Sviatoslav Richter

Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I

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AllMusic Review by

With its magnificent and magisterial performances by Sviatoslav Richter, one would have imagined that this 1970 recording of the First Book of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier would be on the shelf of everyone who reveres Richter and worships Bach. But, in fact, they're not and the simple reason for it is that Richter's performances sound like they were taped in a drafty castle in Austria using a paper cup and a string. Like all Richter's other Bach recordings, everything about Richter's performance is unsurpassed in the repertoire: Richter's Well-Tempered Clavier is characterized by its intellectual rigor and spiritual austerity and one can hear the voice of infinity singing in his playing. But the sound was then and, unfortunately, still is now extremely difficult to take, even for Richter fans who will take almost any amount of noise and distortion to hear their idol. But even his fans have balked at the small, dim, gray sound of these recordings and, for all their magnificence, Richter's 1970 recording of the Well-Tempered Clavier has languished in relative obscurity. This current 24 super bit remastering is only marginally better in that it allows the listener to hear the occasional creak from the piano in the same small, dim, gray sound. While this disc is well worth hearing, it is debatable how often it will be heard.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
The Well-Tempered Clavier (24), collection of preludes & fugues, Book I, BWV 846-869 (BC L80-103)
1
1:58
2
2:34
3
1:18
4
1:43
5
1:14
6
2:05
7
3:14
8
6:25
9
1:08
10
1:56
11
1:26
12
2:35
13
3:41
14
1:29
15
4:25
16
6:31
17
1:05
18
1:08
19
1:54
20
1:09
21
0:55
22
1:19
23
2:09
24
5:24
25
1:23
26
2:17
27
0:51
28
4:19
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