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Re: Why No Ricercare?

At 07:14 AM 4/17/99 -0700, Jan Littrell wrote:
>Please send more information about what was said in the article about the
>best piano and harpsichord design.

In the category of "Best Ergonomic Design of the Past 1000 years," computer
scientist David Gelertner considers a couple of top contenders--the book
and the clock face--but disqualifies them on account of age (they have
early versions that are older than a 1000 years).  Then he talks about his
third favorite interface--the musical keyboard:

"The earliest true surviving one dates to the 14th century--nearly two
octaves' worth of keys, protruding from an ancient Swedish organ like
oversize Popsicle sticks.  A keyboard is the organ's, harpsichord's,
piano's, synthesizer's dashboard. A 2-year-old can operate one. Bach's
music is inconceivable without it.  Nowhere else has the merely mechanical
contributed so much to the spiritual and the sublime."

P.S. By the way, Charles Rosen called the Ricercare a piano piece, because
if its dedicatee Frederick the Great heard it, it was probably on one of
the newfangled Silbermann pianofortes that he had in his court, which Bach
had seen and played.

>At 9:57 AM -0400 4/17/99, Andrew Hrycyna wrote:
>>I've been meaning to ask this question of the group for a while, but I was
>>reminded by today's New York Times Magazine.  The issue is devoted to some
>>Best-of-the-Last-1000 Years nominations: best invention (cultivated bean),
>>best story (Scheherazade, Everyman), best love song (final trio from Der
>>Rosenkavalier), best ergonomic design (piano/harpsichord/organ keyboard),
>>Charles Rosen gives a deliberately quirky nomination for Best Piano
>>Composition (since it is rarely played on the piano): Bach's Ricercare a 6
>>from "The Musical Offering."
>>Which leads to my question: Am I right that Gould never recorded this
>>6-voice fugue?  Why not?  Did he ever talk or write about it?
>>I would nominate this piece for the Pieces-We-Wish-Gould-Had-Recorded List
>>that circulated a while ago.
>Janet L. Littrell, Ed.D.
>Administrator, Special Academic Programs
>Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education
>College of Education
>San Diego State University
>5500 Campanile Drive
>San Diego, CA  92128-1127
>phone:  619/594-0743
>fax:  619/594-3825
>e-mail:  littrell@interwork.sdsu.edu