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Uri Golomb

Research

Uri Golomb wrote (February 10, 2005):
>>No doubt there are plenty more problems to be resolved, perhaps by members of this list. Uri? <<
< Uri Golomb has indeed been working on papers (and a conference presentation) in an area of Bach performance practice that I personally consider essential. So, I too am eager to see a publication of his work! His preliminary bits that I've seen so far are exciting and promising. >

Thanks for the compliments, Brad. I've been away, which is one reason why I haven't been active on this list recently (though I have been reading it).

An article of mine (on the performance of the First Kyrie from the B minor Mass) has, in fact, been provisionally accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal; its publication is subject to my making a few revisions. Once published (hopefully within the next 3 months or so), the article will be available online, and I'll send a link to this list.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 10, 2005):
Uri Golomb wrote:
< An article of mine (on the performance of the First Kyrie from the B minor Mass) has, in fact, been provisionally accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal; its publication is subject to my making a few revisions. Once published (hopefully within the next 3 months or so), the article will be available online, and I'll send a link to this list. >
Can you share a short abstract of the article?

Uri Golomb wrote (February 10, 2005):
Doug asked:
< Can you share a short abstract of the article? >
The article's title is going to be: "Rhetoric and gesture in performances of the First Kyrie from Bach's Mass in B minor (BWV 232)". It is based on a lecture I gave in several conferences (in Norwich, Paris and Tel-Aviv). The lecture's abstract was as follows:

**********************************
One of the persistent threads in Bach reception has been the quest for symbolic or lexical interpretations of his music. Such theories, which tend to focus on the expressive impact of local figures and motifs, have been subjected to much criticism. Even their adherents are divided with regards to their implications for performance: while some argue that significant figures must be shaped as distinct, strongly-characterised gestures; others believe that they should be allowed to "speak for themselves".

In this paper, I examine the practical ramifications of this debate, using examples drawn mainly from performances of Bach's Mass in B minor. My primary focus is on the claim that exaggerated emphasis on local gestures could disrupt attempts to articulate the music's architecture.

In terms of localised gestures, one can point to two extremes:
1. Macro-structuring: shaping overall patterns of tension and release, at the expense of local figures (most clearly illustrated in the recordings of symphonic conductors such as Herbert von Karajan and Eugen Jochum);
2. Micro-structuring: minute attention to individual figures, with little attempt at articulating the movement's overall shape (illustrated in recordings like Ton Koopman's, Andrew Parrott's and Peter Schreier's).

My primary focus, however, is on attempts to shape "local" and "global" features simultaneously. These two goals are often regarded as being at cross-purposes, but this is not necessarily the case.

At one extreme, Nikolaus Harnoncourt deliberately exploits the disruptive potential of intensified gestures. In many instances - and not least in the First Kyrie -he clearly projects local gestures as a retrogressive element, questioning and impeding the sense of flow and momentum. However, as other conductors (e.g., Richard Hickox, Claudio Abbado) demonstrate, distinctly-shaped gestures can also have constructive potential, enhancing and facilitating the shaping of large-scale patterns of tension and relaxation.
**********************************

The process of transforming the lecture into an article has led to some changes of emphasis, but the ideas contained in the above abstract remain central to the article as well. As I said, once published, the article will be available online, and I will forward a link to the list.

 

My article on Bach's First Kyrie

Uri Golomb wrote (August 4, 2005):
[To John Pike] Many thanks for these positive comments -- glad you enjoyed it!

About Tureck's WTC: I only know her first recording (1953). I think she does bring out the subjects too emphatically in many of the fugues in that recording, sometimes at the expense of other materials. That said, she is certainly not as rigid as her own advice might imply; and notwithstanding the reservation I just expressed, I greatly enjoy and admire that recording. Even more than that, I enjoy the two sets that appeared on Philips Great
Pianists series, featuring (among other things) her Partitas and one of her many recordings of the Goldbergs.

From several comments I read, on this list and elsewhere, I suspect that I would enjoy her 1970s version of the WTC even more than the 1953 one – I must get hold of it some day!

 

Seven articles available online

Uri Golomb wrote (December 6, 2010):
For several years, I have written articles and reviews for Goldberg Early Music Magazine, which unfortunately was closed two years ago.

I have now sent several Bach articles, originally published there, to Aryeh Oron, who kindly placed them on the Bach Cantatas website; see links at the end of: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/index.htm

This includes two interviews (with Ton Koopman and Joshua Rifkin) and five articles: on the Art of Fugue, the St Matthew Passion, the Oratorios, the four "Lutheran" Masses, and rhetorical performance of baroque music - focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on Bach's music.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 6, 2010):
Uri Golomb wrote:
< This includes two interviews (with Ton Koopman and Joshua Rifkin) >
The Rifkin interview is especially relevant to current discussion re the OVPP Contorversy, as well as my recommendation of Kuijken’s OVPP recording of BWV 11.

Also of interest:
<Bach occupies a central position in Rifkin’s discography. [...] his B-minor Mass (BWV 232) is available from Warner’s Ultima label. Both Warner and Decca have regrettably omitted Rifkins original liner notes from their reissues.> (end quote)

I inquired about the availability of the BMM (BWV 232) liner notes, a while back. Regrettable indeed, that they are not included in the CD reissues, I will cherish my LP edition all the more.

re Rifkin and the Beatles, this review comment:

<Baroque Beatles Book (Audio CD) [amazon.com]
By William Sommerwerck "grizzled geezer" (Renton, WA USA) -
[...]
Nonesuch had initially wanted Peter Schickele -- who'd already made his mark discovering the long-forgotten works of P D Q Bach -- but he was busy with other projects. Schickele might have done a "better" job, in the sense of creating a greater sense of parody, in both directions. (He certainly would have gone for more-obvious humor.) We will never know.> (end quote)

If it is accurate that Rifkin was a second choice, after Schikele, the 1966 performance of Rifkin’s Merseyside Kammerorchester is all the more impressive for its professionalism and timely delivery. Shades of Bach and Telemann at Leipzig.

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 6, 2010):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< If it is accurate that Rifkin was a second choice, after Schikele, the 1966 performance of Rifkins Merseyside Kammerorchester is all the more impressive for its professionalism and timely delivery. Shades of Bach and Telemann at Leipzig.

Evidently cheeky wags freuently ask Rifkin if he's going to record an OVPP performance of the Baroque Beatles Book.

 

Uri Golomb: Short Biography | Discussions
Articles:
The St. John Passion on stage | András Schiff/Philharmonia Orchestra: Johann Sebastian Bach, 2000 | Text, music and performative interpretation in Bach’s cantata Ich habe genug | Two Easter St. Matthew Passions (Plus One) | Interview with Ton Koopman | Sellars Staging | J.S. Bach’s The Art of Fugue | Liturgical drama in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion | Bach’s Oratorios | Rhetoric in the Performance of Baroque Music | Interview with Joshua Rifkin | Bach’s Four Missae | Hierarchies and continuities in televised productions of Bach’s Passions

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Last update: ýJanuary 24, 2011 ý11:10:22