Customer Reviews: Bach: Complete Works for Harpsichord
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on July 13, 2013
Even at the incredibly low price of 99 cents for all of Bach's solo harpsichord music, I considered this set with some trepidation. This was because I remembered Galling's VoxBox recordings from the 1960s as sufficiently clear and accurate, but also rather hard-edged, literal-minded, and charmless. In fact, a friend described Galling's Bach as "like a mathematical machine-gun," and my sense was that I was listening to a dodged musical plodder rather than a real musician. Finally, however, given the low cost and the fact that the set contained a few pieces I didn't already own, I decided to bite the bullet.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid I don't care for Galling's performances any more now than I did in my college days. To my ears, his playing lacks the kind of poetry, rhythmic spring, or imaginative phrasing one finds in different ways in keyboardists like Leonhardt, Pinnock, Staier, Gould, Lipatti, Hewitt, Schiff, Horzowski, Richter, or my latest discovery, the pianist James Friskin who appears in Bach Guild's recently offered Bigger Bach Set.

Galling is OK as background music, but when I listening to him with any attention for even a few minutes, I find myself "changing channels" to some performance I enjoy more. If you're new to Bach's wonderful keyboard music and pick up this set, don't make any final judgements about Bach until you hear his music played by one of the other keyboardists I've mentioned.

Vox did employ some very fine pianists back in the day, including Alfred Brendel, Abbey Simon, Walter Frankl, Walter Klien, Michael Ponti, and Jerome Rose (whose Liszt 'Années de Pèlerinage' is quite extraordinary). You might like Galling's Bach more than I do, and for 99 cents you can't really go that far wrong. This review would be 1 or 2 stars if the price were higher. However, consider exploring some other performers before or after you've heard Galling's Bach.

If you're looking for REAL bargains, search out some of the alternate Vox performers mentioned above, and also check out Bach Guild's various Big Boxes (Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Mozart, Hadyn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, etc, etc), which in my view are true must-buys.
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on July 14, 2013
If you like or love Harpsichord music, or just love Bach's works, this is a wonderful purchase to make. I love Harpsichords and can listen to them for hours and not necessarily in a row. it is relaxing music. I have never seen such a collection of works offered in one download. It is amazing. I think that is how Amazon got their name. Not from the river, but from AmazeOn line. You have to be amazed at this offer. i can't say i will sit down and listen to all 15+ hours at one time, but i will listen to it all fairly fast. I am always amazed at keyboard music. There are always two songs being played that must intertwine. The right hand plays the lead song mostly and the left hand plays an accompanying song in harmony. There is nothing better than a harpsichord to bring both melodies to the front and let you hear them clearly. The loud crisp pang of each string being hit is like no other instrument. Bach's works bring this all out and clearly to your ears. It is very relaxing to sit back and hear the melodies of each hand bring that clear crisp harmony of notes to our minds, letting us wonder thru the forest of
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on July 11, 2013
This recent Vox release came to my attention through WOOT! Community Forum deals and boy did I ever WOOT! a deal this time...

Almost Four Hundred, no the listing isn't an error, pieces which comprise the entirety of Bach's collected harpsichord compositions as performed by Martin Golling in an all digital environment make this a rare enough set even if you had to acquire the physical discs. Mercifully this is also a set of performances MADE for the MP3 / digital music format.

I'll be enjoying this for a quite a while [at the VERY least 15 hours 55 minutes and 20 seconds according to iTunes], perhaps on random OR perhaps in sequence to appreciate the overall structure of the master's touch.

Enjoy & pass on the word.
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on October 20, 2013
These recordings are simply marvellous!!
I have been familiar with these recordings from when they first showed up on LP. VOX actually produced a very well engineered series. They are consistently beautifully recorded. They may be the largest compilation by a single artist of the BACH keyboard music. This was either the first or second such large scale recording project of its type. The instrument used sounds very full and rounded. Not at all like the trash the original instrument crowd insists be used as "accurate" reconstructions. Nor, quite as full as Landowska's Pleyel--which was specially constructed for her. Nor does it have the reverberant richness of a pedal harpsichord. None the less....beautiful.

Most of these recordings have been released on the membran label in germany, but not all....and I cant understand that.

