Pablo Nogueira | Music Updated:  1 February 2019

Title Format File Size Thanks to
Cuchito en Toledo MP3, 256 kbps, 44.1 kHz 5.3 Mb Mark Hills
Mystery Robot MP3, 128 kbps, 48 kHz 2.9 Mb Henrik Nilsson

I enjoy all sorts of music: early, baroque, classical, romantic, modern, contemporary, motion picture soundtracks, jazz, rock, pop, dance (even recalcitrant), dreaming, new age, and what have you. In general I'm attracted to particular pieces and to particular versions or interpretations, not to particular genres or styles. From Johann Sebastian Bach and Johannes Brahms to Justin Bieber and that's just the Bs … going through the magic of Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saëns, Dmitri Shostakovich, and many other past and contemporary musicians, Arvo Pärt, John Tavener, Karl Jenkins, Enya, Danny Elfman, Maurice Jarre, James Horner, etc.

I used to dabble with the piano.

For what's worth, here's a rushed commentary on Johann Sebastian Bach's music. (I'm one of those unbearable obsessive types absorbed by it.)

Harmonic richness, thematic invention, cantábile melodies, formal development, forward movement, and fun. Definite musical erudition, technical mastery, and control. A virtuoso of several instruments. Bach had serious difficulties composing anything other than masterpieces or total bores. From the round and sublime to the insufferable belabouring of the point.

As for the harpsichord vs piano controversy, for what I know Bach wasn't specific: the word klavier meant keyboard in Bach's time. Bach himself adapted music to strikingly different instruments. Trying to make the piano sound like a harpsichord is just one possibility, not the end of it.

Bach made no tempo or dynamic annotations in many of his works, leaving them open to experimentation, maybe inadvertently, but music is to be played and enjoyed. To each according to his or her taste. I dislike fast staccato and romanticised slow rubato performances. I like legato, so rarely exploited at the piano, and thus prefer sometimes string or voice versions. With Bach you must pay attention to tempi, phrasing, dynamics, harmonic modulation, themes, to the role and weight of each voice, and to the role and weight of each note within the voice. Bach's music invites to creative performances. That so many performers stick to a school's style is rather frustrating.

The first Bach piece I ever heard was the three-part fugue of the Overture in the French Style BWV 831. I had no idea of counterpoint and had never heard music like that, so complex and fascinating, with the lower left-hand voice underpinning, developing, and echoing the higher right-hand voice. And vice-versa! Both voices with a life of their own yet blending harmoniously in a forward movement. I still remember that moment.

Here is an incomplete and under-construction (it'll take me a lifetime) list of some of my Bach obsessions, in my favourite versions, in no particular order, courtesy of YouTube:

Overture in the French Style BWV 831
  Blandine Verlet, starting with the fugue I heard for the first time in this vinyl.
  (I don't own the picture. The cover's font looks like Donal Knuth's cmr.)

Mass in B Minor BWV 232
  Dir. Jordi Savall:
    Credo in unum Deum + Patrem Omnipotentem
    (fugued cantus firmus with jazz base, transpositions, augmentation, counter-time, … genius!)
    Cum Sanctu Spiritu
    Christe Eleison
    Et in unum Dominum
  Dir. Karl Richter:
    Gloria in Excelsis
    Et in Terra Pax
    Domine Deus
  Dir. John Eliot Gardiner:
    Laudamus Te

St John's Passion BWV 245
  Dir. Karl Richter:
    Herr, unser Herrscher (yes, violas to the fore)
    Jesum von Nazareth
    Ich folge dir gleichfalls

St Mathew's Passion BWV 244
  Dir. John Eliot Gardiner:
    Kommt, Ihr Töchter, Helft Mir Klagen
    Gebt Mir Meinen Jesum Wieder
    So Ist Mein Jesus Nun Gefangen
    O Mensch, Bewein Dein Sünde Gross
    Aus Liebe Will Mein Heiland Sterben
    Mache Dich, Mein Herze, Rein
    Erbarme Dich, Mein Gott (dramatisation by Jonathan Miller)

Magnificat BWV 243
(I still haven't found what I'm looking for)

Cantata BWV 17, Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich
  Dir. Tom Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra

Cantata BWV 42, Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats
  Dir. Nathalie Stutzmann, Sinfonia

Cantata BWV 54, Widerstehe doch der Sünde
  Dir. Kurt Thomas, Marga Höffgen (slower)
  Dir. Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Anne Sofie von Otter (faster)

Cantata BWV 78, Wir eilen mit schwachen
  Dir. John Eliot Gardiner, Julia Doyle and Clare Wilkinson

Göldberg Variations BWV 988
  Andrei Gavrilov
  Trevor Pinnock
  Gustav Leonhardt
  Bob van Asperen
  Glenn Gould's 80s version
  Uri Caine (genius!)
  Murray Perahia

Partitas for Klavier
  Maria João Pires
  Trevor Pinnock

Partitas for Violin solo
  Hilary Hahn
  Itzhak Perlman
  Henryk Szeryng

Flute Sonatas and Partitas
  Jean Pierre Rampal or Emmanuel Pahud, accompanied by Trevor Pinnock

Partitas for Cello solo

English Suites for Klavier
  No. 2 BWV 807 & No.3 BWV 808 Ivo Pogorelich (links to no. 2's praeludium; follow related links for ther rest)
  Eric Nathan's orchestration (example, follow related links to Suites, Sonatas, and Partitas)
  Maria João Pires

French Suites for Klavier
  Andrei Gavrilov
  Maria João Pires

Two-part Inventions and Three-part Sinfonias
  Sinfonia 11 BWV 797 Swingle Singers

Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1
  Prelude 2 BWV 847
    Tzvi Erez (stressing the up-down up-down notes, a clock)
    Glenn Gould (slightly slower, more staccato, sustaining the up in the up-down)
  Prelude 5 BWV 850
    John Lewis (closer to what I'd like)
  Prelude & Fugue 15 BWV 860
    Alan K. Bartky (great audio and graphics)
    Tzvi Erez (yes, is a human)
  Prelude 21 BWV 866
    John Lewis (slow at last)
Nicolai Demidenko, Bob van Asperen, etc.

Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2

Concerto BWV 972 (after Vivaldi)
  Allegro by Guitar Duo KM

Allegro BWV 998
  Played on the guitar by Tim Beattie at cantabile speed.

and a massively long etc.