J S Bach
The Well-tempered Clavier, Book One
£14.00 (2 CDs)
This masterwork has for three hundred years been considered Bach’s greatest contribution to keyboard music. Recognised as a foundation of excellence in playing technique and imaginative composition, it has inspired later geniuses from Mozart and Haydn through to Shostakovich.
The work forms two books, each containing 24 preludes and 24 fugues, covering all the keys of the chromatic scale. Featuring a huge variety of style and mood, it makes for memorable and highly entertaining listening. This double CD contains Book One - Preludes and Fugues numbers 1 - 24.
The instrument used in this recording is my 2016 harpsichord after an original by Nicholas Celini. (You may also be interested to see how I went about restoring the original, dated 1661.)
Total playing time CD One: 59.31
Total playing time CD Two: 62.12
This recording has prompted these responses from experts in the field:
It’s the playing that counts. And I was bowled over… The most congenial playing I have heard of this remarkable set of pieces.
Early Music Review. (Read the full review here.)
Congratulations again upon a fine achievement. In my opinion, this should be the “go to” recording of the 48.
The instrument, strung in brass, has a beautiful singing tone and gives great clarity to the part-writing. The whole experience of listening to two CDs straight through was a real pleasure. I have no hesitation in saying that this is the most congenial playing I have heard, of this remarkable set of pieces.
Your WTC1 was an absolute delight all around - recording, instrument, performance, and presentation. It took me a while to realize, by direct comparison with virtually all readings since the 1960s (about 40 sets), how extraordinary this release is. I just can’t wait to hear book 2.
Alex Sparreboom - Ohio
The recording is so clear, the interpretation is so wise - stable and grounded, yet full of feeling… E.R.
What strikes me immediately is your thoughtful approach and the wonderful sound quality. R.L.
I listened right through. It’s a fabulous recording. D. W.
I must say I have not heard this played as well, ever, nor on such a perfect vehicle. D.L.