Dimension: 23.8 x 16 x 1.5 cm
here to list the contents
||Zur Interpretation der Orgelmusik Joh. Seb. Bachs,
von Evald Kooiman, Gerhard Weinberger und Hermann J. Busch.
||Kassel: Verlag Merseburger Berlin GmbH, 1995. 239p. Paper
back. Price DM 54.
Postfach 10 38 80, D-34038 Kassel, Germany
||holistic approach to the performance study of Bach’s
organ music; not a practical guide of individual works, but a essential
reading material + reference tool.
||BWV 525-38, 540-50, 552-, 562, 564-6, 569, 572, 577-8,
582, 588-90, 592-4, 596, 600, 602-3, 606-8, 610-2, 614-5, 617-9, 622, 628,
631, 633-5, 639, 641-3, 645-8, 650-6, 658-64, 667-71, 678-80, 682, 684,
686-8, 695, 718, 720, 731, 733, 735-6, 766-70, 870a.
||serious students specialised in organ performance
|comprehensive discussion on the
historical performance practice, mainly of organ, of the 18th century.
The criteria with which we evaluate,
interpret and perform music change all the time. Radically different ideas
can emerge quite suddenly, as we saw one such case in early 1980s with
Bach’s vocal works (thanks to Joshua Rifkin for his unique contribution
to Bach’s performing force—see my
review of Parrott’s Essential Bach Choir). As we continue to
research into the performance practice of Bach’s music, it is often expected
that every performance must make some specific musicological points; it
may be the realization of the ‘lost tradition’, ‘sound image’ or the establishment
of ‘authenticity’ in performance, to list but a few popular themes.
As far as Bach’s organ works are concerned, however, one may feel that
there were no such dramatic changes to the style of performance of equal
verve when compared to those on their vocal counterparts. (The single most
noticeable development when compared with the performances of the 1960s
and 70s may be the tempi). The instruments (i.e. organs) remain the same,
of course, which must be the single most critical factor. More importantly,
however, there have been few radical proposals that affected significantly
the ways Bach’s organ music should be executed. This was mainly due to
the lack of primary source evidence with which to demonstrate how Bach’s organ music
should be interpreted: while one may make use of evidence found in his clavier
pieces for the discussion of such issues as Bach’s fingering and ornaments,
it is essential that one should also extend the search into many other sources
for potential evidence.
It does not mean that little has been discussed or gained by the recent
scholarship. This is abundantly clear by just looking at the volume of
research in recent decades. This book includes a fairly comprehensive bibliography
(‘Literaturverzeichnis’, pp. 226–236) where a short list of c.200 literatures
are listed: they consist of primary (i.e. 18th century) and secondary (i.e.
more recent + contemporary) sources.
|To describe this book briefly, it is a collection of essays by three
authors written for the eager students learning how to play Bach’s organ
music with ‘some ideas’; it is not a practical guide for performance but
an essential reading material in their academic study, i.e. learning how to acquire knowledge
about the works and the performance practice of the day. Numerous citations
and facsimile reproductions were taken from the 18th-century treatises
(such as those by Mattheson, Quantz, C.P.E. Bach and Kirnberger), all of which
are essential for any serious studies of music of the Baroque.
Numerous facsimile reproductions
Ewald Kooiman takes charge of central issues addressing the manner
of performance in the 18th century: articulation, tempo, motion, time,
the interpretation of various time-signatures, as well as more technical
issues such as fingering and pedal. Gerhard Weinberger examines the issues
of ornamentation, the use of manual keyboards in Bach’s works, and the
way Bach’s large, free works were interpreted in the past, and identifies
various problems therein such as instruments, variety, modes of performance,
registration and the use of manuals. Finally, Hermann J. Busch assumes the
remaining tasks of making this book a useful reference tool by covering
the discussion of Bach’s organs, editions and the comprehensive list of
Bach’s organ works including the references to NBA + Peters editions, as
well as literatures and supplementary notes.
The most impressive aspect of this book is the diversity of their approaches;
while the examination of various pieces of historical evidence provides
an essential background in which Bach’s works should be interpreted, the
critical examination of various interpretations in the past adds another
dimension to the recipe for our consideration. My only criticism is the
quality of some of facsimile reproductions used by Weinberger, which are
clearly out of focus.
Published online on 30 October 2000