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Bach, J.S. : Well-Tempered Clavier [Box set, Complete, Import]

Sviatoslav Richter Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 26.59 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

Disc: 1
1. Prelude & Fugue I BWV 846 In C Major
2. Prelude & Fugue II BWV 847 In C Minor
3. Prelude & Fugue III BWV 848 In C Sharp Major
4. Prelude & Fugue IV BWV 849 In C Sharp Minor
5. Prelude & Fugue V BWV 850 In D Major
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Prelude & Fugue XV BWV 860 In G Major
2. Prelude & Fugue XVI BWV 861 In G Minor
3. Prelude & Fugue XVII BWV 862 In A Flat Major
4. Prelude & Fugue XVIII In G Sharp Minor
5. Prelude & Fugue XIX BWV In A Major
See all 10 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Prelude & Fugue I BWV 870 In C Major
2. Prelude & Fugue II BWV 871 In C Minor
3. Prelude & Fugue III BWV 872 In C Sharp Major
4. Prelude & Fugue IV BWV 873 In C Sharp Minor
5. Prelude & Fugue V BWV 874 In D Major
See all 13 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Prelude & Fugue XIV BWV 883 In F Sharp Minor
2. Prelude & Fugue XV In G Minor
3. Prelude & Fugue XVI BWV 885 In G Minor
4. Prelude & Fugue XVII BWV 886 In A Flat Major
5. Prelude & Fugue XVIII BWV 887 In G Sharp Minor
See all 11 tracks on this disc

Product Description

The late Russian virtuoso's 1970's interpretations of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier are among the most revered recordings of the work. The four discs of this CD set collect the entire work in one package. Richter's passionate, thoughtful treatment is an absolutely breathtaking experience and essential for any lover of great music.

Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Tempered Richter May 27 2004
Format:Audio CD
What utterly hypnotic performances these are! Richter creates a different atmosphere for each prelude and fugue throughout this set. Was there ever a more "complete" pianist than Richter? He really had it all: astonishingly virtuoso technique, sensitive musicianship, and expressive poetry seemingly without limit.
I have had various WTC sets over the years: Martins, Fischer, Ruzickova (harpsichord), Tureck, Gould, and now Richter. If I could have just two, it would be Gould and Richter. Gould can be exasperating one moment and illuminating the next; his ear for polyphony was second to none, but unfortunately his constant vocalizing can get to be irritating. Richter, by contrast, is remarkably consistent: there are no real weak spots.
It is Richter's set that I would recommend to newcomers. Gould's Bach is more for those who are already familiar with the music, and who are willing to tolerate the occasional misfire and all the extraneous noises. I have heard only parts of the WTC recorded by Russian pianist Samuel Feinberg - it offers a relaxed and intimate perspective that is somewhere between Gould's and Richter's. So, if I can run down a copy of that elusive set, Feinberg will make three. But if my "desert island" turns out to be just a small sandbar, it is the Richter that will go there with me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars purified playing reflects elevated personality Aug. 27 2003
Format:Audio CD
Perhaps it takes the highest level comprehension and technique to carry out a pure performance of well-tempered clavier, and so far, no one have done it better than Richter in this recording. It is pure music, pure Bach. Nothing else. Comparing to his recoring for the "Revelation" label, it is more spiritually free and relaxed, probably helped by better recording and excellent sounding piano.
This is a textbook, or a bible, in any classical piano fan's collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simplicity is divine March 6 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
What these performances show us is that when Bach is played by a master musician, adding almost nothing of himself to the music except the highest taste, technique, and ability to deliniate the lines without utmost clarity, the music that results is spiritually moving in a way that far surpasses the results achieved by a performer who TRIES to be moving by adding his or her own emotions to the performance. Bravo Richter... he never sounded better!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars true beauty April 16 2004
Format:Audio CD
When I got to Richter's version, I was delirious with joy. Highly intelligent and absolutely outstanding recording. Completely loyal to the work, disciplined, technically on the highest level, no perfectionism, no steering, very musical and passionate without dispensable sentimentality. He always has a comprehensive concept; full of verve but never exaggerated, meditative but not swank.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Music from the highest peak. Sept. 28 2003
By Pupil
Format:Audio CD
I have just finished listening to the first disc of this four disc set. This CD included the preludes of fugues numbers 1-14. I have also finished returning to Glenn Gould for this set of Bach's masterpieces.
If Gould, whom I love and admire greatly, performs these works greatly, then there is no exaggeration in stating that Richter's performance is from beyond this realm.
It's not so much of a surprise, anyhow, since so much of what Sviatoslav has left us with is definitive; he is such a monumental and ethereal performer that there seems to be little if any interpretation going on here...he is so spiritual this guy! A Pisces!
Mr. Richter plays with surety and humility. He is a worker in the name of these divine works. There is no sense of self here. He is not making any personal statements or proclamations. He is simply playing the music, becoming the music.
This is no longer intellectual music to me, a simple excursion into the world of the fugal art form. No, this is spiritual music. After listening to this CD I put Gould's interpretation in the disc player, and finally uncovered an terrible element in his performing style - when he hums, he is patronizing the music.
Rosalyn Tureck is also very good!
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5.0 out of 5 stars bach the old fashioned way July 17 2003
Format:Audio CD
i may be wrong, but i blame glenn gould with mucking up the bach playing tradition with ego and stunts ... the humming and singing along, really ... and with few exceptions (schiff for one) it seems the bach playing ever since has tried to be "vivid" -- showy, or blindingly fast, or dynamically contrasty, heck there are so many notes! but richter comes at these pieces in the russian tradition, which is to say the middle european kapelmeister tradition. to my jaded modern ears it's a delightful revelation.
though some preludes are played quite fast, richter's tempos seem slightly on the slow side (by modern standards). but he is still able to link the voices together in continuous song across all registers. there is a remarkable quality of meditation and intense participation in these performances. the fugues are given an individual character, and unfold without mechanical repetition: the recurring themes are inflected differently as they reappear in different voices. the prelude textures are always clean and fluent. many of the interpretations seemed to me completely fresh. the famous C prelude from book 1, for example, can sometimes sound like a merry sewing machine or a happy milkmaid's guitar, but richter makes it seem to float to our ears from far away, soft and weightless -- an unexpectedly poignant effect.
the pieces were recorded in 1970-73 on a boesendorfer piano, which sounds somewhat tubby in the acoustics of the room, but richter gets an excellent aural range through variations in touch and very sparing use of pedal. the acoustics never detract from the presence of the music or richter's remarkable playing. strongly recommended.
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