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Re[2]: GG: Italian Concerto

     These are valid points about the Italian Concerto but IMHO 
     it is still a fabulous Bachwork.  It does not have the heavy 
     contrapunctal content of other late baroque works; instead 
     it is mostly two-part counterpoint with block chords thrown 
     in here and there.  To me that gives it a distinctively 
     "keyboard" flavor as opposed to some of the other keyboard 
     works which are truly 2-, 3-, or 4-part in nature and 
     therefore readily adapt themselves to other instrumental or 
     vocal performances.
     I suppose in a sense the IC is less complex than certain 
     other Bachworks but each movement is beautifully organized 
     and the middle movement is a wonderful example of elaborate 
     right hand ornamentation against a repeating left-hand 
     motif.  I particularly like the deceptive cadence near the 
     end of the first movement where Bach adds a few extra bars 
     and then finishes on the same cadence an octave down (ending 
     on F major).  I can't give you the bar number right now but 
     the motif that is repeated goes A-Bb-C-F-A-G-F-E-F in eighth 
     notes, and it is right before the final recap.
     I really dig the Italian Concerto.

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: GG: Italian Concerto
Author:  "John P. Hill" <jphill@frank.mtsu.edu> at internet
Date:    3/5/97 10:47 AM

Re:  Italian Concerto
Thanks to Rob for info. on composition date for the 
piece;  I'd thought it was earlier in Bach's output.
One might debate whether the Italian Concerto is a "showpiece", 
but I think there is no question about it lacking the kind of 
contrapuntal interest and intensity found in later works like the 
ART OF FUGUE.  I think one could make the case that it's 
"compositional footprints" relate it more closely to the earlier, 
keyboard-virtuoso type works that GG so often criticized.
As to Gould's statements being contradictory, I'm not so sure. 
I think that often his *actions* were not consistent with his
philosophy.  There are many examples:  slamming Capitalism while 
mastering the stock market, hating late period Mozart while recoding 
all of the Sonatas, etc.
I don't see too much evidence of contradictory statements by Gould; 
I do see changes in his performance style and choice of repertoire, 
though. One reason I prefer his middle and late period
playing to his earlier work is that he seems to be "less out to make 
a point" by playing things unbelievably fast or unbelievably slowly, 
for example.  Later, he also seemed less interested in "making an 
individual statement" through his recordings.  His early
work always sounds like a virtuoso pianist "pulling out all the stops" 
to me, whereas his later work sounds like a great *musician* who 
happens to be playing a piano (very well!).
I'm still at a loss at to why he revisited the Italian Concerto in 
particular and I wonder if he discussed this with anyone at the time.
Incidentally, do we know for sure that he actually *did* re-record 
this piece in the early 80s?  Is anyone aware of plans to release 
this newer version?
On Wed, 5 Mar 1997, Rob Haskins wrote:
> On Wed, 5 Mar 1997, John P. Hill wrote: 
> > The Italian Concerto is one of those flashy showpieces that Bach wrote 
> > early on as a virtuoso keyboardist.  
> The Italian Concerto was published around 1735.  I don't think 
> it's a very early work.  It certainly has none of the "lapses" 
> (if one can think of J. S. Bach as having "lapses"!)
> that I associate with early pieces like the D-major toccata. 
> > Gould's criticism of it always
> > focused on it's lack of contrapuntal interest and the fact that it was 
> > a showpiece for keyboard virtuosity (he hated these kinds of
> > quasi-competitive displays...).
> As always, Gould was being contradictory. I can't really see what 
> is particularly show-offy about the Italian Concerto compared
> to the fourth and fifth partitas, both pieces Gould loved. 
> It's true he hated the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue and the 
> performance shows -- not so, I think, for his performances 
> of the Italian Concerto.
> Rob Haskins
> Eastman School of Music