[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

GG: chaccone

Omri Tal writes:

My question is this - Did he ever record the famous Chaccone (transcribed by 
Busony), and if not, why ? Who's else (I know of Shura Chercaski's) is 
recommended ?
It is one of my life's 'goals' to master this piece on the piano...
	Omri Tal


    I too am very fond of the Dm Chaconne, not only because of its intrinsic 
beauty, but also because it transcribes almost without modification to my 
instrument, the classical guitar.  In fact, it is in some ways more idiomatic on
the guitar than on the violin, as I would happily demonstrate to any F-minors 
that turn up in the Athens area (failing that, check out guitarist John Williams
stunning interpretation on his album 'Baroque guitar'. BTW this is not the 
COMPOSER John Williams).   However, I'm sure Gould would have shared my horror 
and aversion to Busoni's transcription for piano; this transcription is perhaps 
more Busoni than Bach, and it is rife with the sort of overblown romantic 
elaborations that represent the antithesis to Gould's approach to Bach.  I have 
heard a recording from a piano roll (for a sophisticated player piano that 
preserved all dynamics and articulation, etc.) that Busoni himself made of his 
transcription.  I'm afraid to say that it was just comically bad.  Although 
undeniably  virtuosic, the interpretation was completely at variance with 
anything that would be acceptable practice today - it is theatrical 
(vaudevillian?? (-: ), overdramatic, and affected.  Piano players that I've met 
have told me that Horowitz recorded a more restrained version, but its really 
very difficult for me to envision Gould being attracted to this transcription.  
My personal feeling is that fattening the harmonies using typically pianistic 
devices will inevitably rob the piece of much of its integrity, but I'd love to 
be proven wrong- I haven't heard any other piano transcriptions...do you mean to
imply that Shura Chercaski's performance is of a different transcription?  I'm 
also curious to hear which Violin recordings of this piece people favour...It's 
such a difficult piece that even some of the big names can't really pull it off.
I think maybe the best I've heard yet is Henryk Szeryng on his 
DeutschGrammaphone recording of the six partitas/sonatas for solo violin , but 
I've really only heard a few performers  One of the reasons that I find this 
piece so compelling is that it is the only substantial example that I can think 
of Bach writing a series of variations, aside from the Goldbergs. In this case, 
it is simply amazing what can be done with a simple 8 bar theme (which is of two
very similar 4 bar parts!).  The whole piece is so incredibly well conceived, 
balanced (it has 256 bars, a power of two to which I am particularly attracted) 
and executed, that it always makes me wonder why Bach didn't compose more in 
this form.




Paul Fawcett                            .***.   .***.           .***.        
Department of Genetics                * | | | * | | | *       * | | | * 
University of Georgia               * | | | *   * | | | *   * | | | *   
Athens, Ga                        * | | | *       * | | | * | | | *       
fawcett@bscr.uga.edu                '***'           '***'   '***'