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  • Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1
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Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1


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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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$34.25
Vinyl
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$30.00

Product Details

  • Performer: Wanda Landowska
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: RCA Red Seal
  • ASIN: B000003EP0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,577 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Prelude In C
2. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Fugue In C
3. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Prelude In C Minor
4. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Fugue II In C Minor
5. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Prelude III In C-Sharp
6. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Fugue In C-Sharp
7. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Prelude IV In C-Sharp Minor
8. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Fugue IV In C-Sharp Minor
9. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Prelude V In D
10. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Fugue V In D
See all 24 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Prelude XIII In F-Sharp
2. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Fugue XII In F-Sharp
3. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Prelude XIV In F-Sharp Minor
4. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Fugue XIV In F-Sharp Minor
5. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Prelude XV In G
6. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Fugue XV IN G
7. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Prelude XVI In G Minor
8. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Fugue XVI In G Minor
9. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Prelude XVII In A Flat
10. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Fugue XVII In A Flat
See all 24 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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4 star
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See all 9 customer reviews
She is more than a simple interpreter , she is a real shaman in this work .
Hiram Gomez Pardo
It is great having hours of great music I can just sit down and listen to as I read a book or study.
Amazon Customer
What one hears than is Wanda Landowska at the absolute pinnacle of her powers.
G. Lawrence

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 66 people found the following review helpful By John Austin VINE VOICE on August 9, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Although she had championed the playing of Bach's keyboard works on the harpsichord for most of her life, Wanda Landowska was not invited to record his "48" until she was 70 years old. The first third of Book One was recorded in New York in 1949. "If I am to complete this, my last will and testament," Landowska then said, "the recording equipment and team will need to be brought to my home in Connecticut." Her request was granted, and the project was ultimately concluded there in 1954. The result is a listening experience that no lover of Bach's works would want to be without. Here are thoughtful, vivid, grave and sparkling performances that command attention and live long in the memory. Some might argue that Landowska's specially-made Pleyel harpsichord is as far removed from Bach's keyboard instrument as is the modern pianoforte, and that her "grand manner" playing is outmoded today, but a few minutes listening should be enough to disarm all criticism. Listen to the grandeur of the eighth fugue and the bright sonorities heard in the second prelude, and you will have been introduced to the special magic that the combination of Bach and Landowska produced. Those familiar with the works will hear that Landowska alters the note values of the theme in the first fugue. In the accompanying essays which she supplies herself, she justifies the alteration, claiming her examination of the earliest manuscript revealed that additions were made later in a fresher ink. I wonder if forensic evidence has shown her to be right.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By G. Lawrence on April 30, 2007
Format: Audio CD
My comments apply to both Books I and II:

It's hard to put into words really, what it is about Wanda Landowska. If one steps away from "modern" musical conventions for a moment and really honestly listens to what Madame Landowska has to say, it can be an experience which is eye-opening to say the least.

Landowska, as I have said before in my review of her Scarlatti recordings, was not concerned with "authentic interpretation", really what she strove toward was a musical realization which would bring the listener close to the spirit of Bach's music. That being said, a word about the Pleyel and Landowska's ideal sound is crucial to understanding Landowska's reading of the 48.

The Pleyel Harpsichord was built with the express purpose of catching the Harpsichord up to its rival the Concert Grand Piano. Its many registers, far from being superfluous, highlight fugal composition and add heighten the drama of certain musical phrases. Its sound is unique; therefore it is not accurate to compare it to its ancestors. A lot of the Pleyel's sound characteristics are the way they are for two reasons, first the sound must posses enough volume and sustain that it can work in a large concert hall without amplification, and secondly it must record well. With these two aims in mind Landowska's sound is perfect for the task at hand.

The other factor besides the instrument itself which must be considered, is the circumstances surrounding the recording itself. In 1949, the year in which recording started on the 48, Landowska had just turned 70. She had finally recovered from the shock of the war years and was now set on leaving behind a monument to her life's work.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Fernand Ray on September 24, 2007
Format: Audio CD
So many fine review/comments have been left here, that I just wanted to add that the sheer power of the harpsichord is often overlooked, and that the personal force of Wanda Landowska, so visible in her hands, as projected by this instrument, is one of the great aspects of this recording. Bach was a strong man, not an effete plucker of trills, and yet somehow the piano did not appeal to him. Granted the early fortepiano was primitive, but still, given the dynamic sensitivity but weak volume of the clavichord, and the tinkling of the harpsichord, it seems he would have been drawn to the fortepiano. The reason for Bach's preferences is obvious when you hear Landowska: this is not a tinkling instrument, and many modern recordings are too delicate, not manly enough. The massive harpsichord she had made by Playel, and filled whole concert halls with, sounds much like a smaller instrument in a small room. The range of tonalities at her disposal is not atypical of a fine harpsichord of the baroque era. I can't forget my impression of playing a dual-manual harpsichord after playing a clavichord in the same setting, and thinking "what a MASSIVE sound!". In this sense there is nothing false about her instrument or her approach, and many a subsequent interpretation just sounds dry and wimpy. Her playing roars and sings, it is in turn delicate, tragic and gargantuan. It is indeed her last will. She shuns the excessive trills and ornamentations. It sounds like a pipe organ, a piano, a clavichord, with everything in between. What an avalanche of emotion and sound! Nobody since then has equaled her in range and power, and though I can appreciate many other interpretations, this is the one with cojones! A different take on Bach, and a must-have!
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