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French Suites BWV 812-817

Bradley Brookshire (Harpsichord)

French Suites by Brookshire on hspi

K-1

J.S. Bach: The French Suites

French Suites BWV 812-817 [11:07, 9:32, 11:22, 12:15, 15:25, 12:22]]

Bradley Brookshire (Harpsichord)

Purchase Records

Jan 2001

CD / TT: 72:03

Recorded at Recital Hall, Purchase College Conservatory of Music, Purchase, NY, USA.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

French Suites by Brookshire on hspi

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 22, 2001):
I wrote on July 28th:
< I see that there's a set of the French suites on the way by Bradley Brookshire. He's on faculty at Purchase College (SUNY), New York.
http://www.westchesterwag.com/potm/potm1june01.asp
http://www.purchase.edu/academics/music/homepage/faculty/brookshire/

It looks as if this set is being produced by Purchase College itself. I don't know how widely the release is expected to go. But I suspect it will be a good set; I've liked his earlier recordings and have heard him in concert several times. He was my direct predecessor in a church-organist job in Michigan, so I got to know him some through that too. He's a very fluent and lively player. You might recognize him especially from his playing in the Robert Hill AoF early version. >

...And now, having received the disc today via one of his colleagues, I'll write a review. (I see at http://members.tripod.com/~newcdnews/cl01sum.html that this is also available through various online shops, as well as through Purchase College.)

-----

Preamble:

"Rabbit hurried off to see Pooh. Before he had gone very far he heard a noise. So he stopped and listened. This was the noise.

"NOISE, BY POOH [a song of six stanzas].

"'Hallo, Pooh,' said Rabbit.

"'Hallo, Rabbit,' said Pooh dreamily.

"'Did you make that song up?'

"'Well, I sort of made it up,' said Pooh. 'It isn't Brain,' he went on humbly, 'because You Know Why, Rabbit; but it comes to me sometimes.'

"'Ah!' said Rabbit, who never let things come to him, but always went and fetched them. (...) Rabbit sat down on the ground next to Pooh and, feeling much less important like that, stood up again."

[ - Milne, _The House at Pooh Corner_]

-----

Bradley Brookshire plays the h-e-double-toothpicks out of the French Suites by Bach. His style is a super-confident and muscular "you WILL listen to what I do with these pieces!" approach (and makes me think of Skip Sempe). His name is listed before Bach's on both the front cover and the spine. And in his program notes the first half is about himself, and the second half is a bit about the music. This fits his overall most obvious goal: make a huge splash. And he does.

Whom else does he sound like, if you don't already know his playing? It's sort of like a cross between Robert Hill's and Edward Parmentier's rhythmic-declamatory freedom, Anthony Newman's devil-may-care brashness, and Pierre Hantai's caffeine.

I can't think of any women who sound anything like Brookshire (or vice versa); this is a thoroughly Red-Blooded American Male Performance, for better or worse. (OK, the wildly interesting Blandine Verlet of 25 years ago had some similar characteristics in her basic touch, but she also made her Bach performances sound a lot more French than this. And the serenely wonderful Blandine Verlet of today sounds like an almost completely different person.)

Brookshire is volcanic and sometimes extremely fast, sometimes surprisingly slow, always strongly nuanced, always vivid and intense. This is a performance of ardent contrasts. Sometimes he staggers his two hands so deeply that the left hand sounds far ahead of the beat (instead of the right hand sounding behind the beat; there's a difference). I didn't notice any occurrences of right hand before left, which is another useful technique. Occasionally Brookshire's recklessly fast (but accurate) drive made me gasp, knowing how technically tricky some of these movements are to play.

His use of 4-foot stop alone is a nice touch in the fourth suite's menuet. His interpretation of the fifth suite's sarabande is particularly free: his right hand adds more voices in the middle of the texture, and his way with the melody is "a loose interpretation of the original" (as they say in blue-jeans commercials). It works, and it's an interesting way to split the problem of the several versions that exist for this movement: play something new that's not quite any of them. This probably really was improvised. It does sound more intellectually and deliberately clever than casually spun, though: his fingers are doing plenty of walkin', and that's nice, but they sound guided by his brain instead of his lungs. (Barbra, Frank, Bing, and Willie wouldn't be caught dead putting this much muscular drive into their improvisations.) Just a guess from the way it sounds. It's more a busy important Rabbit than a dreamy humble Pooh.

All six suites fit onto the single CD: both from the fast tempos and the omission of a few repeats in the longest movements.