As to the interpretations: stunning. Easily the equal of Landowska, Walsha and Gilbert...The performances are "straight foward". No real embellishments or eccentricities, Galling studied the surviving literature reguarding how to play the music and is quite faithful to the composer. Galling even attempted to configure the harpsichord after information that survives from the Bach sons.
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on December 5, 2015
I would recommend this for music students who want to hear Bach's "Clavier-Werke" for didactic purposes, maybe following with a score, as they are played in a very precise and clear manner on an obviously good instrument, without being too fast or with too many ornamentations. The sound engineering quality is excellent- harpsichords can be tricky to record satisfactorily; this one is a good job! Therefore I would have given 4, even 5 stars.

However, after having listened to Bach's keyboard works played by Wanda Landovska, Helmut Walcha, Gustav Leonhardt, Glenn Gould and others, I cannot say that I am precisely enraptured by this version, which rather seems to follow the "Urtext" school of thought - to play the works as they are written, following a sense of "historical correctness". Three stars for that one! Johann Sebastian Bach left almost no dynamic or tempo indications, leaving it up to the player to do the interpretation and the ornamentation in accordance to his or her creativity, technical skill, and (hopefully good) taste, as was common practice at that time.
Nevertheless... it is nice to get the whole collection "under one roof" for an affordable price. Listening to this whole recording from A to Z is not recommended, better to individual works. And 'connoisseurs' better skip this one and search for a more artistic interpretation.
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on March 18, 2014
Quite a lot of J.S. Bach's important work is within this copious compendium of his music! This is a must have for any student of Bach, and it comes at such a great price!!! Something else that I would like to mention about this recording is that the harpsichord, which can seem monotonous when the plectrum is especially noisy, is quite tame and enjoyable to hear! I don't know if this is the result of the work of the sound engineer, or of the performer, or if it is a unique combination of the two, but it is perhaps the most enjoyable recording of works performed on a harpsichord that I have heard. Of course, if you are purchasing this merely for listen pleasure alone, I advise you that listening to any single instrument for a long period of time can become a bit monotonous: therefore, my recommendation to the aficionado is not merely to purchase this set of recordings, but also to obtain some additional recordings to enhance your listening experience. My top three recommendations would have to be Bach's cello suites, his suites for solo violin, and his works for lute. You would far from go wrong if you also purchased a recording of his Brandenburg Concertos, and most certainly, everyone should have a copy of Cantata 147, in which is found one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring!!!
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on August 5, 2013
Well first let me say that IMO Galling's performances here I think are quite acceptable. The harpsichord(s) he uses seem to be more of the Italian variety (?), a rather harsh sound but one that is capable of virtuoso brilliance. Also, this may not be everything Bach composed for keyboard -- I think the Notebook for Anna Magdelena Bach is missing (?). I bought this as a companion to the other Companion complete organ works. Each for so little money it makes it a no-brainer almost.
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on March 26, 2014
Nice collection, The performance's are pretty good, I'd describe the performer as very steady and precise. Some of the tempos seem a little bit slow, but i kind of like it, it gives this collection a different flavor from other versions of these pieces i have. Who knows maybe these are the correct tempos? The harpsichord sounds pretty good not too much room reverberation, I personally don't like too much room reverberation for harpsichord recordings. It sounds like they used at least two microphones on this recording, one close up and one further away. For the price you cant go wrong, 377 tracks of Bach for 2.99 (I somehow got it for $1.99), I discovered a few Bach pieces i hadn't heard before, which is something a price can not be put on.
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on November 15, 2013
I love Bach's Harpsichord pieces. I used to go to Licorice Pizza in So Cal and buy them on the Nonesuch label for a buck 99. They were great to listen to during the 2 weeks of rain we used to get every December.

The story of the Bach family is well worth a reading and even more so a listening. The 4 piece string quartets music, the chorales to the full on orchestrated pieces, all from one family! Oh, the price was right as well. So download this, sit back in your favorite chair, or pick up a good book and prepare for a very pleasant evening.
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on January 13, 2014
I know Bach was a prolific composer, but WOW! Got this for my wife, who loves harpsichord music, and there's more than enough for even the most fanatical fan of this baroque instrument. The recordings were good quality and Mr. Galling is apparently one of the top interpreters of this music form, but too many of these pieces sounded too much alike. Honestly, the first 15 minutes were enough for me, but my wife can listen to it all day and loves it.
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