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Die Kunst der Fugue BWV 1080

Edward Aldwell (Piano)

Aldwell’s Bach

K-4

Aldwell Plays Bach

French Overture in B minor, BWV 831 [28:46]
11 fugues from Die Kunst der Fuge BWV 1080 [44:44]

Edward Aldwell (Piano)

Biddulph

Nov 1996

CD / TT: 73:47

Recorded at American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY, USA.
1st recording of French Overture BWV 831 by E. Aldwell.
Review: Aldwell’s Bach
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Aldwell’s Bach

Donald Satz wrote (July 3, 1999):
I was listening last night to Edward Aldwell's Biddulph cd containing the French Overture in B minor and eleven fugues from the Art of Fugue. He certainly is a distinctive pianist, and this assessment also applies to his recordings of the WTC and Goldberg Variations.

As an example, I always, when listening to the Art of Fugue, go first to the Contrapunctus III. If the pianist can't grab me on that fugue, the rest is a lost cause. Aldwell, in this fugue, provides a dream-like atmosphere of true beauty. His pacing and inflections do vary and might be considered disagreeable by some. To me, he amazingly keeps me on his track; he convinces me that he's right. I had the same reaction to his WTC. Aldwell is a man with a plan, and he thoroughly wins me over.

His Art of Fugue disc was recorded in 1997. The sound is excellent although I did have to spend a little time until I felt my audio adjustments were just right. Aldwell plays in a rich manner, and I enjoyed the music more by "drying out" the sound. It worked beautifully.

Overall, I consider Aldwell one of the best Bach interpreters currently active. If you like Bach on the piano, Aldwell is a must. His WTC is on Nonesuch, and the Goldbergs on Biddulph.

As an aside, I've heard that Tureck's 2nd recording in the Philips Great Pianist series is coming out later this month. Naturally, it's devoted to Bach - this time the main work is the Goldbergs.

Bach, Aldwell, Tureck - all artistic masters. Would I call them that or "maestro" to their faces? No, even they don't rate any lofty designation; nobody does. If Bach were to appear before me, I'd call him Mr. Bach and would expect a similar designation back; after that, it would be first names all around.

 

Feedback to the Review

Gerardo Constantini wrote (July 3, 1999):
Donald Satz wrote:
< Bach, Aldwell, Tureck - all artistic masters. Would I call them that or "maestro" to their faces? No, even they don't rate any lofty designation; nobody does. If Bach were to appear before me, I'd call him Mr. Bach and would expect a similar designation back; after that, it would be first names all around. >
Interesting this coment about Adwell. I really can't imagine him togheter with Tureck, and less with Gould. Anyway inever listened how he plays Bach. Something very funny happened to me in 1979. My actual teacher at that time at Mannes College, was Mdme.Yablonskaya, but she was preparing a move to Germany for about two years. Then I begun to look for a new teacher. There was Arkady Aronov, one of the possibilities, but I saw sometimes a teacher who make a very interesting classes, and I was thinking this one was Edwar Adwell.then I found his phone, then I called him and I made an appointement. Then I went to his apartment, I Knocked the door, and! surprise: he was not the person I think he was suppose to be.Well there was nothing to do, I play for him, and I realize I can't study with Adwell, and he feel the same way. Our musical Horizon was too different. At least at that time (in my opinion), his musical conception was music in "small size", not too much forte, not too much pianissimo: It looks to me like everything was too much for him. Something close to a Serkin aproach. Very dry. Of course it was what I feel of him, but as I told you I never listened his playing, maybe my opinion can change. But I don't think is a must to like Adwell Bach's playing, if somebody likes Bach played in piano, you still have Gould, Schiff, Nikolaieva,etc.: By the way somebody in this list listened from a live performance the Italian Concerto played by Gyorgy Sandor?. it was one of the deepest experiences in my life. It's giant. Ahhh, if Bach appears before me, the first word I think to call him: Maestro, or maybe Maestro de maestros, or maybe Maestro di maestri, or maybe Master of masters.