I'm not completely won over, as I'd rather have the music come to me a little more simply rather than having every note fetched. As a listener I yearn for a gentler and more artless grace, since Bach's music is so rich by itself.

But my goodness, Brookshire delivers a powerful performance. He gives a strong combination of intellect and raw energy: every moment committed. If the music is going to be fetched, this is a good way to do it. It's the kind of playing that astonishes people: a running commentary on the brilliance of the music, with an equal spotlight on the performer.

This is a must-hear set, if you don't mind being left exhausted at the end of it. It's a thrill ride.

This morning I mentioned my dislike of Wilhelm Kempff's too-gentle, tepid, unimaginative Bach on piano. Well, Brad Brookshire's Bach on harpsichord is about as far away from Kempff as one can get. There is no ordinary moment in it. It's so extreme in the other directions that I find it too much at times. I guess I don't like to hear Bach taken to such extremes: to me he speaks most clearly when played somewhere in the middle, with the music unfolding gradually from its own lively energy. Meanwhile, "your mileage may vary." This might be exactly the CD that makes your day, or many days.

I still find more satisfaction in the French Suites by Christiane Jaccottet, Alan Curtis, and Gustav Leonhardt; and I'm waiting for Parmentier's. But (I stress again) Brookshire is a must-hear anyway. Splash.

The CD number is PC1575.

 

Bradley Brookshire's French Suites

John Pike wrote (November 14, 2003):
I have to confess that i was a bit disappointed with Bradley Brookshire's French Suites after rave reviews on Amazon.com, including one from the New York Times. Although I thought there was much to commend, particularly in the Sixth Suite, which I think he plays very well, I found the line of the music constantly disrupted elsewhere by holding on notes slightly too long etc., often in a somewhat arbitrary fashion. One movement is transposed up an octave which I think does nothing for it and another is so over-embellished that I lose the tune.

On a positive note, tempi are generally well chosen and there is plenty of range in colour and good characterisation of individual movements. Technically, the performance is very assured and some of the faster movements, particularly in the Sixth Suite are brilliant. Given all that, the disruption to flow by holding notes on, or leaving slight pauses between notes seems unnecessary to me and spoilt for me what was in many other ways a fine performance...there is plenty of variety for interest without the need to do this. I only have one other recording of these wonderful wor, which I adore, that by Glenn Gould.

Has anyone else heard Brookshire's recording?

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 14, 2003):
John Pike wrote:
>> I have to confess that i was a bit disappointed with Bradley Brookshire's French Suites after rave reviews on Amazon.com, including one from the New York Times. Although I thought there was much to commend, particularly in the Sixth Suite, which I think he plays very well, I found the line of the music constantly disrupted elsewhere by holding on notes slightly too long etc., often in a somewhat arbitrary fashion.(...) I only have one other recording of these wonderful works, which I adore, that by Glenn Gould. <<
Hi John, you've spelled out the danger of learning Bach pieces only from Gould recordings, and one of his most metrically-stiff recordings at that. Gould's recordings can set up expectations that really apply only to Gould's own work....

Gould deliberately cultivated a very firm and regular sense of beat.

He wrote about this several times, in various essays; see the Glenn Gould Reader and other books about him. This priority was one of his own idiosyncracies. (For a fuller explanation of that, see the chapter "Rhythm" in Kevin Bazzana's book Glenn Gould: The Performer in the Work: A Study in Performance Practice (Oxford, 1997).)

Uri will likely have more coherent things to say about this than I do (from his closer study of 20th century trends in recordings), but that "Baroque = steady beat" assumption has more to do with 1920s-1970s neoclassical trends than with 1700-1750 performance practices. Richard Taruskin's book Text and Act is essential reading in this area, too.

In short, Gould and some others at the time believed they were correcting "romantic" excesses from the 19th century; but the rhythmic flexibility (as heard in Brookshire's and some other performances) really has nothing to do with the 19th century at all.

Rhythmic flexibility is the most important technique to bring out musical nuances on a harpsichord. An excellent player, as Brookshire certainly is, uses fine control of time and articulation to bring out compositional details clearly. It's not surprising if this sounds foreign and excessive next to Gould's approach to the piano. (One similarity: Gould also did a huge amount with note-lengths, varying them subtly or sometimes aggressively to bring out structural points... but all within a basically steady beat.)

