• Sat. Oct 24th, 2020

Is bach better on harp?

Aug 31, 2020

I guess I make them disclose to do to my confused individual artists, just as to Glenn Gould lovers. Why? I chose to translate Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations — for harp.

I’m the first to concede that my undertaking — a chronicle comes out Sept. 18 on the record name of King’s College, Cambridge — can sound outré or valuable. However, I stop by it really: My melodic way has been a touch strange. The offspring of a harpist and a trombonist, I was self-taught in provincial Tennessee to take into consideration a week by week turn of exercises on harpsichord, organ and piano, mixed with youth ensemble and ensemble practice (and my mom hollering at me from the kitchen about my harp strategy).

At 16, I went to a little British all inclusive school before considering history at King’s College while filling in as organ researcher there. I at that point came back to the United States to go through two years learning authentic execution at Oberlin and afterward two with the advanced harp at Juilliard.

That is a variety of repertories, however the “Goldberg” Variations were one strand of progression. That congruity likewise brought some industrious disappointment. At the point when it came to Bach, I was miserable about the piano’s ponderousness with hand intersections, the harpsichord’s absence of dynamic imperativeness and the tootiness of organ pipes.

I continued battling with what my ideal “Goldbergs” may seem like. I needed the crude spunk of the harpsichord, yet with the expressive characteristics of the piano. Around five years prior, I came to understand that the best approach to hear this work — and the greater part of Bach, besides — as I needed is utilize my first instrument, the cutting edge pedal harp.

Believing that a piece known solely on console could be changed to harp isn’t so whimsical: Bach himself seems to have regularly been skeptic on issues of instrumentation. In the same way as other authors of his time, he was continually getting and revamping his own sytheses.

The Double Violin Concerto, formed around 1719, turns up nearly 20 years after the fact as a concerto for two harpsichords. The Preludio from the Third Violin Partita, written in 1720, returns in 1731 as a Sinfonia to Cantata 29, rescored for organ obbligato and symphony. Furthermore, the Siciliano from the second sonata for viola da gamba is otherwise called “Erbarme dich,” from the “St. Matthew Passion.”

In the eighteenth century, record and plan were a methods for conservation and spread. Bach himself delivered solo organ and harpsichord records of violin and oboe concertos by Vivaldi, Alessandro Marcello and Telemann. His cantata “Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden” is a re-coordination in brimming with Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater,” utilizing a Lutheran interpretation of Psalm 51 instead of the first Latin content.

Quick forward to the furthest limit of the century, and we discover records of fugues from Bach’s “Very much Tempered Clavier” in Mozart’s and Beethoven’s hands, rescored for string troupes.

Altogether vagueness exists in a portion of Bach’s most popular works. “The Art of Fugue” and the ricercars from “The Musical Offering” have no sign regarding what powers should perform them. There is banter about whether

“The Well-Tempered Clavier” was expected for harpsichord or clavichord. Furthermore, in the inquisitive instance of the Fantasia in G, Bach incorporated a solitary pedal note outside the playable scope of any instrument he approached, yet one that would have been ordinary on bigger organs in France.

The musicologist Donald Tovey composed that “Bach composed on the standard, not that music was composed for instruments, however that instruments are made for music.” Since World War I, numerous artists have demonstrated us different sides of his work by exchanging up what the pieces are played on.

Wanda Landowska was one of the first mavericks, leaving a mark on the world with the primary harpsichord recording of the “Goldbergs,” after they had been performed exclusively on the piano for longer than a century.

Stokowski’s and Webern’s barometrical re-organizations of Bach fugues; Wendy Carlos’ incredible “Brandenburg” Concertos on the Moog synthesizer; Chris Thile’s quick as-lighting mandolin medicines of the Violin Partitas: With a considerable lot of Bach’s works, there’s presently an overall acknowledgment that record isn’t not out of the question game, yet even a desire.

But then things have been diverse with regards to the “Goldberg” Variations, for which the limits of execution remain to a great extent characterized by the accounts made by the harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt and by Gould, who recorded them twice on piano. Maybe due to the work’s immaculateness — or grimness, depending what you look like at it — records of the “Goldbergs” are typically observed as curiosity ventures, some way or another stepping on the keyboardist’s turf. While symphonic records of organ fugues and ricercars have become standard, and Busoni’s piano version of the incomparable D Minor Chaconne, initially for solo violin, is viewed as standard rep, no record or transformation of the “Goldbergs” has yet stuck.

Harpist Parker Ramsay in New York, Aug 12, 2020. Ramsay has masterminded the “Goldberg” Variations, a console exemplary, for the cutting edge pedal harp. Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Harpist Parker Ramsay in New York, Aug 12, 2020. Ramsay has masterminded the “Goldberg” Variations, a console exemplary, for the cutting edge pedal harp. Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

There are the individuals who like to hear the work as they envision Bach may have done — on the harpsichord — while others would prefer to take the varieties in on the advanced piano, our way of life’s go-to instrument (like the harpsichord apparently was in Bach’s). The outcomes are altogether different: The harpsichord considers exceptionally unmistakable enunciation and empowers musical adaptability, while the piano’s regular smoothness proposes a more direct methodology.

