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Johann Sebastian Bach

Performances of "Well-Tempered Clavier"

Book I from Sviatoslav Richter

The piano is one of my favorite instruments along with period strings and the human voice. Masters of the piano such as Richter have measurably enhanced the quality of my life, and I owe no small part in this to the technology of recorded sound.

We can now listen to Richter perform his art from a myriad of concert locations throughout the world. The sound quality of these recordings varies greatly. Sometimes, the sound is not detrimental to enjoyment of the music; sometimes it is. Also, each of us has our own threshold and sense of sound quality which impacts negatively on the music.

This must be my lead-in to Richter's account of Bach's WTC, Book I from Russian Revelation. Richter's performances are outstanding; I can't report that the sound quality disguises his brilliance. But, the sound quality is still poor. Although recorded in 1969, it might as well have been 1939.

Well, you can't have everything, and I am thankful for this recording which gives us a picture of two supremely gifted artists.

Don's Conclusion – Sample first for sound quality considerations.

Copyright © 2000, 2001 by Don Satz.

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