Listening to Brookshire did you notice how your attention keeps jumping to many layers of the composition simultaneously, instead of being stuck on only a single line? He can break things up like that because the listener's brain will put them back together; and it is therefore engaged actively in listening to the music. Once he has set up expectations in the listener, he doesn't blandly continue those expected patterns for very long (which would cause a listener to stop listening so actively); he keeps the listener guessing what will come next, and following the musical structure intently, to hear how the composition itself is ever-changing. He makes the listener hang on the possible directions of every note...not to show how clever he is himself, but to show how clever Bach was and how alive the music is. That's the point. Those supposedly "arbitrary" interruptions have a purpose.

Rübsam accomplishes something similar to that, on piano. He plays the piano like an overgrown clavichord, which it really is.

Thomas Radleff's word "Convivenza" explains it beautifully, from his posting today: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings/message/11393
The parts of the composition can be heard simultaneously, and it is the way they all come together in diversity that makes the piece magical.

=====

Speaking of that Gould recording of the French Suites: in the sarabande of the C minor suite did they ever fix the pitch problems? That's track 9, about 1'42" into it. Because of a splice into tape that was recorded at slightly different speed, there's a sudden shift downward in pitch, and it remains flat for the rest of that movement.

There are similarly shifty pitch problems in the gigue, track 12. Really annoying, IMO. (I have the 1986 CD issue, CBS #42267; I'm asking here if either of the later reissues have fixed that mess.)

Johan van Veen wrote (November 14, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] I have the recording of the French suites as well. I haven't had the time to listen to it yet, but I have had a look in the booklet, and I can't find any information about the harpsichord he uses. Do you know more?

Charles Francis wrote (November 14, 2003):
[To John Pike] Your problem, IMO, is that Gould's version is outstanding. He perceived Bach as a victim of Gallant fashions and so purged this work of such imperfections. See: http://tinyurl.com/v0wz

As another correspondent put it recently: "technically there may have been progress since the 70's, stylistically there is a lot of regress".

Johan van Veen wrote (November 14, 2003):
[To Charles Francis] If you want to express your views, please use your own words.

I find it rather unethical to quote me, although you know very well that my views on performance practice are diametrically opposed to yours. Rhythmic flexibility is certainly not something I consider 'regress'. In my view that is rather 'progress'.

Don't use that phrase to defend Glenn Gould, whose performances I detest.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 14, 2003):
[To Johan van Veen] When I asked him, BB told me he deliberately left that out of the booklet, because he (probably correctly) surmised people would be more worried about the pedigree of the harpsichord than listening to the music. Authenticity is not a hardware issue. :)

(I'll tell you what his harpsichord is, privately, but am not going to post that onto a mailing list.)

Laurent Planchon wrote (November 14, 2003):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< When I asked him, BB told me he deliberately left that out of the booklet, because he (probably correctly) surmised people would be more worried about the pedigree of the harpsichord than listening to the music. Authenticity is not a hardware issue. :) >
Why, is he striving for "authenticity" ? In any case, the pedigree of a harpsichord is rather important. An Italian does not sound like a French does not sound like a Flemish does not sound like a Mietke. It is in a way somewhat similar to organ music recordings.

P.S. I don't particularly like the sound of the harpsichord he uses. If you want to hear a superb harpsichord in the French suites, try out Blandine Rannou's recording.

John Johansson wrote (November 14, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] You might also explain why he claims on his website that it was nominated for a Grammy but does not appear on any of the Grammy Award nominee lists.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 15, 2003):
John Johansson wrote:
< You might also explain why he claims on his website that it was nominated for a Grammy but does not appear on any of the Grammy Award nominee lists.>
I asked Brookshire about that, privately, at the beginning of September. I have his email response from 9/6/03 answering it to my satisfaction. If you wish to find out that answer for yourself, about the Grammy nomination, I suggest you contact him directly. He also answered it to the satisfaction of the Amazon administrators, who then removed that potshot "review" from their site.

p.s. Careful, John; you've just outed yourself as the anonymous person who tried to slime Brookshire twice on that Amazon site, with that same question. Now that I think about it, you're probably also the person who called him "a bag of hot air" (or some such) on the Amazon site, exactly as you called me here a few days ago.

Lawrence Walker wrote (November 15, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] Oil

Here we go again.

These guys need muzzles.

John Johansson wrote (November 15, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] If he has some reason he feels he was nominated for a Grammy when there is no evidence of it anywhere he might trouble himself to explain it on his website so people don't have ask about it. The fact that even you are keeping it a secret is just plain wierd.

Outed myself for expressing my opinion? Wow, you're a clever guy.

