Blogging Pachelbel #8 — Gerhardt/National Philharmonic

Another workaday performance — they play the notes and rhythms on the page within the style they’ve been trained to follow.

The era of this recording is not entirely clear — the continuo bass is very heavy, with an unimaginative tinkly harpsichord playing nothing but unidiomatic unrolled chords on the beats of the bass line, and a hint of organ at the beginning. The overall approach to the canon is to just play it and let it come out as it comes out, except for a tendency that’s quite obvious in a lot of recordings at the beginning, to delay the foregrounding of the fifth couplet (m. 9-10 in v. 1) until the second half of the measure. This is likely as much an acoustical phenomenon as anything else (the 1st violins are below the 2nds here), but it has bothered me in all the recordings so far, given that what is presented seems to me to be an exaggeration of what happens naturally acoustically. It’s as though the first violins hold back in the first half of m. 9 in order that when they leap up to the C# they can become VERY, VERY PROMINENT. The wave form seen in my audio editing program confirms this — the amplitude jumps noticeably at this point.

Other than that, this is yet another performance where no one is imaginative enough to figure out that notes without slurs over them can still be played legato.

In other words, more of the same.