J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 and 2

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Edwin Fischer
Individual Works:The complete preludes and fugues of the books 1 and 2
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:EMI
Year Released/Recorded:1933-34
Comments:Pierre Bonami said:

One could say that some of the pieces in this record are played a bit too fast and that there are minor faults in the interpretation. But this record is generally very good and quite original. (I think it is now alvailable on CD)

Alexander L. Bieri said:

Edwin Fischer is generally regarded as one of the best interprets for Beethoven. However, it is not very well known that Bach played an important role in his immense repertoire. He was among the first in the world to re-introduce early music to the concert halls at the beginning of the century. How important Bach was to him becomes evident in his book "J. S. Bach - Eine Studie" which has been published several times. His approach to the well-tempered clavier, probably the most important piano work ever written, is totally different from other performers. Should you like the hammering style of Glenn Gould, this recording is certainly nothing for you. Despite the sometimes poor quality of the recording, you do not only listen the well-tempered clavier - you feel it. And along with this, you feel the true Bach. Some people say that the Fischer-interpretation is not a very good one because it is not very close to the first published "Urtext". Given the fact, that music only becomes art through personal interpretation, this is really a great piece of art.

Jon Schotten said:

This is my all time favourite recording of any Bach and indeed any music (Andras Schiff cites it as his favourite recording too). It is packed with mistakes which makes it all the more perfect and is full of a passion so absent in many of the more recent recordings. If the Well-tempered Clavier is the pianistic 'Bible', then Edwin Fischer is the pianistic Pope.

Andrew Rose said:

This fabulous recording is also available in a superb newly restored and remastered version for purchase and MP3 download at www.pristineaudiodirect.com from 1st February 2005.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Pierre Bonami
  • Alexander L. Bieri
  • Jon Schotten
Date First Submitted:07/13/1997