BachScholar - What do we think of him?

Posted by: debrucey

BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 03/24/09 04:18 AM

Ignorant, pretentious and unfounded theories on a Richard Kastle scale? Or a refreshing and interesting re-evaluation of Bach's work? What do we think of him?

If anyone doesn't know who I'm talking about, search for his videos on Youtube. The one where he compares himself to a prophet is quite good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tRVudoNMLA

laugh
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 03/24/09 05:12 AM

Best ignored.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 03/24/09 05:33 AM

A crank.
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 03/24/09 06:29 AM

Before the days of the Internet - YouTube, blogging, etc. - there were untold numbers of theories, opinions, "research"... that never saw the light of day, and rightly so.

Crackpots like BachScholar, and Richard Kastle would not have been heard from or about.

Now anyone with a tin hat, and a video camera can get "discussed," and "debated" about.
Posted by: pianovirus

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 03/24/09 09:03 AM

I agree with the previous posters on this particular "research". However, more generally, one should caution not to dismiss all unorthodox ideas immediately just because they are off the mainstream thinking. A quick and quite reliable indicator for me is the intensity and tone in which something is advertised. This is somehow common all across the field and including Kastle, BachScholar and the likes. Oddly this also happens even with people like Stephen Wolfram who have achieved something notable before (Mathematica) but then went nuts ("A new kind of science").
In contrast, people with really good ideas or achievements are often much more relaxed and do not promote them so aggressively. Mahler once was asked by a friend to do more for promoting his symphonies (which were much misunderstood in their mix of "high" and "low" art elements). His reply apparently was that he is quite confident that they will become better appreciated and understood over time, and "I don't need to live to see them becoming immortal".
Posted by: debrucey

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 03/24/09 06:49 PM

I'm dubious of anyone who says that their scientific theory came from divine intervention. BachScholar doesn't really explain a lot in his videos (and you have to pay for his essays, ahem). He also trails the comment strings on his vids in a very Richard Kastle/mikecaffey way.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 03/24/09 07:43 PM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
A crank.


Agreed. Yikes! sick
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 03/24/09 08:16 PM

At least he can play pretty well. There are tons of people on YouTube that probably don't play piano making rants and bad comments on people's videos.


Matt
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 03/24/09 09:39 PM

That's true. One reason why I never read the comments.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 03/25/09 02:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Debussy20
At least he can play pretty well.
Notice he uses a stiff arm/wrist for accents when he should be fingers only. Whether modern or 18th century technique, the wrists should be light. Besides, reducing such a great work to its least important aspect is a nonsense, like discussing what hair gel Napoleon used.
Posted by: Coolkid70

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 04/05/09 01:43 PM

I know that this is a bit old, but I wanted to post some discussion on Cory Hall (BachScholar) by some academics.

https://lists.wu-wien.ac.at/pipermail/earlym-l/2008-December/008045.html
Posted by: jdhampton924

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 04/05/09 07:43 PM

Well I have heard worse bach, but the guy has a huge ego either way. That video was worth a laugh though with the new age music starting it off then I assume Bach.

The whole Abraham thing, reminded me of my 21st birthday.. haha
Posted by: djtoast

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 04/06/09 08:22 PM

I just watched a couple of his videos. Unless I'm missing something, he seems to be saying "if you play Bach's pieces at such a speed that they all take exactly one minute, then they're all the same length. Which proves that the correct tempo is that which makes them a minute long." (Or multiples therof, etc. Well I know I'm simplifying things but then so is he!)

I actually enjoyed his Goldbergs more than I expected to - although that's maybe more down to how Bach wrote 'em then how he played 'em. For instance, number 30 sounded a bit like a march - he could be more delicate with phrasing. And I can't help thinking that's rather sad, because his slightly mechanical approach probably stems from his fixation with tempo as the starting point for interpretation, rather than melody, harmonic progression etc. And his technique seems like it would be sufficient to lift him above that if it weren't hampered by his odd ideas.

