The 48 Preludes and Fugues from Johann Sebastian Bach are regarded as the "Old Testament" of piano literature. To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the death of the master composer, four pianists each perform 12 Prelude... more »s and Fugues from selected locations in Barcelona, Venice, Oxford and Bach's birthplace, Eisenach.« less
jonathan schlackman | new york, ny United States | 10/28/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I felt the need to offer a counter opinion to the review of this DVD by Mr.Nicholas. As an amatuer pianist, he obviously approached this DVD with certain expectations of what he wanted to experience (perhaps he should have purchased an instructional video instead). He makes no commentary on the splendid performances, wonderful sound, or interesting-to-stunning architectural surroundings the performers are placed in. The commenteries before each performance are entertaining, giving insight into the mind of the player, as well as often providing information on the piece of music about to be played. The commentary sections are no longer than 10-20 seconds in length. If you love Bach's music, you will be thoroughly delighted with this collection."
The right combination......5 stars
Daniel Leo Simpson | San Francisco Bay area | 10/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You can't please everyone. The various reviews below show that. But having read them and seen the entire 2-DVD set I'd make the following reactions to previous comments.
1) The four artists represent diversity. If you like laid-back sneekers and Blue Jeans you'll have that. If you like an artist to dress with class, its here as well.
2) There is a perfect balance of showing hands, faces, interior/exterior room/building shots. Fluid and imaginative camera work enhance this production. Those who want nothing but "show me the fingers" should go to the artist's workshop or masterclass and hold a camcorder over their shoulder. This production is completely well-balanced in showing hands, fading to facial expressions, room interiors etc.
3) The performances are inpeccable. But I have to admit that I was surprised that the first artist, and some of the 2nd, read from the music. So the first artist seems to be "playing" the pieces as he reads the music. There's none of that from the 2nd DVD (Book 2) and so these two are actually "performing" the pieces which leads to a much more free and expresive rendition.
4) The contraversal comments/credits between each piece: It's good to have the break between pieces. But whether you agree with that format or not should in no way keep you from purchasing this extrordinary collection."
Must have in collection...
James Lin | Los Angeles, CA | 03/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Those who love Bach and possibly the greatest masterpiece for the pianoforte, the Well Tempered Clavier will find this to be a gem. 4 different players each with different styles, contrasting each other. There was good balance of focus on the hands and other parts of the body. Personally I found Demidenko's and Hewitt's performances to be superb. Hewitt's interpretation of the P&F #14 in F# minor worth listening to..."
Nice music, annoying format
Milda Ruffo | Mount Royal, Quebec Canada | 07/16/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD was probably made to show in small segments on TV, but must we have the annoying and repetitious credits between each section? I also didn't like the camera work which showed the performers from many angles, alas, their fingers not often enough. The comments of some of the performers....well, let's just say that they are not gifted in public speaking and their music should have been left to speak for itself. I did enjoy their performances, with their individual interpretations. The overall result, however, was not up to BBC standards. I look forward to someone else making a DVD of this excellent repertoire without all the boring and unhelpful comments and with more opportunity to see the hands of the pianists, not the dark and dreary rooms in which they played."
M. lawson | London | 12/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having previously heard these recordings, I felt forced to buy this DVD for the sole purpose of experiencing the brllliance of of the Macgregor interpretations.(she does not yet have her own recordings of the WTC yet). I felt that there was nothing memorable in the other artist's recordings. But I reckon that her interpretations of the fugues in a minor,b major and b minor are unsurpassed. It is a pity that this is not on CD (yet)."