I hope not to be misleading, but this is one interpretation of WTC I, and Bach, that distincly communicates an "idea of form in itself". I'm quoting, of course, Plato, and this is certainly a "mathematical" vision of Bach, to be sharply contrasted to more "human" renditions of the work (like the excellent Hantai's, for instance).
A "mathematical", formal or structural approach to Bach is native to his music. And in this respect this interpretation is closer in essence to WTC II or the Art of Fugue. The performance is therefore "intelligible", especially in the fugues (from the very first in C and of course c# minor, to the "sans pareille" renditions of the fugues in e flat minor, f# minor and b minor). I know of no other interpretation of WTC I with this sense of scale, and rigorous (and ambitious, may a I say?) "grandeur" as well. Only Nikolayeva (on the piano) and Leonhardt come close (Landowska's and Tureck's interpretations are great, but sound as if coming from "high-priestesses" of Bach, and thus more "human").
This is a landmark interpretation of WTC I, a veritable reference to this work. And like many great works it seems that it will too share a "fate of scarceness". It's striking to me that I could found it last year and now it's gone out of print, like most of the other grand interpretations of Parmentier. Don't even hesitate to grab a copy, even at collectible prices.
Anyway, I want to include a link to a complementary review that, while acknowledging the structural clarity ("intelligibility", in my words) in the interpretation, expresses reservation on the "restraint on Parmentier's part concerning emotional intensity." I think we have enough of very good "emotional" interpretations of this music while, as I said above, a formal or "mathematical" level is native to Bach's work. It is certainly more native to later works like WTC II and Art of Fugue, but it truly enlightens an earlier work like WTC I. In this respect Parmentier's interpretation has no equals.
Here's the link: