J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Partitas for Harpsichord (2001)

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Blandine Verlet
Individual Works:Disc 1:

Partita No. 1 in B-flat major, BWV 825
Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827

Disc 2:

Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830

Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Astree
Catalog Number:E 8849
Year Released/Recorded:2001
Total Playing Time:cd 1: 54'08
cd 2: 66'57
Comments:Jan Hanford said:

The emperor has no clothes. There, I said it. Somebody needs to.

The tuning on this recording is described as "pure mean-tone." Wow is it ugly. Partita No. 6 is particularly unlistenable. It's really a shame, because Verlet is clearly an excellent harpsichordist and the recorded sound and the instrument are extraordinary. How sad to have all this talent ruined by the temperament. Something I don't understand: we all know they used mean tuning in the 18th century. But the instrument needs to be re-tuned when a work is played in a different key. To tune it once and then play in all the various keys can only create an ugly sound. The highly acclaimed "pure" third is not pure when played in a different key. Hello! The instrument needs to be retuned to the right key! It's also obvious some tunings are not viable for works that modulate to keys that are unsuitable.

The historic dogmatists will insist that this is "the only correct way to play Bach." Well, it makes me cringe. Everyone I've played this cd for burst out laughing. Historically accurate, or not, it's awful.

The only plus is that the Partitas are in numerical order for a change, instead of shuffled around. But there is no indication on the cd's as to which is cd 1 and which is cd 2, so you don't know until you put it on. Whatever.

Get the Trevor Pinnock or the Scott Ross.

Acknowledgements:From the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:05/02/2002