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Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier Book 1 / Luc Beauséjour


Release Date: 03/27/2007 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557625   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Luc Beauséjour
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 51 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Collectors who've enjoyed Luc Beauséjour's sensitive collaborations with violinist James Ehnes in the Bach Violin Sonatas will find the harpsichordist on solid footing as a solo artist over the course of Book 1's 24 Preludes and Fugues. In general, Beauséjour is a centrist. He channels his clean, fluent technique toward musical ends, favors steady tempos that broach no extremes, and largely eschews the fussy agogic arrhythmia one too many harpsichordists manifest in the name of authenticity. Some of the more upbeat selections are a shade stolid and square and would benefit from greater vivacity and scintillation, such as the C minor, C-sharp major, E-flat major, and A minor fugues, or the D major, G major, A minor, and B-flat Read more major preludes. Yet Beauséjour also offers stimulating interpretations.

I like his relatively free, uncommonly alla breve treatment of the B minor prelude. Notice, too, in the A major fugue, how Beauséjour's accentuation and careful observance of rests illuminates Bach's cross-rhythmic manipulation of phrases within the time signature. And a subtle ear governs Beauséjour's finger legato mastery. For example, by prolonging certain notes a split second beyond their written duration, the harpsichordist intensifies the E-flat minor prelude's poignant lyricism and brings similar textural variety to the B-flat minor prelude's accompanying chords.

Beauséjour uses a German harpsichord built in 1985 by Porier/Beaupré of Montreal. It's an attractive instrument, though not quite so singular and transparent as those employed by Blandine Verlet or Pierre Hantaï in their respective Book 1s. Naxos provides fine sound and annotations.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 111 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ont., Canada (07/04/2005 - 07/08/2005); St. John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ont., Canada (10/28/2005 - 10/31/2005) 

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