And yes, the music that followed the new age, er, "moment" was Bach, from the Musical Offering, no?
Posted by: chopinlover88

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 02/18/13 01:13 AM

I know this is super old, but after watching some of his videos, Im confused on how he plays with such stiff wrists? I notice the pieces that require touch and character, like some of the chopin pieces, sound very empty and robotic. He has several degrees in music performance and Im just confused on how things are taught? I started piano lessons a year ago and my instructor wont let me play a note without rotating my wrists and having lots of wrist and hand flexibility. Is this not universal-ish?
Posted by: Carey

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 02/18/13 01:28 AM

Originally Posted By: chopinlover88
I know this is super old, but after watching some of his videos, Im confused on how he played with such stiff wrists? I notice his pieces that require touch and character, like some of the chopin pieces, are very empty and robotic. He has several degrees in music performance and Im just confused on how things are taught? I started piano lessons a year ago and my instructor wont let me play a note without rotating my wrists and having lots of wrist and hand flexibility. Is this not universal-ish?


Apparently not.

And don't forget about keeping your arms relaxed as well.

I am impressed, however, by the amount of music BachScholar has memorized !!
Posted by: chopinlover88

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 02/18/13 01:42 AM


Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: chopinlover88
I know this is super old, but after watching some of his videos, Im confused on how he played with such stiff wrists? I notice his pieces that require touch and character, like some of the chopin pieces, are very empty and robotic. He has several degrees in music performance and Im just confused on how things are taught? I started piano lessons a year ago and my instructor wont let me play a note without rotating my wrists and having lots of wrist and hand flexibility. Is this not universal-ish?


Apparently not.

And don't forget about keeping your arms relaxed as well.

I am impressed, however, by the amount of music BachScholar has memorized !!


thanks! that is pretty impressive.. I feel like he has reached a ceiling in his expressiveness.. but of course this is a very limited amt of experience talking.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 02/18/13 01:53 AM

His video was removed. Can someone please explain to me his position? I have heard him play. His Chopin is dry and his Bach is decent. That's about all I can say. What's all this talk about him being a 'prophet'?
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 02/18/13 02:07 AM

I think he has more subscribers and views than he deserves.
Posted by: UberB

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 02/26/13 09:57 PM

Originally Posted By: chopinlover88
I know this is super old, but after watching some of his videos, Im confused on how he plays with such stiff wrists? I notice the pieces that require touch and character, like some of the chopin pieces, sound very empty and robotic. He has several degrees in music performance and Im just confused on how things are taught? I started piano lessons a year ago and my instructor wont let me play a note without rotating my wrists and having lots of wrist and hand flexibility. Is this not universal-ish?


It's because he's bad.
Posted by: jotur

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 02/26/13 10:14 PM

Whoa! One post by keyboardklutz and one by Phlebas before I realized this was an old thread! Nostalgia smile

Cathy
Posted by: Zebrafingers

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/15/15 05:34 PM

I just found this site and subscribed.

I am a clarinetist who has decided to go back and learn piano for real. I did listen to the BachScholar for awhile. I was pretty fascinated ( I am beginner on piano). I even went as far as contacting him to start lessons but, something came up and I cancelled. Good thing, I suppose.

Just recently he has posted some beg for money ads stating in one that he has some people that are suing him although he never states why. In another ad he writes that there is a child support issue going on and they have used much of their money fighting it. And another ad I saw yesterday states that he must moved back to Florida, blah, blah, blah.

I find it amazing that someone would get into legal problems and then, have that audacity to go on youtube and beg for money to keep BachScholar going. I did write a sentence or two on his wive's FB asking why his business is being affected by money that should be coming from his personal income.

I am so glad that I read all the things on here including his playing issues. To the novice piano ear we do not know better. I do not feel sorry for him but, he is trying to capitalize on his client's feeling sorry. laugh
Posted by: WhoDwaldi

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/15/15 05:47 PM

He has a very good memory and a very nice piano.

