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

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

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 Arkivmusic.com

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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Comments [5]

Arnold Bloom from Menlo Park, California

Sorry, Mr. Aimard, but I find your playing of the Well-tempered colorless and boring. When played on a piano, it should sound like piano music -- legato, with some expression, and in the fugues there should be some attempt to delineate voices. Note that Bach called this work the well-tempered KLAVIER. This implies, I think, that he was referring to more than just the harpsichord. Making the piano sound like a harpsichord simply does not work.

Nov. 14 2014 03:42 PM

Ah. Got it. I'm used to seeing a 'G' in there. I didn't see it in from your original post. DD~~

Nov. 13 2014 10:39 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

MOUSSORGSKY is the non-cyrillic version of the Russian spelling.

Nov. 13 2014 09:39 AM

That was brief? Who is this that you refer to?


I am NOT a helden ...

Nov. 13 2014 01:47 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Like Shakespeare, JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, had such comprehensive vision of the world he knew and such an imagination and compositional virtuosity to reach deep into many formats and get his message across. MOZART, BEETHOVEN and WAGNER IMHO are the only other musical geniuses that may still be as BACH widely played and appreciated one hundred years from now. Great as BACH was/is each composer has his/her own style and format and content so it is not appropriate to claim the top of the totem pole to any one great composer, no matter how great. I am partial to RICHARD WAGNER because his music most touchest both my personal and professional life. But Mozart, Beethoven, Bellini, Verdi, Puccini, Berlioz, Saint-Saens, Gounod, Massenet, Debussy, Giordano, Schubert, Arnold Schonberg, Brahms, Richard and Johann Strauss, Moussorsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Bizet, Meyerbeer and Hugo Wolf all have legitimate claims on my leisure as well as professional life. Ask a mother or father who their favorite child is if they have more than one and one will see it is not that easy to marginalize one's preferences. ALL deserve our attention and respect. There will always be time and devotion cheerfully dedicated to the presentation of this great master's ouevre. The test of time is virtually always the most respected judgment on the preciousness of anything. BACH's music has met that test. JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH is one of the great titanic geniuses of music and his music and its influence will be forever with us no matter what the current fads that will turn up as certainly as day follows night. SIngers and instrumentalists and music lovers all clamor for more BACH. I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, an opera composer ["Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"], teacher of voice production and I train and coach big-voiced singers in the Wagner rep and actors in the Shakespeare oeuvre. www.WagnerOpera.com

Nov. 13 2014 12:23 AM

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