Donald Satz wrote (July 4, 1999):
Gerado Constantini wrote:
< But I don't think is a must to like Aldwell's Bach playing; if somebody likes Bach played in piano, you still have Gould, Schiff, Nikolaieva, etc. >
Sure, nobody will expire without Aldwell's Bach. But, he's highly distinctive and worth checking out.

At the risk of sharp objects being beamed my way, I can't place Schiff in the front-rank of Bach interpreters. To me, he's the Mr. Mainstream of Bach piano intepretation. That's not bad at all. I always enjoy the experience when I listen to Schiff's Bach, and I appreciate the mainstream playing. But, he doesn't scale any heights I recognize except for his recording of the Inventions which I like more than any other. Go figure. That was the first Bach I heard from Schiff, and his subsequent recordings have been a little disappointing.

Art Scott wrote (July 5, 2001):
Gerardo Constantini wrote:
< Interesting this coment about Adwell. I really can't imagine him togheter with Tureck,and less with Gould. Anyway inever listened how he plays Bach. >
I wouldn't even put him together with Liberace & Chico Marx. I heard him in S.F. in 1992 in a performance of the Goldbergs, and it was, bar none, the most clinker and flub-filled performance I've ever heard from a supposedly professional pianist. I could only conclude that his well-regarded recordings were a product of the digital editor's art, not the pianist's.

Donald Satz wrote (July 5, 2001):
Art Scott wrote:
< I wouldn't even put him together with Liberace & Chico Marx. I heard him in S.F. in 1992 in a performance of the Goldbergs, and it was, bar none, the most clinker and flub-filled performance I've ever heard from a supposedly professional pianist. >
This is the third seemingly "permanent" dismissal for an artist based on one live performance that I've read on the list. The other two were Brendel and Welser-Most. I'm sure there are more. How would you like to be permanently judged based on a portion of one day in your life?

< I could only conclude that his well-regarded recordings were a product of the digital editor's art, not the pianist's. >
Engineering can mask many problems of technique and proficiency, but it can't provide the depth of the communication between the composer and the pianist, and then between the pianist and listener. Aldwell's very strong in that area for me. I know I've come across a great artist when I feel I've been taken directly to the source of the music - the composer, and more than that, inside the composer where I share his/her mind and feelings. I'm confident that's the main reason why record collectors are more than willing to live with the relatively poor sound of historical recordings.

Gerardo Constantini wrote (July 12, 1999):
[To Donald Satz] I think all this points of view finally depend on the different kinds of TASTE. Aldwell has a very solid knowledge of music in general terms.He used to teach Piano and Mucic theory at Mannes.He is supossed to be very introspect and analytic in every piece he play maybe, BUT unfortunately not always it means a superlative performance of some work. As I told you before: I never listened his Bach performance, but I listened in different times some of his aproaches,and some of his playing, and for me it is unexpressive. About the quality of recordings, I think it is no relevant, because despite the good or poor quality of it, you can save at least the "general" aproach to the works the artist is playing. What about the old recordings of Brailowsky (as an example),and other old greats. Two weeks ago a listened after a lot of time and old LP of Rubinstein playing the two Chopin concerti with the LondSymphony conducted by Sir Jhon Barbirolli.What a jewel. The quality of that recording is just terrible, but the musical rendition of it is so marvelous. Now, speaking of a pianists of major stature, something close to Adwell, happen with Brendel. Even if I recognize his level, I don't like Brendel's pianism, specially for his "fast" slow tempi.

 

Die Kunst der Fugue BWV 1080: Details
Recordings:
Until 1950 | 1951-1960 | 1961-1970 | 1971-1980 | 1981-1990 | 1991-2000 | From 2001
Discussions:
General Discussions – Part 1 | MD: The Art of Fugue
Reviews:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | AOF - Aldwell | AOF - Alessandrini | AOF - Delft | AOF - MacGregor | AOF - Phantasm | AOF - Scherchen | AOF - Taussig
Articles:
The Art of Fugue: Expanding the Limits! [E. Demeyere]

Edward Aldwell: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Aldwell’s Bach

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Last update: ýSeptember 27, 2006 ý16:11:59