J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Well Tempered Clavier, Books 1 and 2

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Ivo Janssen
Individual Works:
24 Preludes and Fugues, BWV 846-869
24 Preludes and Fugues, BWV 870-893
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:VOID
Catalog Number:VOID 9805 AB and VOID 9808 AB
Year Released/Recorded:2000 & 2003
Comments:Slam23 said:

Ivo Janssen is a somewhat lesser known pianist from the Netherlands. He set himself the task of recording all Bach works for clavier. To facilitate this project he started his own record label, VOID. Works are planned from 1998 to 2005. Already out are the "48", the well tempered clavier books 1 and 2. Well tempered is exactly the right way to describe the play of Janssen. His tone is pleasantly light and fresh without being too staccato. Use of pedal is kept on an acceptable and functional level, no Richter here! I like the way how he interprets the moods of the different preludes and fugas. Sober and grave when he needs to be but also daring to insert some offbeat, almost humorous tempo changes and staccato endings in the more joyful preludes. I especially like the balance in tone and tempo of the prelude of BWV 872 (book 2), one of my favorite preludes. Overall the choice of tempi is quite uptempo without the feeling of being rushed. It conveys a sense of youthful bravado without losing a perspective of depth, especially in the more demanding fugas. The quality of recording is quite high with good clarity of tone. Both sets of 2 CD's (book 1 and 2) impress in the way they represent a cohesive whole. It's not on par with the excellence of Gould's virtuosity, and it does lack some depth in interpretation, especially in bringing out the different melodic layers. Overall I'm finding myself positively charmed with this balanced performance, it keeps to the middle of the road in a good way and should be a welcome addition to any collection of recordings of the "48".

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Slam23
Date First Submitted:09/06/2004