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Well Tempered Clavier Book 1

5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 28, 1992
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$21.99 $62.12
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 28, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005J10
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,862 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
I have heard quite a few recordings of The Well Tempered Clavier, and none is quite like this one. Aldwell gives a performance that draws emotion and feeling out of what are lifeless exercises to all too many other performers. His playing is emotional and serene when it needs to be, as in the C major prelude, and fiery and fast as in the C-sharp minor prelude. He definitely has the ability to play this material with virtuosity and verve. More than this, though, is the extraordinary knowledge Aldwell brings to his playing. He is one of the lead music theorists of our time, author of a text that I and many other music students use in class week after week at universities across the country. This theoretical knowledge shows in his playing, as he brings out key melody lines, accentuates certain harmonies, and uses highly appropriate tempi. The fugues are especially magnificent, as their performance truly demands a theoretical knowledge of the music and of the structures of the pieces. Subjects and countersubjects are clear and give this half of the disc what I see as extra performance value. In short, this is an excellent disc with an excellent rendering of some truly wonderful pieces.
Comment 16 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on December 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is a marvelous release. I've never heard WTC:1 sound so light-fingered and humane. Aldwell's lyical use of voice-leading, tempo, rubato, and touch-sensitivity succeed in freeing these often times motor-note pieces from "metronome hell". They really do breathe.
All you have to do is compare Jando's well-reviewed Naxos version of "Prelude in C" with Aldwell's to hear the profound difference between "playing the notes" and "making music". Even with this deceptiveliy simple piece, Aldwell brings a lithe vulnerability to the same arpeggios with which Jando barrels up and down the keyboard in rigid precision. Rest assured that Aldwell's playing throughout WTC:I remains just as intelligent and sensitive to the poetry of Bach's music.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the greatest Well-tempered Clavier Book 1 on the piano, PERIOD!

Forget Gould, Aldwell is the true successor to Tureck. His phrasing and style are perfect. I own 20 different recordings of the WTC and this is by far my favorite. In fact, I no longer listen to any other piano version.

Nonesuch as really committed a travesty here by letting this go out of print. Not only that but they have recently released another recording of the WTC Book 1...WHY?

To make matters worse, it appears people are trying to capitalize on the rareness of the recording and charging more than a $100 for a used copy.

Please Nonesuch...do the world a favor and re-release this brilliant recording!
1 Comment 9 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
I have owned this set for several years now and the performances never cease to move and amaze me. Mr. Aldwell brings such care and attention to each prelude and fugue, and makes each one into a very special individual. The thought and emotion put into his interpetations show his extreme love for this music. Very highly recommended!
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Format: Audio CD
The late, great Edward Aldwell was not only a superb interpreter of Bach but also a preeminent scholar of Schenkerian Musical Analysis. (Aldwell co-wrote what is probably the finest music harmony textbook ever written--"Harmony and Voice Leading".) His deep understanding of classical music gives his Bach performances a beauty, depth, and clarity that one does not find anywhere else in the record catalog. His untimely death at the age of 68 from a vehicular accident is one of the great losses to the world of classical music.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a marvelous release. I've never heard Bach's WTC sound so light-fingered and humane. Aldwell's poetic use of tempo, rubato and touch-sensitivity succeed in freeing these often times motor-note pieces from "metronome hell". They really breathe.
All you have to do is compare Jando's well-reviewed Naxos version of "Prelude in C" with Aldwell's to hear the profound difference between "playing the notes" and "making music". Even with this deceptively simple piece, Aldwell brings a lithe vulnerability to the same arpeggios with which Jando barrels up and down the keyboard in metronomic precision. Rest assured that Aldwell's playing throughout BOOK ONE remains just as intelligent and sensitive to the musical meaning of Bach's notes.
(And why hasn't the otherwise fine Gramophone or Penguin Guide ever seen fit to review this CD? Shame on them!)
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Format: MP3 Music
Full disclosure: I am neither a musician nor technically knowledgeable in musical matters. OK, that's done. I adore the WTC and have done so for years. I have always been and basically remain a Glenn Gould fanatic (when Gould is at his best, as in Book II's C-sharp major prelude and fugue, he is to my mind unparalleled in this music). But lately I have been feeling unsatisfied by Gould's often rushed tempos. I actually own four versions of the complete WTC and have sampled many more. Nothing I've heard beyond Gould's have clicked for me. Then I stumbled on Aldwell's version. Simply stated, this is a marvelous recording. Aldwell can play fast when the music requires, but he is comfortable at all tempos and his WTC "sings"; I can put it no other way (and I don't mean humming a la Gould). The WTC, especially Book II, is actually quite tuneful, and Aldwell brings that out while keeping the music moving forward better than anyone else. What ultimately differentiates Gould from everyone else for me is his left hand; nobody else has the left-hand clarity and presence like he does. But Aldwell comes very, very close while frequently playing with more sensitivity. I urge anyone interested in this music to try this recording (and his Book I as well). This is available only as an MP3 download, but the sound is surprisingly good and the price unbeatable.
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