If I'm recalling correctly, he is an organist, also. I think over the years since his doctorate, organ-isms must have entered into his piano playing too much. Otherwise, I feel he gets criticized a bit too severely. Many of his videos are at practice tempos so people studying the works can hear what's going on more clearly. He may well be a fine Skype teacher.

I disagree with his Bach tempo theories.

A certain amount of "puffery" (exaggerated self-promotion as in advertising) gets misinterpreted as arrogance.
Posted by: kcostell

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/16/15 02:55 AM

Reposting what I said in a different thread

Quote:
I've never really found his claims about Bach's approach to tempos to be very convincing. For me a lot of it falls prey to what in Math is termed the "law of small numbers". For any given Bach piece, there's a fairly wide range of tempi that might be considered reasonable in performance. So if you take a few connected pieces (e.g. a prelude and fugue, or the different sections of the toccata and fugue), there will almost always be some tempo at which to perform each section that happen to make the section lengths come out to nice ratios.

Not because of any plan or deep meaning on Bach's part, but just by sheer coincidence and/or cooking the length of each piece appropriately to make the numbers come out right. You could do the same thing a large portion of the time even if you looked at a pair of completely unrelated short pieces composed centuries apart.
Posted by: indigo_dave

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/16/15 01:45 PM

This thread snagged my interest a little. I watched part of his hand exercise video - Tausig exercise. I'll check out the whole vid later and try it out.

Off hand, he seems like a poor man's wanna-be Donald Trump. When Mohammad Ali bragged about himself, seems like he had a wink in his eye. He didn't believe all his noise. One gets the sense that this guy really means it.

I wonder if he has any videos of him playing one of his compositions. Being the genius he is, I think he'd have written music making points that Beethoven and Schoenberg missed. He would be showing us the musical error of their ways. Just sayin'.
Posted by: wouter79

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/17/15 07:20 AM

Given he's discussed here, he clearly reached some level of fame smile

He has nice Joplin rags from him there that are worth listening to.

He makes good recordings (good sound and video). He looks relaxed and solid while playing, even when it gets harder he just goes on metronomically as if nothing happens.

But that is also his weakness. There is stiffness/rigidity in his playing that I like less (e.g., in his la campanella below). This may be more about interpretation but IMHO playing a showpiece with a metronome-like stability is silly. Even his victory wave at the end looks studied smile Maybe he is just showing how to learn the piece, not sure.



His bragging about the Bach stuff is a bit silly but I guess it's a way of selling things. I don't bother with that, I'm not into Bach anyway.
Posted by: DerZauberlehrling

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/17/15 08:04 AM

Originally Posted By wouter79
Given he's discussed here, he clearly reached some level of fame smile

He has nice Joplin rags from him there that are worth listening to.

He makes good recordings (good sound and video). He looks relaxed and solid while playing, even when it gets harder he just goes on metronomically as if nothing happens.

But that is also his weakness. There is stiffness/rigidity in his playing that I like less (e.g., in his la campanella below). This may be more about interpretation but IMHO playing a showpiece with a metronome-like stability is silly. Even his victory wave at the end looks studied smile Maybe he is just showing how to learn the piece, not sure.



His bragging about the Bach stuff is a bit silly but I guess it's a way of selling things. I don't bother with that, I'm not into Bach anyway.


Relaxed? Sorry, but he plays with a LOT of tension... it's painful to watch his hands while playing.
Posted by: timmyab

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/17/15 08:47 AM

He's just a deluded amateur or be it a reasonably good one. Fairly competent technically (by amateur standards), he's got virtually nothing to say musically.
Posted by: sirwormsalot

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/17/15 09:26 AM

Sad to say that delusional people like this exist everywhere. Confidence, I guess.
Posted by: Tararex

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/17/15 01:20 PM

Originally Posted By timmyab
He's just a deluded amateur or be it a reasonably good one. Fairly competent technically (by amateur standards), he's got virtually nothing to say musically.


