Monday, July 7, 2008

Bach and lunatics

It's hard to know exactly why, but it seems that the music of Bach lends itself well to crazy performers. I have always loved Bach but I have definitely found myself bored by many a tasteful performance of his music. But today I stumbled upon two videos on youtube (what a great source of surprises that can be) that were riveting and strange. I'll post them both here. It makes me wonder if the "irrational" is something that a really great performance of Bach needs. Remember that the Classical movement in music (which corresponds basically to the neo-Classic movement in the visual arts) was in part a reaction to the complexity and opacity of the Baroque music that preceded it. Both of these videos had me glued to the screen - I don't think I'd play either piece like this, but then again maybe I should.

First Pogorelich playing the Sarabande from the Gm English Suite:

... and Glenn Gould playing the B-flat minor Fugue of the Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2:


ckoh71 said...

bach has always struck me as one of the most purely mathematical composers - but that doesn't necessarily mean i find him boring. i can see what you mean about "rational" interpretations of his work sounding dull. my favorite bach recordings were of henryk szeryng playing the sonatas/partitas for solo violin. in a way, they are completely "rational" in how balanced and harmonious everything sounds - yet the astoundingly fluid tone is somehow insanely "irrational." i used to listen to those records while i was playing some of those partitas and wonder how the hell he could make those difficult strong crossings etc sound so smooth.

Daniel Jepson said...

Just so you know, those youtube videos have been taken down