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Episode 9: Pierre-Laurent Aimard Performs Selections from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I

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We're offering a free download of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I (Preludes and Fugues, Nos. 1-3). Grab it now and listen to an interview with the pianist, Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

Album Details:
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, Preludes and Fugues Nos. 1-3, BWV 846-848
Johann Sebastian Bach
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier I | Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Deutsche Grammophon 4792784
Available at

Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard took a seven-month sabbatical last year from recitals in order to spend time at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study) in Berlin, where he set to work on Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I. The result is a current recital series and this new recording, made in March for Deutsche Grammophon. Consisting of 48 pairings of preludes and fugues, Bach's work was originally written for harpsichord, and it set new standards in contrapuntal composition. Aimard explains in a video blog that the cycle is its own "universe," where a pianist's concentration cannot flag for a moment.

Q&A: Aimard in Eight Minutes

By Jeff Spurgeon

French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard

During Pierre-Laurent Aimard's sabbatical he attended lectures and concerts, read a great deal, and lived in a cottage in which he could play the piano as much as he liked, day or night. On the eve of a Carnegie Hall recital, Aimard sat down for a conversation. We talked about the pleasures of a sabbatical, playing techniques, the instrument he used in his new recording, and the mysteries and wonders of Bach. "I have the feeling that this music helps me to balance my life better," he said.

Aimard also reveals the other piece of music that is “a contrapuntal voice to the music of Bach” in his world these days: a new piano concerto by Harrison Birtwistle.


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