Ron Shaffer wrote (November 15, 2003):
[To John Jhanssen] When you identify someone who sends messages you are not interested in reading, it's easy to automatically delete them if you are using Outlook or Outlook Express. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm adding new addresses to my list of those messages I'll never see. IMHO, we've had enough to this nonsense.

Joost wrote (November 15, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] If I recall correctly BB himself wrote earlier this year (on this list) that the maker of his harpsichord was from Norway or Sweden, and that he died a couple of years ago. Check the archives if you want more specifics.

joost (who loves the BB French suites, apart from the transposed movement)

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 15, 2003):
[To Joost] You're right, Joost; here's his message.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings/message/9710

Incidentally, Philip Tyre was American. He built quite a few harpsichords in collaboration with Keith Hill, before setting out as an independent builder. Their most famous collaborative instrument was the "Magnum Opus" -- there are some Anthony Newman recordings on it.

Tyre also built an four-rank organ for a church in Michigan; that's where I met both Brookshire and Tyre for the first time, back in 1989. Brookshire was moving away, I had just got to town, and I inherited his church job on that organ. A few years later that organ got rained on, from a leaky roof. While it was out of playing shape, Tyre brought in several harpsichords to use for services, in its place. Enjoyable! The congregation was small enough that we really could use it for accompaniment of some of the hymns.

Pierce Drew wrote (November 15, 2003):
[To Laurent Planchon] Verlet has a recording of the French Suites? What label, etc?

Pierce Drew wrote (November 15, 2003):
[To Laurent Planchon] Sorry, Laurent,

I misread "Blandine Rannou" as "Blandine Verlet," whose recordings of Bach I adore. Might help if I read the surname.

BTW, I agree -- the harpsichord sound on the Rannou recording is excellent. I am also quite fond of her new English Suites recording.

Uri Golomb wrote (November 16, 2003):
< Gould deliberately cultivated a very firm and regular sense of beat.

He wrote about this several times, in various essays; see the Glenn Gould Reader and other books about him. This priority was one of his own idiosyncracies. (For a fuller explanation of that, see the chapter "Rhythm" in Kevin Bazzana's book Glenn Gould: The Performer in the Work: A Study in Performance Practice (Oxford, 1997).)

Uri will likely have more coherent things to say about this than I do (from his closer study of 20th century trends in recordings), but that "Baroque = steady beat" assumption has more to do with 1920s-1970s neoclassical trends than with 1700-1750 performance practices. Richard Taruskin's book _Text and Act_ is essential reading in this area, too. >
Since you asked: I wouldn't say that Gould's rhythmic steadiness was one of his "idiosyncracies"; that particular feature was, by the standards of his time (and, to large extent, ours), one of the more conventional features of his style. Generally speaking, there was an increasing tendency, especially from the 1950s onwards, towards greater rhythmic steadiness and uniformity, and it was even more pronounced in Baroque music than in other repertoires.

One of Gould's most memorable quotes (for me at lesat) was his likening of Bach to "a director who thought in terms of cuts rather than dissolves". The imagery is idiosyncratic, but the content is not: it is the "terraced-everything" idea (not just terraced dynamics, but also terraced articulation etc.). that characterised much Baroque performance at the time. Gould's intellectualised image of Bach was bolstered by performers he admired -- such as Rosalyn Tureck, Karl Richter and Karl Munchinger. If anything, Gould was freer and more varied than they were.

As for the concept of Bach as a victim of non-German fashions -- it's at least as old as the early 19th-century; I remember reading that someone at that time (I think it was either Forkel, his first biographer, or Zelter, who introduced both Goethe and Mendelssohn to Bach's music; I'll have to check again when I have time) thought that Bach himself was overly-influenced by French music in some of his repertoire, and his music should be actively purged to make him purer. The most extreme version of this I've seen more recently is Wilibald Gurlitt's entry on Bach in the 1959 Riemannn-Lexicon: he describes at length how the young Bach learned his craft from the finest German musicians -- and then stops. No mention of Bach's studies of Italian and French music, as if it never hapenned. He mentions Bach parodying himself, but not his arrangements of other composers' music. In his monograph on Bach, the same Gurlitt claimed that Bach moved from Kothen to Leipzig in order to purge his music from "Romance" (i.e., French and Italian?) and "Enlightenment" influences that were creeping into it. (No mention of how much of this "corrupt" Köthen music kept re-appearing in Bach's Leipzig oeuvre: movements from the Brandenburg transferred into cantatas, keyboard concerti for the LEipzig Collegium based on concerti written for the Kothen court...)

