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Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier
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Customer Reviews:

  • The Great Master | Well-Temperament and the 'Wolf Fifth' |
    Johann Sebastian Bach |1685-1750|
    'The Well-Tempered Clavier'
    Sviatoslav Richter-piano

    Bach wrote The Well-Tempered Clavier to demonstrate the musical possibilities of 'well-temperament'.The Well-Tempered system enabled the twelve notes of the standard keyboard to be tuned in such a way that it was possible to play music in most major and minor keys without most of the keys perceptibly sounding out of tune.In most tuning systems of the day,this was not possible to achieve.The Well-Tempered Clavier is presented in two volumes,comprised of a Prelude and Fugue written in all 24 keys.Bk 1. was composed in(1722),and Bk.11 in (1742).Bach writes "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning,and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in these studies".The very nature of the pieces(as implied by it's title page) established a tuning system for harmonics which were to become the bases for all Western Music composed from the time of it's publication through the 20th Century.Beethoven was highly influenced by The Well-Tempered Clavier, and was noted for using many of it's compositional ideas as a foundation for his own musical creations.It inevitably had an overwhelming impact and influence on the great composers of the Classical,Romantic,and Post Romantic period.It is generally regarded as the most influential work in the history of Western Classical Music.
    There are many remarkable interpretations of the 'Well-Tempered Clavier',and I am fully aware that everyone is entitled to his opinions and reactions,as this is the beauty of all the arts.Despite the sound quality of the recording,Sviatoslav Richter's performance of the WTC, is one of the finest on record.
    I hope you enjoy it.

    ...more info
  • true beauty
    When I got to Richter's version, I was delirious with joy. Highly intelligent and absolutely outstanding recording. Completely loyal to the work, disciplined, technically on the highest level, no perfectionism, no steering, very musical and passionate without dispensable sentimentality. He always has a comprehensive concept; full of verve but never exaggerated, meditative but not swank....more info
  • 5-star performance, 0-star recording
    These are undoubtedly the recordings that appeared on the JVC label in the early days of CD. The performances are unquestionably fine, but the cavernous echo throughout is quite distracting. It is hard to believe that professional audio engineers could have produced such abominable sound. Did they monitor as they went along? I have not heard this RCA incarnation, but I suspect they were unable to do much useful correction.

    We can all be thankful that Richter recorded so prolifically. Better to have something from this great artist than nothing. However, he was frequently ill served by his recording engineers. Too bad. With just competent recording, we could have had one of the great WTCs....more info
  • Paradise Found!
    Don't die yet! Listen to this first... and know what you'll be missing if you don't go to heaven! These magnific recordings were made during early 70'ties, when Richter was arround 55 years old and on the top of his mastery - making the Bosendorfer piano sing like an angel (!), - a miracle, lets say, that made of it my favorite recording of WTC.

    The sound quality is '4 stars', but the musicality is outstanding: on tempos, rubbatos, melodic lines, colors and fit's Richter's recording among other archangels' of this masterwork, as Fischer's, Tureck's, Gould's and Demus's....more info

  • Is it only the bad quality of recording?
    The quality of the recording is very bad indeed. Above all there is a terrible resonance effect, and also the timbre is awful. But it isn't only this. There is something else for me, very important. It seems to me that the piano sustaining pedal is used very much, almost always. When Richter take away fingers and feet, the sound "aura" that remains is by far much less, and not only at the end of the peice, where could came into the work of sound engineer. That's also typical of the romantic school that Richter represent... And that, playng Bach, would be really unbearable! On the other hand, otherwise, he would had never approved this recording for issuing. The recording I'm talking about is the Salzburg 1970 one of the first book of the work (that I bought fotunately low price with a classic music magazine) and I'm sure enough is the same of this cd set.

    Post Scriptum: And the torn, destroyed and burned score on the cover what is it? A freudian slip (lapsus), a provocation (they are "screwing around" us) or what?

    If you don't like Glenn Gould Bach, listen Martha Argerich Bach (Toccata BWV 911, Patita BWV 826, Englishe suite No.2 BWV 807, last two in particular) or Dinu Lipatti (partita No.1)... And learn.

    Ah... RICHTER SAID HIMSELF in an interview that the best Well tempered clavier is the Glenn Gould one....more info
  • Richter and Bach
    One of the three best recordings of the Well-Tempered Klavier. I also like Gould and Barenboim....more info
  • From other world
    You know, I am not real Bach fan, I like many other composers much more, but there are few recordings of Bach which are great, fantastic and have the place of honour in my (very large) collection. For example Goldberg variations with Gould and Tureck, anything with Casals whether playing or conducting, Milstein solo violin, Menuhin concertos, and of course this Well Tempered Clavier with Richter. I like also Gould and Barenboim, but the Richter version is by far the best, divine, otherworldly. It is once-in-a-lifetime recording, although it is true that Richter made quite a few once-in-a-lifetime recordings! The tenderness, vastness, insight, creativity, it is all there in plenitude. Quite a miracle. I believe that Bach would be very happy about this recording....more info
  • Simplicity is divine
    What these performances show us is that when Bach is played by a master musician, adding almost nothing of himself to the music except the highest taste, technique, and ability to deliniate the lines without utmost clarity, the music that results is spiritually moving in a way that far surpasses the results achieved by a performer who TRIES to be moving by adding his or her own emotions to the performance. Bravo Richter... he never sounded better!...more info