JS Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Clavier

COMPOSERS: JS Bach
LABELS: Alpha
ALBUM TITLE: JS Bach
WORKS: Das Wohltemperierte Clavier
PERFORMER: Andrei Vieru (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 94
Andrei Vieru’s second book of Bach’s ‘48’ Preludes and Fugues has followed swiftly upon the release of his Book One a few months ago (reviewed in April). By-and-large,

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I enjoyed that recording while at the same time expressing a wish that he would be less self-effacing in his musical gestures. He can be, as I remarked in my earlier review, a more reflective player than Edwin Fischer and Glenn Gould, and a more legato one than Angela Hewitt. Yet his use of the sustaining pedal is too indulgent for my ears – certainly he often applies it more generously than we find in the playing of these three rivals, or indeed in the playing of Vladimir Ashkenazy in his recent recording of the ‘48’ (on Decca, May’s Disc of the Month).

Vieru’s playing strikes a serious

and deeply reflective note and his lightly articulate approach is very appealling – the C sharp Prelude

and Fugue provides an example of

his most engaging playing. But, as

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in his Book 1, here I was longing for those strikingly individual characteristics which colour and define the Bach playing of Fischer who, especially in Book 2, reveals poetic insights to the music which have seldom been equalled by other pianists. His intuitive way with an inner melodic voice and his innate skill in bringing it to the surface are qualities that I miss in Vieru’s performance. Notwithstanding, his dislike for those aggressive and unappealing gimmicks which some players use to highlight a particular fugal strand, Vieru’s ‘48’ seems monochrome beside his strongest rivals. Nicholas Anderson