yasuhara. Here's the website. I can strongly endorse their instrumental and chamber series. Very open and lively sound (considering the vintage 78's); I think you'll find a lot to like. If it helps, here's the Amazon search results for the label. I've been collecting titles from this label for a little over a year now. I own over a dozen titles, and only two have seemed sub-par. Overall, a big :tup in terms of historical classical reissues.

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Re. the Matthäuspassion, I was dumbfounded when an excerpt figured prominently in the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese's film Casino (though it was a pleasant surprise in some sense). Apparently the recording used is on London with Solti conducting; it's got an all-star cast, but I've never heard it (aside from the soundtrack excerpt).

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One more recommendation for solo works - The Bach Harpsichord Album by Robert Aldwinckle on budget Regis label (includes French Suite, Italian Concerto, Chromatic Fantasy and other works) . Now, I am not the biggest harpsichord fan, but here it sounds great - lively, energetic and dynamically diverse. The CD is OOP but can be easily obtained for cheap from market sellers.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Harpsichord-Album-Robert-Aldwinckle/dp/B00005V436/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1303466996&sr=8-2

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on this website you can find a list of JS Bach complete works withh all the recommended (or not recommended) recordings.

Thanks for that - very useful.

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I'm slowly making my way into the world of classical music, and have done some exploring of J.S. Bach's music. But there's so much there that I could use some help.

I have four recordings of the Cello Suites - Wispelwey, Casals, Starker, and Rostropovich - and plan on picking up at least a couple more in the future - considering Bylsma, Tortelier, and Queyras. So I'm in ok shape there.

I also have Hogwood/Academy of Ancient Music: Brandenburgs; Juilliard String Quartet: Art of the Fugue; Jeno Jando: Well Tempered Clavier; Pinnock/English Concert: Harpsichord Concertos - all of which I enjoy.

And Andrew Manze/Richard Egarr/Jaap ter Linden: Violin Concertos - which so far hasn't done much for me.

Anyway, what I'm looking for is Bach recordings that Organissimo members love - that could be different recordings of the works I already have or recordings of works that I don't have.

The recommendations I'm looking for are recordings that move you and that you love.

Hope that this request for recommendations isn't too personal. I hope that others will find something here that they can learn from too. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Paul, on this website you can find a list of JS Bach complete works withh all the recommended (or not recommended) recordings.

I find it very helpful.

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Thanks for all of the responses. I've been listening to a lot of clips and already have a number of recordings in mind to order. My wallet will be lighter and Joan probably won't be happy to see the mail person delivering more CDs, but I know I'll be happy to have some good listening in store.

I hope that other folks, including those who have made recommendations, have gotten as much out of this thread as I have. And I hope that the responses continue.

Edited by paul secor

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Paul--

Get any/everything you can by the Cafe Zimmermann on Alpha, who are working their way through the orchestral works better than anyone has before. Il Giardino Armonico is like a finger up the ____ while you're getting _____ -- if you like that sorta thing, you'll LOVE it.

Get the Ralph Kirkpatrick keyboard box before it disappears, good price on Amazon now I believe, complement it w/ his WTC.

Manze is very overrated.

Bysma I, Fournier and Queyras are all excellent; also a lesser known French woman, Ophelie Gaillard, on Ambroise. Casals is good to know. Flee from Rostropovich, Ma, Isserlis etc.

Violin: Milstein, Milstein, Gidon Kremer, John Holloway, the period lady on Naxos I'm forgetting... Beward boring Limeys and Benelux musicians w/o sufficient chops.

Organ: Michael Chapuis but you can't find; Ton Koopman is best otherwise; Helmut Walcha in mono is very interesting but so particular you gotta complement.

Cantatas: Koopman is best set, I like Suzuki too though some find him a little too smooth. Parts of Harnoncourt/Leonhardt are great, others less so.

St Matthew: Harnoncourt I, Herreweghe I, Hermann Max, you can pretend to like Mengleberg or Klemperer but I'm not going to, however important.

St John: Hermann Max

Mass in Bm: Harnoncourt, Bruggen, very little known but ASTOUNDING Anders Eby con. on Swedish audiophile label Propprius.

** ANYTHING ** conducted by Rene Jacobs

Art of Fugue: Concerto Italiano, Grigory Sokolov (piano)

all the Gould Bach is essential don't believe otherwise

I'm slowly making my way into the world of classical music, and have done some exploring of J.S. Bach's music. But there's so much there that I could use some help.

I have four recordings of the Cello Suites - Wispelwey, Casals, Starker, and Rostropovich - and plan on picking up at least a couple more in the future - considering Bylsma, Tortelier, and Queyras. So I'm in ok shape there.

I also have Hogwood/Academy of Ancient Music: Brandenburgs; Juilliard String Quartet: Art of the Fugue; Jeno Jando: Well Tempered Clavier; Pinnock/English Concert: Harpsichord Concertos - all of which I enjoy.

And Andrew Manze/Richard Egarr/Jaap ter Linden: Violin Concertos - which so far hasn't done much for me.

Anyway, what I'm looking for is Bach recordings that Organissimo members love - that could be different recordings of the works I already have or recordings of works that I don't have.

The recommendations I'm looking for are recordings that move you and that you love.

