Bach: Die Kunst der Fuge; Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Opus 111
WORKS: Die Kunst der Fuge; Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826
PERFORMER: Grigory Sokolov (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: OP 30346 Reissue (1982)
Grigory Sokolov made his recording of Bach’s The Art of Fugue in St Petersburg 20 years ago. Its reissue

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is welcome, for this is a carefully considered and reflective performance, whose lucid textures reflect an intellectual rigour if, at times, somewhat at the expense of lyricism. Sokolov treats the great unfinished double fugue on four themes with nobility and a feeling for ‘occasional’ gesture, yet I also sensed a little too much deliberation, a spelling-out which denies the innate poetry to emerge freely. Neither harpsichord nor organ can point up the fugal strands in the way a percussive instrument such as the piano is able to do, yet the musical argument can emerge just as clearly. So much for the reservations for, in most other respects, I enjoyed Sokolov’s spirited, rhythmically taut, and sometimes playful interpretation of what CPE Bach described as ‘the most perfect practical fugal work’. It would be my first choice among the very few available versions on a modern piano. Nicholas Anderson