Friedrich Gulda's readings of the Bach WTC are considered among the top available on the piano of this monumental work, so it was a gap in my listening repertory that I hadn't encountered them before. After listening to his rendition of the second volume, I'm not altogether sold. Gulda is obviously deeply committed both musically and emotionally to the Preludes and Fugues, and his interpretations can be revelatory. I can single out the G-sharp minor Prelude and Fugue No. 18, where the Prelude is performed more slowly than in many readings, gaining a surprising weight; conversely, the staccato, extremely fast rendering of the Fugue is entrancingly airy and charming, as well as being an astonishing technical feat. Gulda's mastery of voicing and clarity of textures are wondrous to the ear. So what's not to like? I can't get past his apparent desire to wring more profundity out of some of the slower, more serious pieces than they can comfortably bear; the very first Prelude is a case in point, where banged out downbeats and clangorous tone are inadequate substitutes for the grand line this piece ought to have. The F major Prelude is an extreme misfire; Gulda seems to be trying for a carillon-like joyousness, but the piece sounds merely noisy and overpedaled, while the succeeding Fugue plods instead of dances. The wide dynamic range of the recording emphasizes the lack of truly liquid, sensuous tone. In short, Gulda's interpretation has undoubted authority, even if you can't always agree with what is being presented.