J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 and 2

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Sergey Schepkin
Individual Works:Book 1: 24 Preludes and Fugues, BWV 846-869

Book 2: 24 Preludes and Fugues, BWV 870-893

Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Ongaku
Catalog Number:024-113, 024-115
Year Released/Recorded:1998-99
Total Playing Time:258'
Comments:Sergey Schepkin said:

As one knows, it is exceedingly hard to review one's own recording . . . Suffice it to say that I tried to be true to Bach's style the way I understand it, to Bach's forms and textures the way I hear them, and to Bach's spirit the way I feel it.

John Lewis Grant said:

Many fine Russian pianists are making their way to the shores of North America these days, and all of them play a wide spectrum of music quite well. Schepkin, however, gives us a Well-tempered that stands nearer to the upper ranks of WTC interpretations (on the piano). The ornamentation is a focal point in these readings, but the musical depth of Bach's WTC is not in any way sacrificed. In Schepkin's reading of the long and difficult fugues and preludes, which in any interpretation of the WTC immediately separates the noteworthy from the mediocre, he shows himself a master of the form. Few pianists beyond Richter (in Bk 1), Gould, Tureck, Cload, Feinburg, Fischer, and Schiff (in Bk 2) can lay claim to that attribution. The two five part fugues of the WTC (a case in point) are interpreted with the kind of intellectual certainty that is a touchstone only in Bach interpretions of the first rank.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Sergey Schepkin
  • John Lewis Grant
Date First Submitted:04/06/2000