Das Wohltemperierte Klavier I

01.12.2021

Das Wohltemperierte Klavier BWV 846 - 869, og sitater om Bachs vidunderlige musikalske univers. 

1. Preludium & Fuge i C-dur BWV 846 - Masako Ohta, klaver 

Syklusen åpner med en ro - og nærmest en Zen-lignende tilnærming - med den japanske pianisten Masako Ohta

For the past 80 years I have started each day in the same manner. I go to the piano and I play two preludes and fugues of Bach. I is a sort of benediction on the house, and it is a rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part. 

- Pablo Casals

2. Preludium & Fuge i c-moll BWV 847 - Víkingur Ólafsson, klaver 

Det islandske klaverfenomenet har erobret verden med en ny pianistisk måte å tolke Bach på, noe som blant annet har fått Leiv Ove Andsnes til å uttale i et intervju om Ólafssons Bach-album "...... at det virkelig går an å lage en fullstendig overbevisende plate i vår tid med Bach, på flygel"

I think you can almost find anything there is in music in Bachs music, and you know I actually love to listen to other people play Bach because they tells me very much about how they listen to music, sort of who they are as musicians.

- Víkingur Ólafsson

3. Preludium & Fuge i Ciss-dur BWV 848 - András Schiff, klaver

Pianisten András Schiff er blant enerne av Bachfortolkere med et moderne klaver som sitt instrument. Han er en av artistene i ECM Records og spiller inn sine album på dette legendariske plateselskapet. Han har blant annet spilt inn komplett Das Wohltemperierte Klavier bok 1 og 2

Bach is not an extroverted composer. For him it was not so important to listen to this or that it should be played, it's just there - sheer perfection. Also this is a very human, very down to earth message. That's why I find Bach so wonderful that he is one of us. The best of us, but one of us.

András Schiff

4. Preludium & Fuge i ciss-moll BWV 849 - Bertrand Cuiller, cembalo

How should we 'read' Prelude and fugue in C-sharp minor, performed here by Bertrand Cuiller for All of Bach? Cuiller opts for a light, sensual approach, especially in the prelude. Drawn-out festoons and elegant arpeggios create a noble atmosphere, while tension is provided by the big leap in the theme and a series of not-quite-cadence lines in the middle section.

When I was young, and adolescent, Bach meant nothing to me. I didn´t understand him. It was to.... I don´t know.... it went over my head. But when I started to study him with Pierre Hantaï the penny dropped. But I´m still apprehensive about him. Now I understand better what he was at. How he can speak to us. Speak to me. That he was not only intelligent and perfect, but also human.

- Bertrand Cuiller

5. Preludium & Fuge i D-dur BWV 850 - Víkingur Ólafsson, klaver

Like a perfect, crisp autumn leaf, Víkingur Ólafsson's disc of JS Bach dropped onto our desks in September 2018. From its opening seconds, it was clear that this was something exceptional: the programme both familiar yet unexpected, Ólafsson's performance style delicately balancing fashions old and new, the recorded sound intimate and warm. Everything just so. In the BBC Music Magazine Awards jury meeting, it was the only disc we barely talked about. Because all eight of the jury were in agreement - Johann Sebastian Bach should go straight through to the next round, to be voted on by the public.

It would all mean nothing without Bach.

- Víkingur Ólafsson

6. Preludium & Fuge i d-moll BWV 851 - Tineke Steenbrink, cembalo

Nok et glitrende og intimt "hjemme hos-opptak" fra All of Bach. Anbefaler å se de fine intervjuene som følger disse opptakene. Tineke Steenbrink formidler BWV 851 veldig personlig - med varme og finurlig innsikt.

In the Prelude and fugue in D minor, performed by Tineke Steenbrink for All of Bach, we enter at the climax of the debate. The bass represents the balanced opinion, stated in a serene yet self-assured tempo. But the rather breathless, hot-tempered triplets of the upper voice suggest that it has long since abandoned reason. Despite all its down-to-earth comments, the bass comes off worst - pounding out a few more individual notes and eventually giving up completely. Only then do the quarrellers embrace one another, in a glorious figured major chord.

It may be coincidence, but I think that the theme of the fugue is just right for me as a harpsichordist. It has the early music feel, like Gregorian..... and the of course the long trill. Trills are typical for the harpsichord. And that theme moves me. I recognise something of my own story in it. 

