Thursday, April 16, 2015

Apologies for the Hiatus

Sorry for missing yesterday and today. The internet at my house has been down, so no hope of posting anything. The upside is that I have been able to do more reading than usual instead of frittering away my time on the Web! I am well into Beardsley's book on Aesthetics and a lot of interesting ideas for posts are occurring to me. So look for some good stuff soon. Now I have to go pester my ISP about restoring service.

Let me just leave you with what I have been listening to lately. Here is the opening Kyrie to Bach's Mass in B minor:


Marc Puckett said...

Glad you are back online, indeed. I spent time in Oaxaca etc in the 90s-- I suppose that these days one may find 'internet cafes' but then one was lucky to get telephone service without an hour's wait at a state office downtown; in Tehuantepec, San Martin Toxpalan etc-- no way for that, even.

Anonymous said...

I love Karl Richter as an organist. As a Bach conductor, he's in my view one the worst. He completely ruins the magic of Bach's rhythm. Karajan is just as bad. (His St Matthew is abominable.) Funny how the Germans are among the worst Bach conductors I know.

OK, Rilling and a few others are fine, but in my view not on a par with non-Germans like Herreweghe, Gardiner, Suzuki, Koopman, Leonhardt, etc.

I wonder why that is the case.

Bryan Townsend said...

Where I live is actually pretty high-tech these days. But the system was a bit wonky and then went down completely--not just for me, but for lots of people. I tried rebooting my modem, but Wednesday it didn't help. Today, I tried again and everything magically came back.

I rather like the majesty of the Karl Richter B minor Mass. I've just been listening to Gardiner's St. John Passion and, while it is fine, I wouldn't rate it significantly better. I was also listening to Paul McCreesh's recent Matthew Passion and again, quite nice, but I wouldn't put it a lot higher than Richter. Of the younger, historically-informed performance people, my favorite is Harnoncourt, but I have him doing Beethoven and Schubert. I would like to hear his B minor Mass. Could you be specific about what you dislike about the German conductors? Is it that they have done too much Bruckner and tend to make Bach sound Brucknerian?

Anonymous said...

They don't get the rhythm. Bach is the most rhythmic of all great composers. Even Ruht Vohl is a dance, for crying out loud. Germans don't get that, for some reason. It's weird. Bach is not Beethoven or Brahms: it breathes rhythm. German conductors seem glued to a wheelchair.

Bryan Townsend said...

I'm not sure I agree entirely. For one thing, Beethoven is as rhythmically compelling as Bach. Yes, I see what you mean about Ruht Vohl, it is indeed a dance, if rather a dignified one. But it may well be the case that German conductors have a special relationship with Bach that makes them avoid any suggestion of frivolity. Bach, for them, is close to being the core of their musical identity, after all. I can recall reading a piece by composer Jan Swafford once where he mentioned that he was horrified by a new recording of the Matthew Passion (it might have been Gardiner) where the opening chorus was turned from a profound meditation on sin into a rather too gleeful dance.