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Piotr Anderszewski|Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2 (Excerpts)

Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2 (Excerpts)

Piotr Anderszewski

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There is no hint of historically oriented performance here as pianist Piotr Anderszewski performs pieces, half of them to be exact from Book II of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 870-893, in a way that apparently no other keyboardist, modern or historical, has ever done. There are various surprises in Anderszewski's interpretation, but the big one is that he departs from Bach's published order. He is straightforward about what he is doing, asserting in the notes that "it seems to me that [the published order] is not one in which the pieces follow each other with an emotional, musical inevitability." Anderszewski supplies his own ordering, which leaves the C major prelude and fugue (but not the C minor) at the beginning and the B major and minor pieces at the end. In between are pairs in fourth- and third-related keys, building toward a somberly slow Fugue in G sharp minor. The idea makes sense on its own terms, and Anderszewski could cite in his favor that some of these pieces were probably written much earlier than others and were roped by Bach into the final set; he didn't sit down and write them out in sequence. Anderszewski's execution is both rigorous and attractive. He perceives the works as "character pieces" and "realised the particular importance of giving each theme of each fugue a specific character." These are carried through the fugues with impressive consistency and control. Throughout, Anderszewski keeps his piano to chamber dimensions, and the variety with the overall quiet dynamic levels becomes quite absorbing. The downside is that although Bach reworked his compositions in many ways, he never did so in anything like this way, and, with a composer as systematically minded as Bach, one hesitates to fool with basic structures. Taken on its terms, however, Anderszewski's performance succeeds.

© TiVo

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Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2 (Excerpts)

Piotr Anderszewski

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1
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C Major, BWV 870: I. Prelude
00:03:17

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

2
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C Major, BWV 870: II. Fugue
00:01:37

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

3
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 12 in F Minor, BWV 881: I. Prelude
00:03:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

4
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 12 in F Minor, BWV 881: II. Fugue
00:01:42

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

5
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 17 in A-Flat Major, BWV 886: I. Prelude
00:03:32

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

6
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 17 in A-Flat Major, BWV 886: II. Fugue
00:02:56

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

7
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 8 in D-Sharp Minor, BWV 877: I. Prelude
00:05:20

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

8
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 8 in D-Sharp Minor, BWV 877: II. Fugue
00:04:45

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

9
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 11 in F Major, BWV 880: I. Prelude
00:03:04

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

10
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 11 in F Major, BWV 880 II. Fugue
00:01:39

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

11
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 22 in B-Flat Minor, BWV 891: I. Prelude
00:03:11

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

12
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 22 in B-Flat Minor, BWV 891: II. Fugue
00:05:51

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

13
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 7 in E-Flat Major, BWV 876: I. Prelude
00:02:12

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

14
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 7 in E-Flat Major, BWV 876: II. Fugue
00:01:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

15
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 16 in G Minor, BWV 885: I. Prelude
00:02:48

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

16
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 16 in G Minor, BWV 885: II. Fugue
00:02:41

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

17
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 9 in E Major, BWV 878: I. Prelude
00:04:51

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

18
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 9 in E Major, BWV 878: II. Fugue
00:02:34

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

19
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 18 in G-Sharp Minor, BWV 887: I. Prelude
00:03:56

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

20
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 18 in G-Sharp Minor, BWV 887: II. Fugue
00:06:58

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

21
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 23 in B Major, BWV 892 I. Prelude
00:01:36

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

22
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 23 in B Major, BWV 892: II. Fugue
00:03:53

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

23
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 24 in B Minor, BWV 893: I. Prelude
00:02:20

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

24
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 24 in B Minor, BWV 893: II. Fugue
00:01:54

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Piotr Anderszewski, Piano, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

Album review

There is no hint of historically oriented performance here as pianist Piotr Anderszewski performs pieces, half of them to be exact from Book II of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 870-893, in a way that apparently no other keyboardist, modern or historical, has ever done. There are various surprises in Anderszewski's interpretation, but the big one is that he departs from Bach's published order. He is straightforward about what he is doing, asserting in the notes that "it seems to me that [the published order] is not one in which the pieces follow each other with an emotional, musical inevitability." Anderszewski supplies his own ordering, which leaves the C major prelude and fugue (but not the C minor) at the beginning and the B major and minor pieces at the end. In between are pairs in fourth- and third-related keys, building toward a somberly slow Fugue in G sharp minor. The idea makes sense on its own terms, and Anderszewski could cite in his favor that some of these pieces were probably written much earlier than others and were roped by Bach into the final set; he didn't sit down and write them out in sequence. Anderszewski's execution is both rigorous and attractive. He perceives the works as "character pieces" and "realised the particular importance of giving each theme of each fugue a specific character." These are carried through the fugues with impressive consistency and control. Throughout, Anderszewski keeps his piano to chamber dimensions, and the variety with the overall quiet dynamic levels becomes quite absorbing. The downside is that although Bach reworked his compositions in many ways, he never did so in anything like this way, and, with a composer as systematically minded as Bach, one hesitates to fool with basic structures. Taken on its terms, however, Anderszewski's performance succeeds.

© TiVo

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