- Tineke Steenbrink

7. Preludium & Fuge i Ess-dur BWV 852 - Andrei Gavrilov, klaver

Born in Moscow, Andrei Gavrilov was just eighteen when he won the legendary Tchaikovsky Competition in 1974 and embarked on a meteoric career. By 1980, when the Soviet regime for a time imposed severe restrictions on his movements abroad, he had already appeared in almost every important musical center in the world. After returning to the concert platforms of the Western world in August 1984, he soon established himself as one of the foremost pianists of his generation. His recordings and his musical activities, in general, have brought him many awards.

One does not enjoy The well-Tempered Clavier, one is uplifted by it. Joy, pain, tears, sorrow, laughter: they all flow from it, but in such a form that the notes transport us out of the world of strife into the world of peace, and we see reality as if we were sitting beside a mountain lake, contemplating the mountain and forests and clouds reflected in still, fathomless water. More than any other work, the Well-Tempered Clavier allows us to understand that Bach experienced his art as religion. In it, he neither depicts natural emotional states as Beethoven did in his sonatas, nor struggles and fights to attain a goal; he brings out the reality of life experienced by the spirit, which is always conscious of being above life as experiences utterly contradictory feelings - the most exquisite pain or the most exuberant merriment - with the same unruffled serenity.

- Albert Schweitzer

NB! Trykk på bildet for å se & høre Andrei Gavrilov

8. Preludium & Fuge i ess-moll BWV 853 - Bart Jacobs, cembalo

From the remaining parts of the first book of Das Wohltemperirte Clavier, harpsichordist Bart Jacobs chose to play the Prelude and fugue in E-flat minor, an unusual key. This key is rarely heard in the Baroque, but in view of the structure of Bach's project, it had to be included, of course. Incidentally, it produced one of the more extensive and ambitious additions to the collection.

Bach is in my life every day. Not just his music, but his life too. All that music he wrote in such a short time with som many children around. Highly fascinating. ....... It´s still a miracle. I´ll neverer think: "Oh well, thats just Bach" I". It´s always so unimaginable. And it still moves me deeply. Maybe the older I get, the more I....... You play the music differently according to your maturity. When you have children of your own, you realize what a miracle it all is.

- Bart Jacobs 

9. Preludium & Fuge i E-dur BWV 854 - Christian Rieger, cembalo

The Prelude in E major, performed by Christian Rieger for All of Bach, is sweet and pastoral - mainly due to the drawn-out, tuneful melody with which the right hand opens. Beneath it, the left hand moves quietly forward, providing harmonic support. The theme of the three-part fugue is one of the shortest and simplest of the whole collection. It opens with two notes, which is stressed by the rest that follows.

I don´t think that Bach intended this to be seen as a cycle. Certainly not like the Goldberg variations. But I think you´re justified playing the whole thing one after another. It´s a wonderful journey taking you to lots of places that have all sorts of things to offer. 

- Christian Rieger

10. Preludium & Fuge i e-moll BWV 855 - Frédérick Haas, cembalo

The Prelude and fugue in E minor, performed by Frédérick Haas for All of Bach, has an oppressive feel to it. Often, you see that what Bach asserts in one hand is contradicted by the other, but here there is no trace of that at all. Both hands wallow in this mood wholeheartedly. Indeed, the bass is the evil demon in this case, as halfway through the prelude it suddenly drags along the upper part, which has been lyrical up to then, in a mad whirl. 

The Prelude and fugue in E minor, performed by Frédérick for All of Bach, has an oppressive feel to it. Often, you see that what Bach asserts in one hand is contradicted by the other, but here there is no trace of that at all. Both hands wallow in this mood wholeheartedly. Indeed, the bass is the evil demon in this case, as halfway through the prelude it suddenly drags along the upper part, which has been lyrical up to then, in a mad whirl.

Frédérick Haas

11. Preludium & Fuge i F-dur BWV 856 - Ursula Dütschler, cembalo

In keeping with the unaffected character of the key of F major, Bach kept this Prelude and fugue in F major from the Well-Tempered Clavier I, performed by Ursula Dütschler for All of Bach, relatively simple. The prelude is like a light-footed walk through an alpine meadow, says the harpsichordist of Swiss origin. It is an ingenious string of arpeggiations that alternate in a smooth movement.

