Recorded in 1950, Walter Gieseking’s Bach series for Saarbrücken Radio promotes a lightness of touch, elegance and emotional engagement that anticipated Glenn Gould’s epoch-making Goldberg Variations of 1955 (Sony). Deutsche Grammophon have just released a 7-cd set (479 7362) that covers the whole of the Well-tempered Clavier, the Six Partitas and French Ouverture, the Italian Concerto and Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, the Inventions and Sinfonias and other works, adding the Schumann Concerto in a wartime Berlin Philharmonic recording under Wilhelm Furtwängler
The nimble, deftly lilting ‘scherzo’ from the Third Partita in A minor BWV 827 should give you a good idea of what to expect
8 thoughts on “Bach before Gould: Gieseking’s your man”
The great joy of digital is that we are now able to rediscover the abundant treasures of analogue performances from past eras. I’ve not heard of Gieseking but then hadn’t heard of Zuzana Ruzickova until she was played on Essential Classics earlier this year. Through her I’ve discovered a new Bach and Gieseking evidently brings another to the table. Not a better Bach and not a worse Bach but on the evidence of the short excerpt included here, a different Bach again, a warm Bach to lift the spirits. I’ve been working my way repeatedly through Ruzickova’s interpretations and now I must add Gieseking. Another discovery awaits . . . .
Philip … this is the glory of comparative listening. Another quite different Bach set arrives via Warners with Helmut Walcha playing the harpsichord – in particular the sarabandes from the English Suites have a uniquely sonorous grandeur about them
Walcha as a harpsichordist is quite a revelation.
Such a solid grasp of music and one hardly notices the technical feats that support his energetic playing and repose.
So true Allan …. and the individual pieces from the 48 preludes and figures are so unlike in character. Very best. Rob
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Bach;s Book II leans more to absolute music that transcends any specific instrument.
Yes Allan – which begs the inevitable question why doesn’t it vie with the Art of Fugue in being played/recorded on a wider variety of instruments? R.
Check out Daniel Trifinov’s performance on YouTube of the great Chaconne in D minor adapted for the left hand (yes!!) by Brahms (yes again!). Astonishing !!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8-nWq6pqag
Will do Peter. Thanks! Best. Rob.