Bach: Das wohltemperirte Klavier, Book 1; Das wohltemperirte Klavier, Book 2

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Das wohltemperirte Klavier, Book 1; Das wohltemperirte Klavier, Book 2
PERFORMER: Rosalyn Tureck (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 463 305-2 ADD mono Reissue (1952-3)
Performing styles in Baroque music have been transformed, in some areas almost beyond recognition, over the past 30 years, yet Bach’s music, and above all that for solo keyboard other than organ, remains remarkably impervious to prevailing orthodoxies and changing fashion. Though pianist Rosalyn Tureck recorded this reissue of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier or, more congenially, the ‘48’, almost half a century ago, neither her preference for a modern piano, which of course was unknown to Bach, nor her performing concept is in any sense dated. Only the recorded sound, perhaps, betrays the age of readings that were much admired when they were first heard and which my ears, at least, still find delicately expressive and clearly articulate.

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But there is strong competition among the many piano versions of the ‘48’ currently available and Tureck too often proves less poetic than Edwin Fischer, whose legendary recording of the Thirties has once again been reissued, by EMI, less animated and charming than Angela Hewitt (Hyperion), and seemingly reverential compared with András Schiff (Decca), or Sviatoslav Richter (RCA) to name but two other front-runners. In a word, Tureck strikes a reverential note which dilutes the wonderful athletic playfulness of the music. Nicholas Anderson