When I play Bach, I feel at home.

- Ursula Dütschler 

12. Preludium & Fuge i f-moll BWV 857 - Andrei Gavrilov, klaver

Bach står ikke langt unna vår tid, Bach blir nærværende når hans musikk materialiseres til enhver tid og for enhver kultur. All kunst blir et aktuelt moderne konsept - om det emosjonelt og intellektuelt "snakker med oss" i vår egen samtid. Alle de store komponistene etter Bach er selvfølgelig preget av det han gjorde og oppnådde innen harmoni og polyfoni - også Gustav Mahler var selvsagt en stor beundrer.

In Bach all vital cells of music are united as the world is in God; there has never been any poliphony greater than this

- Gustav Mahler

Det anbefales å se et svært interessant intervju med Gustav og Alma Mahlers barnebarn Marina Mahler fra desember 2019 i London. Det handler om et helhetlig syn på livet og kunsten, og ikke minst det tidløse i kunst - som nettopp er det "Bach in Town" ønsker å formidle.

There is not now and then. Everything is "now". All art, all philosophy is "now". So, we know time doesn´t exist. We have been taught it, but we don´t realize it. It seems to me that there is nothing more "now" than Mozart, there is nothing more "now" than Bach. Anything that is a true expression of human nature, and beauty, and fear and what ever..... anything in any of the arts - it´s not the past. I don´t believe in history in that way.

- Marina Mahler

NB! Trykk på bildene for å se & høre

13. Preludium & Fuge i Fiss-dur BWV 858Menno van Delft, cembalo

In the Prelude and fugue in F-sharp major, performed by Menno van Delft for All of Bach, the fugue opens with a robust theme that is parried by a briskly bouncing second part. After crossing swords three times, the two voices find one another in cheerfully tumbling ricochets, with only very scant reference to the initial fugue theme.

Having his manuscript in front of me makes me feel as if I am in the young Johann Sebastian Bach's study.

- Menno van Delft

14. Preludium & Fuge i fiss-moll BWV 859 - András Schiff, klaver

Bach's music is very important for me; it is the most important for my life. The entire music literature following Bach-allmusic intrigues and interests me, and everything I treasure in music comes from Bach. If a composer has no relationship to Bach, then, it doesn't really interest me at all. Bach is an entire musical, yet human, worldview. Here, the music must be spiritual, not physical. It can make me happy, and sustain me, but it is much more. It is the content of Bach's music that intrigues me so.

- András Schiff

15. Preludium & Fuge i G-dur BWV 860 - Ketil Haugsand, cembalo

The right hand indulges in playful arpeggios right from the start of this Prelude and fugue in G major from the Well-Tempered Clavier I, performed here by Ketil Haugsand for All of Bach. "A fresh salad; nothing too heavy", says Haugsand. He adds, however, that this does not necessarily make the piece easy to play.

Hvis man er inne i denne musikken her, så er Bach den mest betydningsfulle komponisten som har levd. Fordi Bach er så altomfattende, så blir man aldri ferdig med Bach. Bach har alltid noe nytt, noe som vi ikke har hørt før - selv om vi har hørt det mange ganger. 

- Ketil Haugsand

16. Preludium & Fuge i g-moll BWV 861 - Joanna McGregor, klaver

Joanna McGregor har turnert Norge flere ganger i regi av Rikskonsertene med blant annet en radikalt annerledes versjon av Bachs Goldbergvariasjoner, blant annet på Arena i Moss. Sir John Eliot Gardiner inviterte henne til å fremføre Goldbergvariasjonene under hans 9timer lange Bach Marathon i Royal Albert Hall i 2013.

Joanna McGregor is one of Britain's leading pianists. She regularly plays with all the major British orchestras and is familiar to UK audiences for her many television and radio appearances, including the Last Night of the Proms. In addition to Bach's Art of Fugue, her most successful recordings include works by Bartók, Birtwistle, Britten, Debussy, Gershwin, Ives, Messiaen, Ravel and Satie.

I've played Bach since I was a little girl. I can't let a day go by without playing him. He's so witty and secretive and funny and mathematical and brilliant.

