Luc Beausejour

Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1

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The distinctive contribution of this recording of Book One of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846-869, is not the competent but essentially straight-ahead performance by Quebec harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour. Rather it is the harpsichord itself. It was built in 1985 by the team of Réjean Poirier and Yves Beaupré (Poirier confusingly uses a royal "we" in his notes). The pair "undertook to construct an instrument on the basis of the sound ideal which we sought," instead of copying an existing instrument. Furthermore, they strove for maximum clarity in polyphonic passages, a general trait of central German harpsichords of Bach's day. The instrument is something special to hear. In the famous C major prelude that opens the set, one will hear its rich resonance, evocative almost of a pedaled piano. Continue on into the fugues and you'll hear a fine percussive quality, heavy yet clear, that brings out the marble-like density of Bach's polyphony. If something has to give, it's the harpsichord's upper register; the preludes in which an upper melodic line hovers above big chords in the octave above middle C tend to overemphasize the middle and lose the top. It's possible that this problem would disappear with the use of certain kinds of playback equipment or adjustment, and even if not, it only goes to show that the art of harpsichord building is alive and well and creating new challenges even as it solves old ones. Certainly interesting for serious lovers of Baroque keyboard music.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Well-Tempered Clavier (24), collection of preludes & fugues, Book I, BWV 846-869 (BC L80-103)
1
1:57 Amazon
2
1:46
3
1:38
4
1:38 Amazon
5
1:20
6
2:41
7
2:36
8
3:45
9
1:24
10
1:57
11
1:30
12
2:07
13
4:03
14
2:02
15
3:25
16
5:34
17
1:27
18
1:18
19
2:25
20
1:27
21
1:13
22
1:28
23
1:55
24
3:43
25
1:45
26
2:15
27
1:19
28
3:32
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