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Bach Suites, Meyer vs Rabbath!

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Samie, May 4, 2005.

  1. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    There was no DVD on the spanish(european¿?) version Music for Two!! :bawl: so I have not seen it yet.

    Maybe its because he is also a piano player, but its very evident that Meyer has studied Bach deeply. Lots of little details hidden in short frases emerge in meyer's recording of the suites. Metronomic sequence¿?
  2. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I've got a recording of Karr doing one of the suite mvmts. and for me it blows Meyer's recorded version away.

    Gary Karr rocks...but Meyer's version does too I just like Karr's version better.

    I'm surprised that Gary Karr gets trashed here without moderator intervention while some personally revered Jazz great gets lots of ass kissing and threats of censorship towards anyone who denigrates him.

    Oh well that's life I guess.
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    And that's certainly your inalienable right. I like Starker's version better than Meyer's myself even as I wish I could personally play the suites half as well as either. :)

    Ummm, where is Karr getting trashed "without moderator intervention"? If you mean this thread, I think I've done all I can do without having heard Karr's recording by saying, "it's all a matter of personal taste, innit?" repeatedly. And who's the "jazz great who gets lots of ass kissing and threats of censorship towards anyone who denigrates him"? I'm not aware of threatening to censor anyone for denigrating any jazz great's playing unless someone was just out and out trolling, in which case it wouldn't really matter who the person was talking about. Elighten me - inquiring mind wants to know. :eyebrow:
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    The very idea of me offering critical commentary on any of the players mentioned is comedic at best, but I might as well. You know what they say about opinions.

    I have the suites by Meyer. I don't really care for them. As amazing as he is, I think his playing often comes off as synthetic or mechanical. I also think his tone is a little harsh sometimes.

    Rabbath would be opposite end. He exaggerates dynamics to the point of stressing you out. Dude, get a compressor!! :bag: And, never let it be said the he allows things like time to get in the way of his playing. :)

    That being said, I have several recordings by both of these players. I enjoy each very much and each has contributed greatly to my endeavors as a player.

    I also have some stuff by Karr. I prefer it to either of the above. While I've never heard Karr do anything that suggests he has the talent of either of the above, his sound is very natural and easy. A lot like David Walter sounds on the recordings included with a group of solo selections I recently purchased. It sounds like a guy playing bass well. I like that.

    For reference, the guy that I enjoy listening to FAR more than any is Joel Quarrington. His skill, tone and blend of the mechanical and artistic borders on flawless IMO. I often wonder why he doesn't boast the popularity of some of these other guys. His sound is absolutely to die for.
  5. BGreaney

    BGreaney Guest

    Mar 7, 2005
    all this talk about the bass recordings, one would think that people here don't really care for the actual cello recordings of the suites. yes i know, it's a BASS forum and the title of the thread is meyer vs. rabbath, but seeing as how we've ventured slightly off the topic of "meyer vs rabbath", does anyone have any preferences as far as cello recordings?
  6. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York

  7. BGreaney

    BGreaney Guest

    Mar 7, 2005
    yea, the only thing that i dont like is his 1st prelude. it makes me kinda dizzy trying to listen to it cuz the rhythm is so weird so it sounds kinda like it's in 6...you listened to the Fournier recording? personally, i've taken to that one a little more...
  8. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    Starker. I saw him do all six live at Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago in 73 or 74. One of the most memorable live performances of any type I have ever attended.
  9. BGreaney

    BGreaney Guest

    Mar 7, 2005
    ah yea sorry I overlooked those other mentions of the Starker recording were mentioned earlier...i'll be checking that out tomorrow...
  10. dex68

    dex68 Guest

    May 5, 2005
    Well, as a result of this thread, I went out and borrowed the Meyer from the library. I had never heard the suites on bass, and having only cello to compare it to (Ma, Casals, Rostropovich - I love all of them) I was blown away. Someone here discribed Meyer's interpretation as 'flat'. I think he's missing the point. Bach is always best unadorned, and that's the way Meyer plays it - none of that romantic **** so many get into with Bach. His playing is so beautiful and straight forward. I almost like it better than cello... almost.Anyway, it's so dark and brooding, especially the slower movements. Now I have to look for some of the other versions that have been mentioned here. Thanks for the heads up!
  11. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    I have to agree with you on Meyer's interpretation. I almost like it better than the cello versions I have heard. Its so dark and powerful. There is nothing flat in them, lots os subtle dynamics.

