I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Edward Aldwell, Bach WTC

As a little Christmas present to myself, tonight I picked up the recordings by Edward Aldwell of Bach's two Well-Tempered Keyboard collections, Books 1 and 2. Picture 1.png These have been around for a long time, but the second book just came up on Amazon, so... before I talk about what I hear, I'll mention why this collection is of interest. First, Aldwell performs Bach on piano. I have book 1 by Hantaï on harpsichord, among my favorites, compared to others. Hewitt is nice on piano, but Aldwell has been compared to Gould in some respects, and his fugues are especially interesting for the clarity of lines. Second, Aldwell is dead. Sad story really; he died in a car accident several years ago. He put me through some rough times in college, as I used his textbook in my music theory classes. It's one thing to read about music in terms of notes and text, quite another to hear how someone who intimately understands the structure of the works might change the performance to demonstrate that understanding. Thus far, listening, I'm in the C-sharp minor fugue. He doesn't play in any exaggerated style that would suggest he was Glen Gould II. His playing is very clean, tempos for the most part are particularly regular, although he will slow down to show emphasis. Dynamics too are present, but not in any particularly jarring way. For the most part, I'd say Aldwell was of the camp of letting the music speak for itself. I think I read that once about Keith Jarrett in his recording of Bach or Handel. "I'll let the music speak for itself." Yes, but Aldwell isn't totally letting the music do its thing naked. It's a better thing, I think, for performers to add some of their own intellect and "interpretation" into the score. I think I'm going to enjoy taking these in. Far too many preludes and fugues for one night. I may reference these in a future piece on the WTC I/II, each book on its own, with some favorite performances. Merry Christmas.

Regrets 2008

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