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Old 02-09-2012, 09:58 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tore View Post
Some scholars think Toccata and Fugue in D Minor has been falsely attributed to Bach and that it was actually written by someone else.

Summary for the layman : A haunting tune, but is it really Bach's?
What an interesting article! Although it should be taken with a pinch of salt, they are correct in observing that it is a piece that could easily have been written for violin.
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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No need to explain who this man is. I recently downloaded Glenn Gould's cover of Bach's Goldberg Variations, and I simply love them. I have been rather negligent in my approach towards Boroque-period classical music so I decided to check it out.

Does anyone have any idea what I should listen to next? (*cough* *cough* Burning Down).
Okayyyyy, I'll offer some recommendations. Bach is certainly a great way to start listening to Baroque music. Handel as well. If you like it and you're ready to move away from Bach, I can suggest other, lesser-known Baroque composers.

There are so many pieces I could suggest to you, but I'll try to keep this short and sweet for right now, so you're not absolutely bombarded with stuff to listen to. There has been some great suggestions made in here already, like his Cello Suites. Definitely check those out.

I suggest:

  • All the Partitas (BWV 825-830 - those are catalogue numbers. All these pieces have been catalogued for easy reference)
  • The Well-Tempered Clavier (you may also see the German title Das Wohltemperierte Klavier), BWV 846-893, both Volume I and II
  • The 6 Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046–1051
  • The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
  • Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582
  • The 15 Inventions and 15 Sinfonias, BWV 772-801
  • The English and French Dance Suites, English: BWV 806-811, French: BWV 812-817
That's all I can think of for now. All of these should be available on YouTube so you can check them out before purchasing anything. Let me know what you think!


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Originally Posted by tore View Post
Some scholars think Toccata and Fugue in D Minor has been falsely attributed to Bach and that it was actually written by someone else.

Summary for the layman : A haunting tune, but is it really Bach's?
What I want to know is this: Where are these people getting their information from? The article by Peter Williams from a 1981 publication of the journal Early Music is the only source that I can find in my school's extensive music history archive, both in online form and printed form. In fact, I'm in the library now and just for kicks I pulled out the printed copy of Williams' article. He doesn't make too many citations himself which makes the article sketchy to me. Williams' article is also available online if anyone wants to check it out, but you might have to pay to view it - I'm not authorized to hand out my password so you can see it for free.

The article's author also did a terrible job of clearly citing any hypotheses being presented, especially in the last section:

Quote:
Scholars now think the Toccata was originally a violin piece Bach transcribed.
Where is this idea documented? I know the article isn't a scholarly piece of writing from an academic journal, but the author could have provided a simple citation of where he found that information.

Many of Bach's original manuscripts have been unfortunately lost, that is true. Especially in regards to the cantatas he wrote as Cantor for the St. Thomas and St. Nicholas churches in Leipzig, Germany. Every Sunday, he had to have a different cantata prepared for that day's service. Approximately 200 of them have survived, and those are the only ones we know of today.

The author also fails to mention what a toccata actually is, which makes me assume he doesn't actually know or understand what a toccata is. A toccata is a work composed for keyboard (sometimes also plucked string instruments like the guitar or the harp), which features virtuosity and fast moving sections that highlight the dexterity and talent of the performer. Toccatas also have a "looser" structure than was common at the time. They can be very intense pieces, and not all that complicated in terms of contrapuntal motion. Bach was a master of counterpoint, and his Toccata and Fugue in D minor certainly has counterpoint in it, but it's not as complicated or tightly structured as with his other pieces (most notably The Well-Tempered Clavier), because it doesn't have to be. The article does not state that Bach was also highly influenced by his predecessors in toccata composition, most notably by the toccatas for organ by Dietrich Buxtehude. Bach followed a Buxtehudian model for improvisatory composition, which includes toccatas.

The author mentions that there are certain compositional features in the piece that are not "typical" of Bach's work, but he fails to mention that Bach often went against his own rules for composition - most of the time those deviations were small, and so have gone largely unnoticed.

He also fails to mention that many of Bach's original manuscripts were further transcribed by his children for widespread publication after he died.

Just so you know, Tore, I'm not ragging on you for sharing this article. Rather, I'm just simply bothered by the article. I think the claims made in this article, and by Peter Williams in his 1981 article, are completely ridiculous.

