Looking for the ideal version of the Art of the Fugue is like looking for the ideal version of heaven. There are too many variants, too many interpretations. Yet, over many years, this has been the version to which I have returned most frequently.
The sound of the harpsichord here is beautiful. The playing is sober without being pedantic, there is a fair dynamic range and the transcendental Contrapuncti 4, 8 and 11 come across the way they should. True, the more playful or virtuosic ones do appear more vividly in other versions. The problematic unfinished last fugue, a titanic achievement, is here offered both in its unfinished version and in a very competent and satisfying conclusion that brings back the original theme.
In his very mixed interpretation, Glenn Gould may offer an even more profound insight into the unfinished version of the last contrapunctus, but in truth this is the version to have - for sheer fugal bravura it would be hard to beat.