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Well Tempered Clavier Book I BWV 846-869
Sergey Schepkin (Piano)
Schepkin’s Well Tempered Clavier, Book I

Contents

Recording
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Feedback

 

Recording

K-4

J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier I

WTC 1: 24 Preludes & Fugues BWV 846-869

Sergey Schepkin (Piano)

Ongaku Records

Jan 14-15, 1998; Jul 31, 1998

2-CD / TT:

Recorded at Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, MA, USA.
Review: Schepkin’s Well Tempered Clavier, Book I (10 Parts)
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Part 1

Donald Satz wrote (September 4, 1999):
As promised, this begins my thorough review of WTC, Book I and Sergey Schepkin's new recording on Ongaku.

First, some overall comments about the WTC. If you look at this body of works as a series of "miniatures", either you're not "getting it" or the performances are not sufficiently insightful. I think of each prelude and fugue as a musical journey through a key, with various emotional messages conveyed from Bach through the pianist:

1. Prelude in C - This is an amazing piece of music. In its elemental state and if played "straight, it can seem analagous to the playing of scales. The pianist's challenge is to dig into the work and bring to the surface as much of what's hidden as possible. Gould surfaces brilliantly the excitement, drive, and energy of the piece, while Jarrett surfaces the trance-like features. Schepkin plays the prelude well with a commanding bass line, and I did feel that I had been on a journey. But, he does not reach the heights displayed by Gould or Jarrett. On a scale of 1 to 4, Schepkin rates 3.

2. Fugue in C - I call this the "steamroller" fugue. I look in a performance for the inexorable steam rolling effect of the bass line and the highlighting of the contrapuntal features. Schepkin does not succeed here. There's no magic - just a straight run-thru. 2

3. Prelude in C minor - This is a wild, demonic, and intense prelude. It's a constant thrill, and Schepkin is really in his element here. I find this a perfect reading. 4

4. Fugue in C minor - This piece best reminds me of a petulant child at play who finally takes a rest at the end of the day. Schepkin does conjure up that image but the last ounce of magic is missing. 3

5. Prelude in C-sharp - This prelude represents a joyous Spring day at the carnival with jugglers, knife throwers, and fire eaters providing the entertainment. The prelude is tinged with a "manic" quality as the customers and performers are overly excited at the rebirth of the land's fertility. Schepkin provides all the joy I could want, but he's not "spot on" with the mania of the piece. 3

6. Fugue in C-sharp - Spring has passed and it's late summer. Joy is still in the air, but so is a nostalgia as the ending of summer is realized. Schepkin is great here - joy and nostalgia in full measure; I felt as if the school bells were ready to ring. 4

7. Prelude in C-sharp minor - Whereas the C-sharp pieces are largely positive in outlook, the C-sharp minor pieces lead us toward impending doom. In the prelude, a deep romance is in trouble and we realize it can not last. Schepkin is superb in bringing out the inherent feelings of deep lovers who somehow know that disaster is around the corner. 4

8. Fugue in C-sharp minor - This fugue continues with the plight of the two lovers. One of them, due to health reasons, has a date with the grim reaper, and although there are two periods of remission, death takes the lover at the end. This is a very strong and sad fugue which requires that the pianist convey the full measure of impending loss and the fact that bad things happen to good people. The fugue is a journey to death, and Schepkin takes me there as well as any other pianist I've heard. There's no blame - just an understanding of the arbitrary nature of human events. 4

I welcome any and all comments on your conception of each prelude and fugue and your overall conception of the WTC.

 

Part 2

Donald Satz wrote (September 6, 1999):
In this installment, I cover the preludes/fugues in D and D minor. For me, these two preludes are "fast travelling" in nature, while the fugues deal with death:

9. Prelude in D - This is a relatively wild ride where a husband is driving his soon-to-deliver wife to the hospital. Although both the wife and her husband are very anxious, there is a hectic sense of anticipation after 9 months of waiting. Schepkin does well, but his tretment of the bass line is not quite as effective as with other pianists. 3

10. Fugue in D - I hear this fugue as a "victory for death". Both mother and baby have died in the operating room. The fugue sees all this from Death's position, with a little fanfare at having drawn in two people at the same time. Schepkin is superb here. 4

11. Prelude in D minor - Another wild ride, but this time it's the old "Keystone Cops" from old movies who are chasing the bandits. This Keystone Cop episode possesses no humor. The chase is hot and fast, and the KC's plunge to their death off a cliff; you can even hear their police vehicle "go down". Schepkin displays all I could want: tension, panic, speed, menace, and the sense of the plunge off the cliff. 4

