Articles and Essays by Bradley Lehman
Since July 2015 I have been a regular on-staff reviewer for American Record Guide (print only), specializing in harpsichord recordings. On average, I review six
recordings per issue, starting with the September/October 2015 issue. [Items reviewed]
"Two dozen Bach concertos", Early Music February 2015, Vol 43 #1. I review new recordings of about 25 Bach concertos, plus the orchestral suites.
"Bach cantatas and motets: Aus der Tieffen and beyond", Early Music February 2012, Vol 40 #1, 148-152. I review about a dozen new recordings, and raise some aesthetic and editorial questions.
"Unequal Temperaments", The Viola da Gamba Society Journal vol 3 part 2 (2009), 137-163. I review a 2009 book by Claudio di Veroli, address some recent argumentation about Bach keyboard temperament, and debunk the 1979 analytical methodology of John Barnes.
"Unequal temperaments circulate again" letter to the editor, Early Music.
A call for reasonable and valid argumentation in the field of temperament research.
In Early Music (Oxford University Press), February 2010, Vol 38 #1.
[HTML] (Written and accepted for the November 2009 issue,
but all correspondence for that issue is delayed until the next.)
"Bach cantatas" Review of new CDs of Bach cantatas.
Co-author: Dr Andrew White.
In Early Music (Oxford University Press), August 2009, Vol 37 #3.
An article about Johann Sebastian Bach's tuning for harpsichords,
organs, and clavichords: published as
"Bach's extraordinary temperament: Our Rosetta Stone"
in Early Music (Oxford University Press), 2005.
The two parts are in the February and May 2005 issues.
[Outline, and download all sections free]
This tuning is my discovery in April 2004.
Part of an article in Diapason magazine, May 2005: cover story featuring the Opus 41 organ by Taylor & Boody
A review article
of harpsichord CDs by Assi Karttunen, Sergio Vartolo, Glen Wilson, and Gerald Hambitzer: "Death and the
Mayerin: Germanic harpsichord music" in
Early Music (Oxford University Press), November 2005.
The music reviewed is by Froberger, Buxtehude, JS Bach, CPE Bach, and WF Bach.
(This article's original title was "Death and the Mayerin: macaronic harpsichord music".)
"The 'Bach temperament' and the clavichord", in
Clavichord International, November 2005.
"Bach's art of temperament" (spring/summer 2006) on the web, and shorter version printed in the
August issue of BBC Music Magazine as
"In Good Temper".
An article "Musical style and transcription techniques
in Antoine Forqueray" (compositional study of his suite #1), in Choir & Organ Korea, December 2006,
pp70-103, including two complete scores of the suite. This is a Korean translation of my
graduate thesis (1994, slightly revised and reformatted 1996) on this same topic.
The translation is shortened: it omits the footnotes and my re-transcription of the suite, presenting only my
analysis of the two versions published by Forqueray's son. The score of the re-transcription is available
from me by request.
Annual CD reviews of classical music for
usually in one of the first two issues of December.
performance practice in Bach's recitatives (updated June 2005)
What does a musical performer think about?
(it's a lot more than simply learning notes from a score...) updated Nov 2004
Essay about musical performance and preparation
decoro, sprezzatura, grazia in creativity
Keyboard temperament spreadsheet... new version 15 Feb 2005, including the "Bach/Lehman 1722" temperament of my Early Music article
Music, dimensions, chaos, and extremes
(Or: why I am a pacifist, beyond the obvious basic belief that killing
people and destroying property are wrong....)
Principles of Bridge and Life (wisdom from the table...)
A review of the 1998 edition of the
Esotericism debunked: as to "composers' intentions" hiding
secret tunes in other music...and Bach, in particular
Review of Glenn Gould's radio documentary
"The Quiet in the Land" (reviewed 1996 for Mennonite Quarterly Review;
cited by Matthew McFarlane
in GlennGould Magazine Fall 2002)
Glenn Gould's Bach, some of my musical thoughts
An article about approval voting
and two related essays: "Why I choose not to vote in our present system" and
"Away with Simple Plurality!"
A tribute to Lee Eshleman (1963-2007)
If any of my ideas are unconventional, it's not from an attempt to be odd.
I simply try to have effective and well-considered ideas. If convention was wrong, so be it. - BPL, 6/30/01
I dislike lined paper. My thoughts don't fit into lines that are all the same size. - BPL, 9/15/01
An artistic Credo:
Great performance is a creative and imaginative act of communication,
speaking directly to the audience in
the language of musical speech and gesture. It is not an attempt to articulate
another person's intentions exactly, which is impossible.
Nor is it a slavish adherence to instructions, a supposedly selfless
attempt to reproduce some platonically perfect work according to a set of rules.
A performer must bring the music to
life today, with exactly the right expression relevant to the actual moment.
Historical knowledge is helpful insofar as it encourages performers to be
more insightful, expressive, and communicative: recognizing the music's character
and its native language, identifying its unique features,
taking all of that to heart, and finding some way to bring it out.
It can free performers from the deadly
habit of not thinking--as long as it does not simply replace that
with some different habit of not thinking!
At its best, historical techniques of expression enlarge a performer's imagination and
command of the musical language (vocabulary, syntax, and usage patterns).
It sparks one to approach the music in a vital and creative manner, today,
thinking and feeling like a composer or improvisor in the moment of inspiration:
coming to the performance with fluent language and something to say.
Such is the type of performance that allows the music to live and breathe,
as natural communication among living souls.
- BPL, 4/12/03