It is probably true that Bach disliked musical superficiality of any kind; and to that extent, he did find some of the newer styles of his time simplistic. But he did take the trouble to study everything that was hapenning around him, and adapated it to his own purposes His music was purposefully multi-faceted. However, the strict-beat, strict-dynamics performance style (which Gurlitt supported) minimises much of this complexity and variety: it clearly reveals the polyphonic textures, but downplays the interplay (and, sometimes, tension) between the various components that Bach combined into his music. It makes it sound as if Bach's music is all order, all clarity, everything measured and precise; complex, but clearly hierarchical and without much drama or spontaneity. Interestingly, Dreyfus argues that one of the things Bach disliked about the new "Enlightened" styles was their excessive clarity and transparency: he strived to make his own stylistic syntheses more complex, less easy to decipher -- and less calm and "orderly". Dreyfus shows, in his analyses, that Bach was often the reverse of what Gould said he was: that he often employed something like "dissolves" precisely where his more "Enlightened" colleagues preferred to employ "cuts".

I don't remember much of Gould's French Suites (it has been a while since I last heard them), but in general, Gould's Bach reveals more of Bach's drama and spontaneity than several of the musicians he admired. (I also know I disagree with Brad about Gould's toccatas and his 1981 Goldberg -- I like both these sets much better than Brad does)

Ideally, a good Bach performer should project both order and spontaneity; but it is hard to achieve this combination...

John Pike wrote (November 18, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] Brad, I have the same release as you. I agree.a bit irritating.

 

Brookshire responds, re his registration in French Suites recording

Bradley Lehman wrote (December 5, 2003):
Recently I mentioned to Bradley Brookshire that some people here on this list were complaining about his harpsichord registration in his CD of the French Suites. Specifically, some are put off by his musical choice to play parts of the music on the 4-foot stop (i.e. up an octave from the notation).

Here is his response, below, forwarded by permission. If I understand correctly, they are part of a draft of his booklet notes, for his forthcoming recording of the Art of Fugue (where he also registers at least one section on 4-foot alone). [Incidentally, so did Leonhardt in his DHM recording, but in a different section; and has anybody here complained about that?]

[Also incidentally: the f#-minofugue of WTC book 2 works beautifully played on organ, on a 4-foot flute or 4-foot principal stop alone. I've done it that way both in concerts and church services...lovely piece, and a registration that captures both the pathos and the sparkle, the sense of hope conveyed by the music. And, part of Händel's "Harmonious Blacksmith" variations on 2-foot(!) stop alone, since the music is allegedly derived from a whistled tune, and that is the range of whistling.]

Brad Lehman

=====

[Brookshire:]

As you know, Bach's organ registrations were commented on fairly widely during his lifetime. All of them point to Bach's defiance of conventional wisdom in favor of any registration that produced a viable, artistically useful color.

"To all this was added the peculiar manner in which he combined the different stops of the organ with each other, or his mode of registration. It was so uncommon that many organ builders and organists were frightened when they saw him draw the stops. They believed that such combination of stops could never sound well, bu were much surprised when they afterwards perceived that the organ sounded best just so, and had now something peculiar and uncommon, which never could be produced by their mode or registration." (J.N. Forkel, "Bach the Organist," Ch. IV of Forkel's biography, based largely on the recollections of C.P.E. Bach and other contemporaries of J.S. Bach.)

"No one understood registration at the organ as well as he. Organists were often terrified when he sat down to play on their organs and drew the stops in his own manner, for they thought that the effect could not be good as he was planning it; but then they gradually heard an effect that astounded them. (These sciences perished with him.)" (C.P.E. Bach, in a 1775 letter to Forkel, on his father's style of organ registration.)

Now, admittedly, no contemporary comment survives of Bach's harpsichord registration. But I don't see any way that Bach the firebrand in organ registration would take a radically opposed position when seated at the harpsichord. In the absence of any evidence that his attitude towards harpsichord registration was radically different from his attitude towards organ registration, I think we have to assume consistency. Why, then, would Bach turn his nose up at all the various registrations offered by an 18th century German harpsichord, including use of the solo 4'? What evidence can anyone offer to the contrary, except the conservative biases of
late-20th-century harpsichordists?

 

Brookshire, on his G major sarabande interpretation

Bradley Lehman wrote (December 7, 2003):
I forwarded Neil's recent question to Brookshire; here's his response for the list.

