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Bach, J.S.: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Box set

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 Mar. 2011)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B000CRQZL4
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183,447 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Prelude in E minor BWV 879
  2. Fugue in E minor BWV 879
  3. Prelude in F major BWV 880
  4. Fugue in F major BWV 880
  5. Prelude in F minor BWV 881
  6. Fugue in F minor BWV 881
  7. Prelude in F sharp major BWV 882
  8. Fugue in F sharp major BWV 882
  9. Prelude in F sharp minor BWV 883
  10. Fugue in F sharp minor BWV 883
  11. Prelude in G major BWV 884
  12. Fugue in G major BWV 884
  13. Prelude in G minor BWV 885
  14. Fugue in G minor BWV 885
  15. Prelude in A flat major BWV 886
  16. Fugue in A flat major BWV 886
  17. Prelude in G sharp minor BWV 887
  18. Fugue in G sharp minor BWV 887
  19. Prelude in A major BWV 888
  20. Fugue in A major BWV 888
  21. Prelude in A minor BWV 889
  22. Fugue in A minor BWV 889
  23. Prelude in B flat major BWV 890
  24. Fugue in B flat major BWV 890
  25. Prelude in B flat minor BWV 891
  26. Fugue in B flat minor BWV 891
  27. Prelude in B major BWV 892
  28. Fugue in B major BWV 892
  29. Prelude in B minor BWV 893
  30. Fugue in B minor BWV 893

Product Description


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am not the first reviewer of these CDs on Amazon, just the first on
I read the reviews and linked comments on with great interest, and have learned a certain amount (maybe sometimes about our shared human pretensions more than about Bach or Ashkenazy's playing of his music ...)

I have no qualification that would make me an authoritative commentator, just the "evidence" that a pair of perhaps averagely sharp ears can provide after much enjoyment of various performances of the great "48", both books, or, in the case of S.Richter Book 1 (live) only, and of Rosalyn Tureck Book 2 (BBC) only. So far, that is. Otherwise, I have got to know (and am continuing to get to know) versions by Edwin Fischer, Walter Gieseking, Glenn Gould, Andras Schiff (ECM) and Vladimir Ashkenazy, as well as downloading four or five of the pieces from the Daniel Barenboim recording.

I learned that there are so many different ways of playing this wonderful music and that (in the absence of detailed academic knowledge) it must surely often be misguided to fall into dogmatic pronouncements about "the right way" and "the wrong way" of playing Bach.

Does the music live and breathe, and does it sound as if it is going the way it was meant to go, with (as it were) phrases, sentences, paragraphs all understood and articulately expressed? Does it communicate on an emotional level? Does the performer phrase and voice convincingly, using a variety of touch and tone? Does he/she bring to each piece a "sense of the whole", building towards a peak and a resolution (where fitting)?

These are some of the questions to which I would want to be able to give the answer "Yes"; and I find I can mostly do so after listening to Ashkenazy's version.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews
65 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give a try! 30 May 2006
By Ed - Published on
Format: Audio CD
When this CD was just released, I thought much about whether I should buy this work. There are already so many master interpretations, including those played by Glenn Gould, Richter, Tureck, Nikolayeva, and Schiff. And there were quite few reviews about this new work by Ashkenazy when it was just released.

But I still gave it a try. And, WOW!, I am glad that I have made the purchase decision. As a pianist, Ashkenazy seldom dissatisfies his audiences recently. His Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues is a good example. And this Bach Well-Tempered Clavier is no exception. The style of the whole work is a little like Sviatoslav Richter PLUS Glenn Gould. The rhythm is rich, fresh and colorful with the spiritual sound produced by Ashkenazy's beautifully using the pedals. If someone wonders whether it is bland, I can tell you it definitely is not. Ashkenazy possesses the animation of Glenn Gould but proceeds without GG's sometimes eccentricity. Ashkenazy expresses the beautiful sound and smooth rhythm of Sviatoslav Richter but bounces and rocks more! However, in addition to all the above features, you can still feel and appreciate Ashkenazy's unique understanding of this classic. And his uniqueness is pretty.

This is a masterwork played by a master. Take it, and put it among those previous interpretations. We have a new classic.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly Unaffected and Exhilarating 6 Oct. 2007
By Timothy Dougal - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This 'Well-Tempered Clavier' played by Vladimir Ashkenazy is the sixth rendition of Bach's 48 I have bought since the early 90's. It is handily the best of the lot, for its vigor, clarity, charm and lack of affectation. It seems like Ashkenazy has tapped into Bach's mind, and this has freed him from the need to impose a lot of ponderous emotion on these pieces, which really are able to speak for themselves if the perfomer will let them. The briskness of Ashkenazy's approach has an additional bonus, that both books of the WTC fit on 3 medium priced discs, so this set is quite a bargain. As to the recording job, the piano is a little distant for my taste, but that's a very minor minus on a superb performance.
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing Bach back to Earth 23 Jun. 2007
By Orpheus - Published on
Format: Audio CD
After recording almost the whole canon of classical and romantic music, Vladimir Ashkenazy finally turns his gaze to Bach; it was worth the wait. Naturally one is inclined to compare it to the great versions of other pianists such as those of Gould, Richter, Tureck, etc... and allthough I am quite familiar with the first two and some incidental listening of others, I am now inclined to say that this version stands completely on itself.