- Joanna McGregor

Trykk på bildet for å høre og se Preludium & Fuge i g-moll

17. Preludium & Fuge i Ass-dur BWV 862 - Olivier Fortin, cembalo

This Prelude in A-flat major opens with radiant sunshine that dominates throughout the piece. And yet there is a darker side beneath the surface.

You can play a Bach fugue five times in succession and every time you feel you get a bit closer. Also when you´re recording Bach there´s a moment ...You can keep recording forever: you keep finding something different. It´s unfathomable: the intelligence, the knowledge, the handwriting. And in spite of all that the ability to express everything you feel. That appeals to me, moves me and takes possession of me mentally and physically. 

- Olivier Fortin

18. Preludium & Fuge i giss-moll BWV 863 - Korneel Bernolet, cembalo

In our interview with Korneel Bernolet about this recording, he told us how as a young student he was quite taken aback when he first saw the Prelude and fugue in G-sharp minor from the second book of the Wohltemperirte Clavier. Not just the young Korneel Bernolet, but also adult keyboard players in Bach's day must have been equally daunted on first seeing one of the Preludes and fugues in G-sharp minor (with five sharps).

For me, Bach is one of the great composers of course. I always hesitate to use "the greatest". Comparing Bach to a Rameau or to a Monteverdi is really like comparing apples and pears. It´s obvious that Bach displays an extraordinary kind of genius. 

- Korneel Bernolet

19. Preludium & Fuge i A-dur BWV 864 - Pierre Hantaï, cembalo

"This fugue is a unique piece. I think there is a certain humour in it." Harpsichordist Pierre Hantaï talks about Prelude and fugue in A major BWV 864, which he performed for All of Bach.

Bach is a terminal point. Nothing comes from him; everything merely leads up to him.

- Albert Schweitzer

20. Preludium & Fuge i a-moll BWV 865 - HJ Lim, klaver

Koreanske HJ Lim har etablert en stor karriere worldwide. Det er frapperende teknikk og tempo i dette Bach-spillet, og nok ganske fjernt fra de fleste andre tolkninger. Men Bach in Town har et viktig prinsipp som er: "Bach is a free Country".

H. 鉉 Precious 

 J. 靜 Serenity, Silence

Lim 林 Forest

- HJ Lim

21. Preludium & Fuge i B-dur BWV 866 - Marcin Dąbrowski , klaver

When art is made new, we are made new with it. We have a sense of solidarity with our own time, and of psychic energies shared and redoubled, which is just about the most satisfying thing that life has to offer. 'If that is possible,' we say to ourselves, 'then everything is possible'; a new phase in the history of human awareness has been opened up, just as it opened up when people first read Dante, or first heard Bach's 48 preludes and fugues, or first learned from Hamlet and King Lear that the complexities and contradictions of human nature could be spelled out on the stage.

This being so, it is a great exasperation to come face to face with new art and not make anything of it. Stared down by something that we don't like, don't understand and can't believe in, we feel personally affronted, as if our identity as reasonably alert and responsive human beings had been called into question. We ought to be having a good time, and we aren't. More than that, an important part of life is being withheld from us; for if any one thing is certain in this world it is that art is there to help us live, and for no other reason.

- John Russell

22. Preludium & Fuge i b-moll BWV 867 - András Schiff, klaver

Bach's music radiates a purity in the polyphony, as well as clarity and transparency of the entire composition, whereby each voice, each note is important. In Bach, nothing is subordinate. 

- András Schiff

23. Preludium & Fuge i H-dur BWV 868 - Diego Ares, cembalo

Simplicity reigns in this Prelude and fugue in B major no. 23 from the Well-Tempered Clavier I, performed by Diego Ares for All of Bach, even with five sharps in the key. For centuries, instrumental music with a lot of accidentals in the key ('black keys') was rather uncommon. Diego Ares says about this: "B major is a difficult key, not only with regard to mood, but also for the fingers. So in writing such natural music as this Fugue, Bach once again reveals himself a real master of the miniature." 

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.

- Johann Sebastian Bach 

24. Preludium & Fuge i b-moll BWV 869 - Bob van Asperen, cembalo

The final aim and reason of all music is nothing other than the glorification of God and the refreshment of the spirit.

- Johann Sebastian Bach