    Try listening to the in the car with a decent hi-fi sytem or a nice subwoofer! !!! wonderful! I used to listen to it that way every day going to work. Of course, most DB solo arco stuff sounds great in the car also, check it out.
  12. CBFinet


    Nov 11, 2002
    Phoenix, AZ
    Personally, my favorite recording of the suites, bass or cello, is the Rostroprovich recording. I have Cassals, Fournier, and Meyer, but Rostrprovich seems to have the right amount of romanticization for my taste. he has beautiful ideas, but doesn't let that get in the way of the inherent beauty of the music. There's something to be said for Meyer's approach though, the fact that he plays senza vibrato on many pieces including the Bach suites. There is some speculation regarding the historical accuracy of stylistic interpretations like vobrato or no vibrato, liberties with time, etc. From what I've read, historically the Bach Suites were played without vibrato and with little or no liberties taken with the time. What do you guys think?
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
  14. Comrade Lewis

    Comrade Lewis Guest

    Jun 20, 2004
    Athens, Ga
    I have to say i like Meyer better than Rabbath. He plays it in a way i would expect for Bach more. Bach is very traditional and i feel it is innapropriate to be too liberal with the interpretation.
  15. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York

    See my earlier posts regarding the book "Bach and the Baroque"...I think that after you read it you will agree that bach senza vibrato or rubato is simply wrong
  16. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    ...senza vibrato... !! cool term. I think I will use it as my next nick somewhere...
  17. dex68

    dex68 Guest

    May 5, 2005
    Now here's a really naïve question for the experts: are the keys Meyer (and/or possibly the others) plays The Suites in pre-ordained? IOW, did someone a long time ago transpose them into "bass" keys, or does every bass soloist do it as they like? When I've tinkered with them (out of my book for cello) I've just tried to find a key that's as close to possible as I can. I would never have thought of some of the keys he plays them in.
  18. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Well...all that Edgar Meyer is doing is playing the suites where they would lie at pitch on the bass (i.e. an octave higher from where they seem to be written from a bassist's perspective, considering that the bass sounds an octave lower than written), except that he's got solo strings on his bass so everything comes out a whole step higher. So, the first note of the first suite is the open G string, except it sounds an A because of the solo tuning; the second suite, written in d-minor, starts on the D above the open G, except it sounds an E because of the tuning and the suite thus sounds in e-minor instead of d.

    All of the professional virtuosi I've ever seen or heard have played the suites this way, at pitch (i.e. "an octave up" for bass); some have had solo strings on, making everything sound a whole step up, but some have done it in orchestra tuning, sounding equivalent to a cello playing the suites. I've never heard of anyone making random transpositions (like playing the G-major suite in Eb-major or something), but that would be a great exercise.

    However, I find the suites to be a bit disheartening "at pitch" (because, well, I don't really have the chops for it just yet), so I often read them as if they were notated in tenor clef. (This is a fairly easy way for bassists to get around non-bass repertoire that doesn't fit well within the instrument's range--but if there's a piano or orchestral accompaniment, forget about it unless you want to transpose the whole accompaniment.) This raises the pitch by a perfect fifth, so the first suite is in D-major and starts on the open D-string, the second suite is in a-minor and starts on the A above the open G, and so forth.

    Or, if you have a low C on your bass and better chops than me, you could read right through the suites like normal bass music, beginning the first suite on the low G on the E string; might be kind of muddy, but good practice nonetheless!
  19. dex68

    dex68 Guest

    May 5, 2005
    Thanks, johono5, that makes sense. Really, I'm a jazz guy, and way too old to ever master this kind of stuff, but I just use for bowing practice, and to absorb the phrasing. I find a 4th up (and read as if written for bass) works pretty well. But I will never play them in public, so don't worry!
  20. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I really like the interpretations of Jaap Ter Linden and Anner Bylsma, two very different baroque-style cellists. The Bylsma recording I like is the circa 1997? double disk on Sony where he plays the Stradivarius Servais from the Smithsonian. It is a really big cello and has incredible bass.

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