Walter Gieseking

Bach: Das wohltiemperierte Klavier 1 & 2

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Previously issued on LP and CD by Deutsche Grammophon, these recordings by Walter Gieseking of J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier date from 1950, and their status as one of the legendary sets of the 48 preludes and fugues has not been diminished by time, even though recording technology has made it a more specialized interest for pianists and musicologists. With many stereo, all-digital recordings available, the mono analog sound of these recordings may be off-putting to new listeners accustomed to state-of-the-art reproduction. However, the sound is relatively clean for its vintage, with only the slightest trace of tape hiss. Even though the audio range is narrow, all the notes can be heard distinctly and the piano has a warm tone that comes through with almost no loss of timbre or quality of touch. Gieseking was renowned for his recordings of Beethoven, Debussy, and Ravel, but his Bach interpretations were only slightly less famous and valued. One may note the occasional wrong note and some accentuation that seems unduly forced, but these are highly musical performances that show discipline and extraordinary technique. This reissue by Newton Classics is a straightforward presentation, with the two books of the Well-Tempered Clavier distributed over three discs, identical in layout to DG's 1990 reissue on CD.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1
1 3:17
2 2:48
3 3:12
4 5:37
5 2:36
6 2:42
7 4:51
8 7:59
9 2:13
10 2:53
11 1:50
12 4:17
13 2:38
14 3:41
15 3:04
16 3:18
17 3:20
18 3:41
19 2:51
20 5:23
blue highlight denotes track pick