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Johann Pachelbel & Bach

Pachelbel Magnificat Fugues

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 8, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote:
< (currently listening to Newman's literalist performance of Pachelbel 95 Fugues on the Magnificat) >
That would be Mary Jane Newman, not Anthony Newman, right? I presume you weren't misleading us intentionally by that omission, but there's certainly a possibility of confusion there. Whichever Newman it is, I haven't heard that recording.

As for those little Pachelbel fugues, they're pleasant enough to sight-read or to slip into services to fill an odd minute or two: useful, but not very memorable...IMO, of course. I wouldn't wish on anybody the listening experience of all 95 of them in a row, except maybe on shuffle play so there aren't 23 in succession in the same key.

But here's one of them that I like, one of the longer ones, on the 2nd Tone (g). This is played on an organ that was hand-pumped (instead of an electric blower to the wind-chests), a performance that has almost enough of the nuance that I like to hear. Every little bit of irregularity and inconsistency helps when the pieces are so regular and predictable, formulaic....
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/files/pachelbel/Pachelbel_fuge_g-moll.mp3

Does Newman play more strictly in time than this? With a more regularized fugue subject? What?

Charles Francis wrote (January 8, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< That would be Mary Jane Newman, not Anthony Newman, right? I presume you weren't misleading us intentionally by that omission, but there's certainly a possibility of confusion there. Whichever Newman it is, I haven't heard that recording. >
Yes, I was referring to Mary Jane Newman's 3 CD set "Hymns to the Virgin" which contains all 95 fugues.

< As for those little Pachelbel fugues, they're pleasant enough to sight-read or to slip into services to fill an odd minute or two: useful, but not very memorable...IMO, of course. >
Indeed that appears to be the case, since you misattribute the sample you recently uploaded. Apparently, the Chinese have difficulty distinguishing one European from another - guess its all a matter of which regions of the brain are exercised and trained.

< I wouldn't wish on anybody the listening experience of all 95 of them in a row, except maybe on shuffle play so there aren't 23 in succession in the same key. >
I typically confine my listening to one CDs at a time.

< But here's one of them that I like, one of the longer ones, on the 2nd Tone (g). This is played on an organ that was hand-pumped (instead of an electric blower to the wind-chests), a performance that has almost enough of the nuance that I like to hear. Every little bit of irregularity and inconsistency helps when the pieces are so regular and predictable, formulaic....
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/files/pachelbel/Pachelbel_fuge_g-moll.mp3 >
Yes, it is Pachelbel and yes, it is in g minor; but I'm afraid it is not one of the 95 Fugues on the Magnificat. I do like the organ and performance, though. The performer does tend to trip over her fingers from time to time, but appropriate exercises would no doubt remedy this defect.

< Does Newman play more strictly in time than this? With a more regularized fugue subject? What? >
As I mentioned the sample you submitted is not one of the 95 Fugues on the Magnificat.

Today, I've been listening to the Pachelbel motet "Singet dem Herrn" performed by Cantus Cölln. Can't see that it obviously influenced Bach, although he may well have performed it at some point!

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 8, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote:
< Yes, it is Pachelbel and yes, it is in g minor; but I'm afraid it is not one of the 95 Fugues on the Magnificat. >
You're right, it was misattributed. Good catch. I should have looked that up in the scores to be sure, before saying so; sorry about that.

I have corrected the description at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/files/pachelbel/

< I do like the organ and performance, though. The performer does tend to trip over her fingers from time to time, but appropriate exercises would no doubt remedy this defect. >
Sure, it *could* be a momentary lapse by the performer; as can be heard plainly from the noises of the congregation, this was a "live" occasion with no retakes: take it or leave it. But how can we be sure that "defect" is from any lack of preparation on the performer's part?

Consider also: perhaps it was the keyboard action and/or pipes not completely responding (the keys not being pressed quite all the way down, or speaking at uniform depth), with the regularity we would expect from an organ considerably younger than 200 years old. The mechanical action and the inconsistencies from hand-pumped wind are, for better or worse, part of the music. Those unpredictable clicks and chirps and wheezes contribute to a much more interesting character (IMO) than the overwhelming regularity of sound from modern instruments.

Another guess, from what I hear there in the recording, is: the player is probably using a 17th century manner of fingering (hardly any use of thumbs) contemporary with the composition to give the phrasing a "speaking" quality, like syllables; and, again, the irregularity of the results gives it more character than a uniformly legato approach would do. Sounds refreshing, to me.

Clean regularity (avoidance of "tripping over the fingers" as you put it) may not have been the performer's intention, matching your (or anyone else's) intention or expectation.

For myself as a listener, I'd certainly much rather listen through those little bits of unpredictability, and the notes not all speaking with equal weight and clarity, than hear a uniform and directionless surface (even one that is more "beautiful"). The notes are still all there, grouped in ways that sound like they make sense; and that variety (even if some of it may be by happenstance!) gives the *composition* clarity, a bigger goal than giving all the notes equal attention. Nicht wahr?

 

Chorale Preludes - Bach & Pachelbel

Charles Francis wrote (November 16, 2012):
I'm pleased to report that the upload length restriction on my Youtube account has been recently eliminated and accordingly I am now able to make available more substantial material to connoisseurs of retuned virtual organs.

BWV 652 Komm, Heiliger Geist is the longest of the "Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjVl2wbxoLA

The 24 Pachelbel pieces represent roughly a third of his surviving chorale preludes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz7DK1ZZ6OI

1. Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort
2. Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl
3. Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl
4. Es woll' uns Gott genädig sein
5. Es woll' uns Gott genädig sein
6. Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
7. Gott der Vater wohn' uns bei
8. Gott hat das Evangelium
9. Gott Vater, der du deine Sonn'
10. Herr Christ, der ein' ge Gottessohn
11. Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir
12. Ich hab' mein' Sach' Gott heimgestellt
13. Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ
14. Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ
15. In dich hab' ich gehoffet, Herr
16. Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der den Tod
17. Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der den Tod
18. Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der von uns
19. Komm Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist
20. Komm heiliger Geist, Herre Gott
21. Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn
22. Lob sei Gott in des Himmels Thron
23. Mag ich Unglück night widerstahn
24. Meine Seele erhebt den Herren

 

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Last update: ęDecember 30, 2012 ę08:46:23