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Toccatas BWV 910-916

Edward Parmentier (Harpsichord)

Edward Parmentierís Toccatas

K-4

Bach: Toccatas BWV 910-916 - Complete

Toccatas BWV 910-916 [10:52, 10:51, 10:34, 12:11, 6:05, 8:42, 8:03]

Edward Parmentier (Harpsichord)

Wildboar

Jun 1994

CD / TT: 68:12

Recorded at The Shrine to Music Museum, Vermillion, South Dakota, USA.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Pete Blue wrote (February 12, 2003):
I just bought the subject recording, Wildboar WLBR 9402. I've listened to it now twice in a row straight through, which is one time more than I ever listened to the only other harpsichord version I know, the Trevor Pinnock on Archiv, which I've owned since it came out a quarter-century ago. I've always felt a little condescending toward the Toccatas (as have the few conmmnentators I've read, who tend to dismiss them as juvenilia) and admired their difficulty without ever finding them bearable more than one or two at a time. I always assumed that showing off in the Toccatas is unavoidable, irresistible. But I felt that since they were by Bach, they deserved another try on a period instrument.

The Jacottet, the Tilney (whose English Suites are my favorite post-Kirkpatrick harpsichord versions thereof), the Vinokour, the Verlet and especially the Van Asperen all were intriguing possibilities to replace the Pinnock. (I'm still interested in the Troeger on clavichord.) I'm sure they have their partisans and I'm missing something never having heard them.

But I chose the Parmentier believing that in the Toccatas he, as much as or more than any other recorded harpsichordist and for sure unlike Pinnock, was likely to eschew exhibitionism. My hope has been realized. The tired old cliche applies here: Pinnock plays the harpsichord (and plays the hell out of it), but Parmentier plays the music.

The instrument seems a trifle clangy compared to today's best recorded instruments, but that doen't bother me. The sound of Parmentier's 1785 Jacques Germain (I copied that from the album notes; I don't really know what I'm talking about) is slightly reminiscent of Kirkpatrick's Neupart, which I've known for so long that I've grown to like it through sheer familiarity.

Since up to now I've thought of the Toccatas as mere showpieces, at least on the harpsichord, I don't feel qualified to discuss them as music. It's as if I'm listening to them for the first time ("Like a [Toccata] Virgin"!).. Sorry, that's pretty simple-minded (besides the lame gag, I mean). I would welcome a more sophisticated response from any of you who've liked and/or analyzed the Toccatas in their harpsichord dress, especially if you're familiar with multiple recorded versions.

Pete Blue wrote (February 13, 2003):

Postscript to my previous message on this subject:

I just discovered Don Satz's typically thorough and helpful analysis of four recordings of the Toccatas, two of them (Tilney and Peter Watchorn) on the harpsichord, on Aryeh's invaluable Bach Cantatas Website. Stupid me; I should know by now to look there first.

 

Feedback to the Review

Donald Satz wrote (February 13, 2003):
Yes, I believe I concluded that Gould and Watchorn were the best of those few I reviewed. However, no matter how well anyone plays them, these works are far from Bach's most inspired compositions.

Keyboard Toccatas BWV 910-916: Details
Recordings:
Until 1960 | 1961-1970 | 1971-1980 | 1981-1990 | 1991-2000 | From 2001
Discussions:
General Discussions - Part 1 | Toccatas - van Asperen
Reviews:
Toccatas - Hewitt | Toccatas - Parmentier | Toccatas - Watchorn & Troeger

Edward Parmentier: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Bach's Partitas for Harpsichord from Edward Parmentier | Edward Parmentier Plays Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier | Edward Parmentierís Toccatas

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Last update: żOctober 15, 2006 ż18:57:07