This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Kenneth Gilbert's recording of Bach's 48 greatly impressed me when I first heard the five-record issue in 1984. I have listened to it many times since then and have in no respect changed my views. In Book 1(1722) there are virtually no markings and so the performer carries heavy responsibility for phrasing and articulation. Gilbert's blend of scholarship and technique with artistic sensibility makes for notably convincing, often poetic playing. The D minor Prelude is one of many instances where his interpretation haunts the memory. His vital rhythmic sense and love of refinement are qualities in Gilbert's artistry which can be strongly felt throughout this vast project. Some readers may feel that he is comparatively unadventurous in his
registration—Leonhardt (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi—LP only), for example, makes a greater point of differentiation through instrumental colour—but it is one of the features of Gilbert's performance that 1 find particularly praiseworthy, since he clearly and effectively achieves his contrasts through interpretation renouncing the facility to emphasize them by more artificial means. In textural clarity Gilbert yields nothing to his competitors in this repertoire and, in short, arrives at a solution which is refined, lyrical and sometimes dazzlingly virtuosic, as in the Prelude in B flat, BWV866.
The digitally-recorded LPs were first rate in their sound and apart from the saving of one LP there is hardly any greater merit in the new fourdisc CD issue other than the usual advantages concerning surfaces, etc. It is, of course, convenient to listen to 12 preludes and fugues, as opposed to six, without interruption, yet six at a time for me is about right. Both formats include lavish and informed presentation and, as I mentioned in the earlier review, the acoustic of the Musee de Chartres is pleasantly resonant. Gilbert plays a seventeenth-century Flemish harpsichord enlarged first by Blanchet and then by Taskin in thc following century. A satisfying achievement and an important release.
-- Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone [2/1987]
reviewing the original release of Kenneth Gilbert's WTC, DG 413439
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