Is this supposed to be a burn or do you truly believe a paycheck is necessary for greatness?

Bobby Jones was a amateur. As were Gregor Mendel, Michael Faraday, and many others who outshone the "pros".

BachScholar is making a living doing what he does so it seems he actually understands the difference between professional and amateur.

But yes, he is one stiff leaden toned player with an amazing memory.
Posted by: timmyab

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/17/15 01:47 PM

You mean he's a pro? OMG!!! People will buy anything it seems.
I didn't mean amateur pejoratively, I just assumed he was one. In this case it seems we have that rare beast, a deluded professional smile
Posted by: debussychopin

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/17/15 03:11 PM

Originally Posted By debrucey
Ignorant, pretentious and unfounded theories on a Richard Kastle scale? Or a refreshing and interesting re-evaluation of Bach's work? What do we think of him?

If anyone doesn't know who I'm talking about, search for his videos on Youtube. The one where he compares himself to a prophet is quite good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tRVudoNMLA

laugh

Im just being candid here, what is your point with a thread like this? What do we think about him? You already have your opinion, shouldnt that be enough for you? Leave it to everyone to figure out on their own, they are all intelligent to find out what they want to know about him.
This suggests more on you than anything else sorry to say.
Posted by: the nosy ape

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/17/15 03:40 PM

Just so you know, this thread is six years old.
Posted by: Zebrafingers

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/17/15 09:08 PM


I would assume that the majority of people who learn piano do not use the Suzuki method. Given what I have learned thus far from my teacher who shall remain nameless there seems to be concepts that are lacking. As with my band instruments I teach hand position, carriage, posture,etc.

When I started Suzuki it was straight into the book with no mentioning of hand position, finger position, nothing about the wrist, what part of the finger touch the keys, what part of the key is touched. I think it was one of my last lessons ( I took for 4 months due to circumstances beyond my control) that a statement was made about my thumb needed to stay over the keys. Gosh, I wish that had been stated earlier!

I see the weaknesses of the Suzuki method if those kids do not in fact read music. Since I am already involved with music I did read music. I cannot image learning by rote or staring at the keys. In college we had class piano ( hated those things) we did scales, chords, modes, etc. No scales with this teacher.

So would it be correct to assume that there are actually teachers out there that leave so much information out to of their teaching?

Zebrafingers
Posted by: pinkfloydhomer

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/19/15 05:08 AM

Ignoring his theories and etcetera, I just think he plays Bach in a really clumsy and boring way. Sorry.
Posted by: jdhampton924

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/19/15 08:20 AM

Originally Posted By debrucey
Ignorant, pretentious and unfounded theories on a Richard Kastle scale? Or a refreshing and interesting re-evaluation of Bach's work? What do we think of him?

If anyone doesn't know who I'm talking about, search for his videos on Youtube. The one where he compares himself to a prophet is quite good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tRVudoNMLA

laugh


Well....he did compliment me on one of my Beethoven videos saying something about I played the slow movement well. In a lovely pretentious way. So I might be less harsh on him. :p
Posted by: hreichgott

Re: BachScholar - What do we think of him? - 07/19/15 05:54 PM

Originally Posted By Zebrafingers

When I started Suzuki it was straight into the book with no mentioning of hand position, finger position, nothing about the wrist, what part of the finger touch the keys, what part of the key is touched. I think it was one of my last lessons ( I took for 4 months due to circumstances beyond my control) that a statement was made about my thumb needed to stay over the keys. Gosh, I wish that had been stated earlier!

FYI, hand position, finger position, and posture are part of the very first lesson in Suzuki piano, and this is the very first area covered in Suzuki piano teacher training.

The only excuse I can possibly think of is that you had some piano background already and your teacher thought your hand position etc. was generally good.

Honestly, this post makes me wonder if your teacher was really a trained Suzuki teacher, or just someone who happened to order the Suzuki book.