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Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier Book I / Ralph Kirkpatrick


Release Date: 02/13/2001 
Label:  Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog #: 463601   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Ralph Kirkpatrick
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 46 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Ralph Kirkpatrick recorded Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier twice, once on the harpsichord, the other time utilizing a clavichord. In his original booklet notes to Book 1, Kirkpatrick lucidly pinpoints the clavichord's timbral and tactile distinctions from its more corpulent cousin. The most important of these is that the player can slightly bend the pitch upwards after a note is struck. A slight vibrato ensues when one rapidly alternates between raised and normal pitch.


Kirkpatrick also addresses the problems of reproducing the instrument's intimate sonority on disc, an issue that is as relevant today as it was in 1959 when this recording was made. Even in a tiny room the clavichord at its loudest will be obliterated by a
Read more voice speaking at normal volume. What's more, Kirkpatrick claims that the subtle balance of attack and duration of tone that characterize his phrasing become exaggerated if the discs are played back at too high a volume. Indeed, if your volume dial is cranked up, the instrument sounds cramped, with the lower register seemingly miked at a louder level in relation to the treble. Turn it down, and you'll better absorb the beauty of Kirkpatrick's tinted nuances, the flowing rhetoric of his Preludes, and the lucid voice leading he brings to each fugue, no matter how simple or complex. His playing is scholarly without being pedantic, and free of the picky agogics and fussy ornaments that many period instrumentalists deem "authentic".


Some tempos, to be certain, move too fast for listening comfort, like the breakneck C-sharp and E-flat major preludes. Yet there's nothing mechanical or glib about Kirkpatrick's even, controlled fingerwork. You just need to concentrate at low volume in order to reap this set's many rewards. I look forward to Book II, and, of course, to Kirkpatrick's harpsichord versions of the "48". A beautiful reissue.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Ralph Kirkpatrick (Clavichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Polydor Studio, Paris, France 
Length: 105 Minutes 59 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in C major BWV 846
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in C major BWV 846
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in C minor BWV 847
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in C minor BWV 847
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in C sharp major BWV 848
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in C sharp major BWV 848
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in C sharp minor BWV 849
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in C sharp minor BWV 849
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in D major BWV 850
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in D major BWV 850
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in D minor BWV 851
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in D minor BWV 851
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in E flat major BWV 852
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in E flat major BWV 852
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in E flat minor BWV 853
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in D sharp minor BWV 853
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in E major BWV 854
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in E major BWV 854
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in E minor BWV 855
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in E minor BWV 855
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in F major BWV 856
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in F major BWV 856
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in F minor BWV 857
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in F minor BWV 857
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in F sharp major BWV 858
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in F sharp major BWV 858
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in F sharp minor BWV 859
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in F sharp minor BWV 859
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in G major BWV 860
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in G major BWV 860
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in G minor BWV 861
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in G minor BWV 861
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in A flat major BWV 862
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in A flat major BWV 862
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in G sharp minor BWV 863
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in G sharp minor BWV 863
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in A major BWV 864
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in A major BWV 864
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in A minor BWV 865
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in A minor BWV 865
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in B flat major BWV 866
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in B flat major BWV 866
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in B flat minor BWV 867
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in B flat minor BWV 867
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in B major BWV 868
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in B major BWV 868
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude in B minor BWV 869
Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue in B minor BWV 869

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