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Only the tape quality keeps this from a '5'
on September 21, 2001
This CD set comes from some tapes recorded during the '70s, and the audiophile will quickly hear this. In spite of this hiccup, the depth of the performances are striking.
In his last years, J.S. Bach wrote much of his music for the sheer joy of creating mathematically delightful pieces, hence the endless variations and inversions of the themes from "Art of the Fugue" and "Musical Offering." Some evidence suggests that J.S.B. didn't care too much whether or not the music was, in fact, performed. I think he would be struck by this performance, especially, of the 6-part ricercar - one of the most complex and repeatedly listenable compositions ever put to paper by man.
This is not necessarily a collection of music that bears constant listening to from start to finish as if it were a number of movements of a larger piece. Pick and chose your diamonds from the drawer, and leave a few for another day.