Hope that this request for recommendations isn't too personal. I hope that others will find something here that they can learn from too. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Second Hans on harpsichord-- or clavichord!-- tho' I can't countenance Leonhardt anymore, and I've tried many times through all his eras. Other hot stuff to look out for is ** anything ** by Davitt Moroney. Rousset is terrific and if you ever get the Handel bug, all his conducting there is superlative; I don't think he's done Bach. Minkowski has, so far, been oddly underwhelming in Bach...

That reminds me, there was one-voice-to-a-part St Matthew on Linn... Dundein Ensemble? that was best I ever heard in that style.

I like Bach's secular instrumental work, not so much his religious work. I used to prefer piano interpretations of his compositions for keyboard, but not anymore, it's all harpsichord here these days :)

Solo Keyboard Music and Keyboard Concertos

• Rinaldo Alessandrini, Claudio Rufa, Francesca Vicari/Concerto Italiano: The Art of Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge), BWV 1080; Keyboard Concertos, BWV 1044, 1052, 1054 and 1057 – 2CD, Naïve

Solo Keyboard Music

• Kenneth Gilbert: The Art of Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge), BWV 1080 – Archiv

• Kenneth Gilbert: The Well-Tempered Clavier (Das wohltemperierte Clavier) Books 1 and 2, BWV 846-893 – 4CD, Archiv

• Gustav Leonhardt: 6 English Suites, BWV 806-811 – 2CD, Virgin

• Christophe Rousset: 6 English Suites, BWV 806-811 – 2CD, Ambroisie

• Ton Koopman: 6 French Suites, BWV 812-817 – 2CD, Erato

• Christophe Rousset: 6 French Suites, BWV 812-817 – 2CD, Ambroisie

• Christophe Rousset: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 – l’Oiseau Lyre

• Christophe Rousset: Partitas, BWV 825-830 – 2CD, l’Oiseau Lyre

• Trevor Pinnock: Partitas, BWV 825-830 – 2CD, Hänssler

Organ Music

• Ton Koopman: Organ Works, Vol.4: Toccatas and Fugues, BWV 532, 538, 540, 564-566 – Teldec Das Alte Werk

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Paul--

Get any/everything you can by the Cafe Zimmermann on Alpha, who are working their way through the orchestral works better than anyone has before. Il Giardino Armonico is like a finger up the ____ while you're getting _____ -- if you like that sorta thing, you'll LOVE it.

Get the Ralph Kirkpatrick keyboard box before it disappears, good price on Amazon now I believe, complement it w/ his WTC.

Manze is very overrated.

Bysma I, Fournier and Queyras are all excellent; also a lesser known French woman, Ophelie Gaillard, on Ambroise. Casals is good to know. Flee from Rostropovich, Ma, Isserlis etc.

Violin: Milstein, Milstein, Gidon Kremer, John Holloway, the period lady on Naxos I'm forgetting... Beward boring Limeys and Benelux musicians w/o sufficient chops.

Organ: Michael Chapuis but you can't find; Ton Koopman is best otherwise; Helmut Walcha in mono is very interesting but so particular you gotta complement.

Cantatas: Koopman is best set, I like Suzuki too though some find him a little too smooth. Parts of Harnoncourt/Leonhardt are great, others less so.

St Matthew: Harnoncourt I, Herreweghe I, Hermann Max, you can pretend to like Mengleberg or Klemperer but I'm not going to, however important.

St John: Hermann Max

Mass in Bm: Harnoncourt, Bruggen, very little known but ASTOUNDING Anders Eby con. on Swedish audiophile label Propprius.

** ANYTHING ** conducted by Rene Jacobs

Art of Fugue: Concerto Italiano, Grigory Sokolov (piano)

all the Gould Bach is essential don't believe otherwise

Spelling names correctly would help with a search: it's Bylsma - or Bijlsma, that's the original Dutch spelling - and Brüggen and Mengelberg. The Swedish label is called Proprius.

:)

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I strongly second the recommendation of Bylsma (the earlier of his two recordings, reissued on Sony Essential Classics) for the cello suites. Didn't mention it earlier b/c the OP said he was "in OK shape there".

Re. the reviews at earlier cited link: I'd use that source as a data point but not gospel. I recall one of the more frequent reviewers there as somewhat of a nut-job poster on rec.music.classical.recordings. [Disclaimer: I gave up reading Usenet newsgroups several years ago, the proximate cause being the Joyce Hatto furore on r.m.c.r., which has been discussed at length in old threads (which I can't figure out how to recall) on this forum.]

Edited by T.D.

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I hope that other folks, including those who have made recommendations, have gotten as much out of this thread as I have.

Thanks for starting it. Jazz, blues or classical, you're involved in many a good recommedation thread. :)

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I hope that other folks, including those who have made recommendations, have gotten as much out of this thread as I have.

Thanks for starting it. Jazz, blues or classical, you're involved in many a good recommedation thread. :)

Also learned not to shake Moms hand.

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I strongly second the recommendation of Bylsma (the earlier of his two recordings, reissued on Sony Essential Classics) for the cello suites. Didn't mention it earlier b/c the OP said he was "in OK shape there".

Anner Bijlsma's Sony recordings are the later ones, they were made in 1992. His first set was released by RCA/Seon in 1979.

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