I’m the first to concede that my undertaking — a chronicle comes out Sept. 18 on the record name of King’s College, Cambridge — can sound outré or valuable. However, I stop by it really: My melodic way has been a touch strange. The offspring of a harpist and a trombonist, I was self-taught in provincial Tennessee to take into consideration a week by week turn of exercises on harpsichord, organ and piano, mixed with youth ensemble and ensemble practice (and my mom hollering at me from the kitchen about my harp strategy).

At 16, I went to a little British all inclusive school before considering history at King’s College while filling in as organ researcher there. I at that point came back to the United States to go through two years learning authentic execution at Oberlin and afterward two with the advanced harp at Juilliard.

That is a variety of repertories, however the “Goldberg” Variations were one strand of progression. That congruity likewise brought some industrious disappointment. At the point when it came to Bach, I was miserable about the piano’s ponderousness with hand intersections, the harpsichord’s absence of dynamic imperativeness and the tootiness of organ pipes.

I continued battling with what my ideal “Goldbergs” may seem like. I needed the crude spunk of the harpsichord, yet with the expressive characteristics of the piano. Around five years prior, I came to understand that the best approach to hear this work — and the greater part of Bach, besides — as I needed is utilize my first instrument, the cutting edge pedal harp.

Believing that a piece known solely on console could be changed to harp isn’t so whimsical: Bach himself seems to have regularly been skeptic on issues of instrumentation. In the same way as other authors of his time, he was continually getting and revamping his own sytheses.

The Double Violin Concerto, formed around 1719, turns up nearly 20 years after the fact as a concerto for two harpsichords. The Preludio from the Third Violin Partita, written in 1720, returns in 1731 as a Sinfonia to Cantata 29, rescored for organ obbligato and symphony. Furthermore, the Siciliano from the second sonata for viola da gamba is otherwise called “Erbarme dich,” from the “St. Matthew Passion.”

In the eighteenth century, record and plan were a methods for conservation and spread. Bach himself delivered solo organ and harpsichord records of violin and oboe concertos by Vivaldi, Alessandro Marcello and Telemann. His cantata “Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden” is a re-coordination in brimming with Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater,” utilizing a Lutheran interpretation of Psalm 51 instead of the first Latin content.

Quick forward to the furthest limit of the century, and we discover records of fugues from Bach’s “Very much Tempered Clavier” in Mozart’s and Beethoven’s hands, rescored for string troupes.

Altogether vagueness exists in a portion of Bach’s most popular works. “The Art of Fugue” and the ricercars from “The Musical Offering” have no sign regarding what powers should perform them. There is banter about whether

“The Well-Tempered Clavier” was expected for harpsichord or clavichord. Furthermore, in the inquisitive instance of the Fantasia in G, Bach incorporated a solitary pedal note outside the playable scope of any instrument he approached, yet one that would have been ordinary on bigger organs in France.

The musicologist Donald Tovey composed that “Bach composed on the standard, not that music was composed for instruments, however that instruments are made for music.” Since World War I, numerous artists have demonstrated us different sides of his work by exchanging up what the pieces are played on.

Wanda Landowska was one of the first mavericks, leaving a mark on the world with the primary harpsichord recording of the “Goldbergs,” after they had been performed exclusively on the piano for longer than a century.

Stokowski’s and Webern’s barometrical re-organizations of Bach fugues; Wendy Carlos’ incredible “Brandenburg” Concertos on the Moog synthesizer; Chris Thile’s quick as-lighting mandolin medicines of the Violin Partitas: With a considerable lot of Bach’s works, there’s presently an overall acknowledgment that record isn’t not out of the question game, yet even a desire.

But then things have been diverse with regards to the “Goldberg” Variations, for which the limits of execution remain to a great extent characterized by the accounts made by the harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt and by Gould, who recorded them twice on piano. Maybe due to the work’s immaculateness — or grimness, depending what you look like at it — records of the “Goldbergs” are typically observed as curiosity ventures, some way or another stepping on the keyboardist’s turf. While symphonic records of organ fugues and ricercars have become standard, and Busoni’s piano version of the incomparable D Minor Chaconne, initially for solo violin, is viewed as standard rep, no record or transformation of the “Goldbergs” has yet stuck.

Harpist Parker Ramsay in New York, Aug 12, 2020. Ramsay has masterminded the “Goldberg” Variations, a console exemplary, for the cutting edge pedal harp. Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Harpist Parker Ramsay in New York, Aug 12, 2020. Ramsay has masterminded the “Goldberg” Variations, a console exemplary, for the cutting edge pedal harp. Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

There are the individuals who like to hear the work as they envision Bach may have done — on the harpsichord — while others would prefer to take the varieties in on the advanced piano, our way of life’s go-to instrument (like the harpsichord apparently was in Bach’s). The outcomes are altogether different: The harpsichord considers exceptionally unmistakable enunciation and empowers musical adaptability, while the piano’s regular smoothness proposes a more direct methodology.