Ashkenazy approaches the music with an ease and elegance that is seldomly heared. Bach's transcendent compendium of the "klavier" is a world of such depth and infinite musical possibility one can easily get lost in it's vastness. Yet, "the language of the universe" has never known a more humane and ardent advocate, unveiling it's multitude of mysteries in the light of contemporary life...

When listening to Ashkenazy's WTC, progressing through the keys, as Bach presupposes and elaborates, I feel rejuvenated almost instantly - sensing a spirit of exuberance and vitality, where other recordings seem dogmatic
- feeling warmth and optimism where others despite of their obvious virtuosity and stylistic correctness seem cold and aloof.

Vladimir Ashkenazy has gone beyond just the notes, creating an atmosphere that is flowing and natural... sounding almost as if both Books were played from beginning to end on a sunny afternoon...without rehearsals, editing or over-analyzing the music. And thus a world originates, a kaleidoscope of images, so rich in depth of colours and inherent understanding of the human experience - the palet and mind creating them are indeed those of a Great Artist.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars uneven 25 July 2011
By pohjola - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was tempted to get this recording, despite having a number of recordings of this music, by a very attractive price. Overall I find it more successful than Ashkenazy's other recent recording of music by Bach (the Partitas). Listening through the set, there is the occasional prelude or fugue that really works well, but generally I find Ashkenazy's articulation to be too monotonous and heavy-handed. The really great Bach Pianists (I'd say Schiff and Hewlett) use nuances of articulation to help the individual voices emerge and stand independent in a complex contrapuntal texture. I'd say that is what is missing here.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A less satisfactory reading 20 Mar. 2015
By H. Du Plessis - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I borrowed this set from a library, but besides the Prelude and Fugue in C from Book 1, which I liked, the other discs were so badly scarred that I couldn't listen to them, and I rushed to buy it.

Because these seminal works are among my favourites in Bach's output, I own a variety of recordings, from Wanda Landowska's recordings on harpsichord, through the greatly maligned 'one-take' Edwin Fischer recordings, Rosalind Tureck's and right up to Andras Schiff's more recent, excellent reading. I was intrigued to hear Ashkenazy's, and I'm afraid, with some exceptions, I really did not like it at all, from the C# major prelude in Book 1, practically all the way to the last fugue. I liked enormously the great e-flat minor Prelude and Fugue (No. 8 in Bk.1), and the b-flat minor Prelude and its monster, five-voiced fugue (No. 22, Bk. 1), but I found his attack extraordinarily and uncharacteristically percussive. In fact, I found his normally deft and sensitive touch so percussive that it was difficult for me to hear much theme projection in many of the fugues, and I often couldn't tell whether I was hearing a prelude or a fugue. Fugue No. 4, Bk. 2 in c# minor is a case in point.

And the break-neck speed at which he assailed some of the preludes is equally disturbing. Many of these tempi are consistent with Czerny's edition, which does not take into consideration the fact that all the preludes are styled after movements of the classical Dance Suite. Prelude No. 8 in Bk. 1, for example, is a Sarabande, Prelude No. 22 in Bk 1--the second of the two well-played examples I quoted earlier--could well have been modeled on an Air, not unlike the famous Air from the Orchestral Suite No. 1.

A pity. Ashkenazy at his best is phenomenal. His recording with Matthias Goerne of Schumann's Dichterliebe is out of this world, and those are accompaniments are fiendishly difficult, as is most of Schumann's output for the piano. Ashkenazy handles them with consummate ease.

I read a critique elsewhere of a recent performance of Argerich playing the Prokofiev 3. She was applauded not as a sign of respect for an artist in the twilight of her years pulling off a technically challenging work with a measure of her former technique still in place, but as a brilliant artist who not only locked horns with the composer, but beat him to a fare-thee-well. She is also seventy, as is Ashkenazy. His age shows because he over-compensates, Not so with Argerich.

Terry Pratchett of Discworld fame wrote in another context that 'sometimes glass glitters more than diamonds because it has more to prove.' I hope this isn't where Ashkenazy is heading. True professionalism also includes knowing when to stop performing.
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