Brad Lehman

[Bradley Brookshire:]
"The performance tradition of Bach's day, in two particular aspects, was my guide for interpreting the Sarabande of the G-Major French Suite. A huge body of documents survives - albeit often ignored by modern recording artists - suggestive of an eighteenth-century German practice of supplying keyboard pieces with varied reprises, particularly in cantabile movements. In fact, when I omit repeats in a given movement, I do so because I don't see much need for a varied reprise there (don't get me started on what has become dogma among HIP performers and their apologists at some magazines: i.e., all repeats played, even if played unimaginatively = GOOD PERFORMANCE; a few repeats missing, even if played with aplomb = BAD PERFORMANCE).

C.P.E. Bach, living in an age when the practice of supplying varied reprises was degenerating, supplied an extensive How-To manual in form of his "Sonaten mit veränderten Reprisen." Alas, too late: the practice eventually died. This does not mean, however, that the practice is impossible to reconstruct: J.S. Bach supplied a great number of dances with full-blown variations. These give us a great picture of his variation technique in the realm of suite movements. Using them as a model, one may supply a more-decorated second-time version for cantabile movements.

Some of J.S. Bach's dances, however, are already so laden with surface ornamentation that it would difficult to add more. In this case (as with the G-Major Sarabande), I supply a putative Simple of the varied reprise that Bach transmits. Not believing that even a text by Bach is sacrosanct (remember: we're talking about an era in which improvisation was a lively art; and Bach was its greatest living practitioner. To imagine that he would disapprove of a little creative improvisation seems unnecessarily slavish to me), I added a few intensifications to his written-out varied reprise.

The model for the rhythms of my Simple come directly from D'anglebert and Francois Couperin, two of J.S. Bach's direct models. It seems a reasonable pedigree.

The model for my liberal use of non-simultaneous voices comes, again, from well-documented tradition. Harpsichordists at the court of Louis III and Louis XIV canoodled freely with court lutenists, even to the point of developing a new sound for the harpsichord repertoire that better reflected the unity of sound production between the two plucked string instruments in question. Thereafter, this local style was transmitted widely by Froberger, eventually becoming the lingua franca of harpsichord playing, as far as anyone can tell, until the instruments eventual demise (there are absolute no later-seventeenth or early-eighteenth century treatises, judging by current scholarship, that abjured players to "cut it out, already, with all those lute-like arpeggios," even in an era in which the piano was on the rise.

Now, of course, one may argue about "good taste" in the extent to which the above technique is applied. I would never censure anyone for deviating from my personal notions of good taste. But I do think it is worth saying that the modern notion of total vertical alignment has much more to do with Glenn Gould than J.S. Bach. Therefore, to censure me for employing the practice seems a little harsh.

Of course, one may also argue the case entirely differently: if performers, in the pursuit of imaginative interpretations that show a well-known repertoire in a new light, take on the mantle of a little improvisatory freedom, this is, and always has been, the interpreter's right. Only in recent, decadent years has the pendulum swung so far to the right that performer's options are limited to that body of interpretive techniques that have been blessed by a few High Priests of the Modernist music movement, DGG and Holy Urtext clutched firmly to bosom.

I rather prefer Schickele's Axiom: "If it sounds good, it is good." But that is very much demode at present."

Craig Schweickert wrote (December 7, 2003):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< I forwarded Neil's recent question to Brookshire; here's his response for the list.
[Bradley Brookshire:]
<snip>
I rather prefer Schickele's Axiom: "If it sounds good, it is good." But that is very much demode at present." >
Yeah except it's Duke Ellington's axiom (as Schickele readily admits).

Zev Bechler wrote (December 7, 2003):
[To Craig Schweickert] This is the soul of jazz, and I wonder : Would have Bach concurred (about his own jazz) ??

Johan van Veen wrote (December 7, 2003):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< I forwarded Neil's recent question to Brookshire; here's his response for the list.
[Bradley Brookshire:]
I rather prefer Schickele's Axiom: "If it sounds good, it is good." But that is very much demode at present." >
The problem is that performances Bradley Brookshire hates do "sound good" to other's peoples ears. Are they good then, actually?

 

French Suites BWV 812-817: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | French - Brookshire | French - Cates [Satz] | French - Cates [Schwartz] | French - Dart | French - Payne | French - Rannou | Rübsam - Part 1 | French - Suzuki

Bradley Brookshire: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
French Suites by Brookshire on hspi

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