Edit: Many original manuscripts by Renaissance and early Baroque composers (before Bach's time) no longer survived. Of course, mass printing was still fairly new at the time, and printing music for mass publication was extremely expensive and time consuming. Based on this fact, I think I'm going to go write a poorly cited, non-academic article stating that Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli or Monteverdi's opera L'Orfeo may have been composed by somebody else
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Burning Down, I'm just aware of the controversy, but not swayed to either side of it and not passionate enough about it to really do the research myself. If you want better arguments or references, you may be able to find some of that on the compositions wikipedia page

Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:54 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Burning Down, I'm just aware of the controversy, but not swayed to either side of it and not passionate enough about it to really do the research myself. If you want better arguments or references, you may be able to find some of that on the compositions wikipedia page

Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thank you Tore. I apologize if my post comes off as really crass, but I think reading that article got my blood boiling a little bit. I based everything I said off of my own personal research for music history essays, and also on what I've been taught in school. Before I started university, my brain was pretty much a blank slate in terms of music history, and the little bit of history I was taught in high school reflected composers in a positive light. For example, I never knew about Wagner's EXTREME antisemitism and Hitler proclaiming his music be the official patriotic and stately music of the Third Reich, until I came across that information myself, in my first year of university. As somebody who comes from a mainly Jewish family, you can be certain that it upset me and the fact that Wagner was so highly praised by my teachers in high school sickened me. In university, my professors have been a little more open to controversy and negativity towards popular composers, but they still made it difficult for students to portray greats like Bach in a negative light. So I never knew about any controversy behind his Toccata and Fugue in D minor until you linked me to that article. For that, I thank you. It's really opened my mind and when I have more time, possibly in the summer when school is out, I will look into this more.
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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For example, I never knew about Wagner's EXTREME antisemitism and Hitler proclaiming his music be the official patriotic and stately music of the Third Reich, until I came across that information myself, in my first year of university. As somebody who comes from a mainly Jewish family, you can be certain that it upset me and the fact that Wagner was so highly praised by my teachers in high school sickened me.
Why? I doubt anyone is saying he's a great man, just that he made a great contribution to music and became the cornerstone of modern classical music. Much in the same way Schenker's ideas probably would have been overlooked if Salzer hadn't stripped his theories of far-right political motives.
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:39 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I see this as another chance to plug Buckethead :P
Here he covers La Gavotte and then does his own interpretation, which he calls Bachethead.



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Old 02-10-2012, 08:12 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Why? I doubt anyone is saying he's a great man, just that he made a great contribution to music and became the cornerstone of modern classical music. Much in the same way Schenker's ideas probably would have been overlooked if Salzer hadn't stripped his theories of far-right political motives.
Agreed - while some of the things that great people in history did or believed are terrible, to disregard their achievements in other areas is... to deny the silver lining, I guess. Wagner may have been ridiculously racist, but that doesn't change nor affect his music. Had his music been about slaughtering jews, then it would be rather different.

Regarding Bach - I would certainly recommend any of his Cantatas, depending on how much you like choral music. I love listening to them, but as a choral singer I would understand if I could be said to have more of an attachment to them than normal :P

As Burning Down said, The Brandenburg Concertos and The Art of Fugue are also well worth listening to, The Art of Fugue particularly as it is one of those pieces that is crying out to be played with, and many pianists do, so you get everything from the classical, metronome interpretation that is often associated with Bach, to the weirdly weighted and rather different interpretations of Jazz Pianists like Joanna McGregor (I tried to find a clip on youtube of her contrapunctus interpretation, to no avail).
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:24 AM   #18 (permalink)
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i quite like St. Matthew Passion BWV 244

bits of it can be heard at the ending of Casino (movie)
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:35 AM   #19 (permalink)
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concertos for instrumental and cantatas for choral
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Old 02-11-2012, 06:46 PM   #20 (permalink)
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One of my very favorite composers, and my favorite if we're going back to his era and the two that surround it (I know they're something like Baroque, Classical, and Romantic, but i don't know the order). Especially his organ pieces. I've heard there's a ton of symbolism in his composition as well, "numerically and religiously."

BTW, many artists are disgusting pigs. TS Eliot was apparently strongly antisemitic, and Picasso was a misogynist. Just to name a couple.
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