12. Fugue in D minor - The Keystone Cops receive their funeral, and folks come from hundreds of miles away to attend. After all, these were famous "coppers". The sense of despair and ultimate acceptance of death is very strong. This is a powerful piece of music with many emotions tightly wound into the fabric, and Schepkin plays it for all it's worth. 4

I've been presenting little story lines with the music. These stories are very personal, so I wouldn't expect that any other individuals would be conjuring up the same images. Also, Bach did not convey any stories; he conveyed emotions. I just take them and the story unfolds. Next installment is tomorrow. Up to this point, I am very impressed with Schepkin.

 

Part 3

Donald Satz wrote (September 7, 1999):
I'm getting to the point where I can type this pianist's name without peeking at the booklet; thank goodness for a well-rounded education.

If you are confused, or as the song goes, "Dazed and Confused", you can always remedy that by listening to Bach. There's a rock-solid foundation to his music which might not make you feel better, but you'll know what's going on.

And it's time for me to go on with my review of Schepkin's WTC, Book I. This time, it's the preludes/fugues in E flat and D-sharp minor. I find the E flat pieces highly life-affirming. The D-sharp minor pieces will not improve your mood; just the opposite.

13. Prelude in E flat - This prelude represents to me the wonder of maternalistic instinct. The prelude starts with the new mother bonding with her baby and then proceeds to chronicle the life of their relationship. There are a few rocky times, but you're never in doubt that the strength of their bond will overcome all other considerations. Schepkin is spot-on here. He just gets better and better. 4

14. Fugue in E flat - This is such a joyous piece of music, and I think of it as a "tribute to life". Very appropriate after listening to the prelude. Schepkin is as joyous as anyone I've heard, and his bass line is fantastic. 4

15. Prelude in D-sharp minor - There's tragedy in the air. A princess is being forced by her father to marry a man of the nobility and the King has already executed his daughter's "love". The princess is thinking on her loss and the differences between her love and the choice of her father. She implores her father to call an end to the , but to no avail. She contemplates suicide; she does it with a slicing of her throat. She falls to the ground; the blood is streaking down the side of her face as she slowly sinks into darkness. Schepkin captures all this beautifully; he's a great "bad-times" pianist. 4

16. Fugue in D-sharp minor - The King has murdered one man and lost his daughter. This isn't what he anticipated. He can't stop thinking about how much guilt he feels, and he can't look his Queen in the face. Although the King has moments when he determines to blame his daughter for her weaknesses, he knows where the responsibility resides. "Fade Out". I know I'm sounding like my needle's stuck in a groove, but Schepkin excels here as much as in any other piece. 4

 

Part 4

Donald Satz wrote (September 10, 1999):
The preludes/fugues in E and e are next on the agenda. Highlighted themes involve puppets, dancing, exuberant labor, prayer, impending doom, and carnage:

17. Prelude in E - Night is cascading down on a New England town. In a small store-front toy shop, the owner is closing up for the day. He climbs the stairs to his 2nd floor studio residence, leaving the store silent. Upon his departure, little wooden puppets spring to life and start dancing together. This is not wild or energetic dancing, but dancing of a delicate nature in keeping with the delicate construction of the puppets. The dancing continues until dawn starts to break, and the puppets return to their original postions. Bach provides music of great fragility in this prelude. Schepkin almost gets it right, but I felt that he was a little too restrained. 3

18. Fugue in E - The New England town is waking up and getting ready for a day of commerce. Store-front owners are quickly washing their display windows, garage bay doors are opening, produce is being delivered and put on display, etc. There's an exuberance to the labor being applied, as if each working person is receiving doses of confidence and strength with every minute of work. This is a bustling town, well aware that its vitality is maintained through hard work. Schepkin is great in this fugue, fully capturing the uplifting nature of hard work, commerce, and productivity. 4

19. Prelude in e - All the villagers are huddled in the village square, praying to their God for absolution of sins committed. A scout has warned the village elders that a hostile and large barbarian army is scorching the land, killing all people in its way, and headed for them. They have no deterrent for such a force, and prayer is their only solace. The music is somber, slow, and reverent. Suddenly, it turns fast and ominous as the barbarian army can be heard galloping toward the village. The noise gets louder, and the residents become more panicky. Fear is taking over. Schepkin does a beautiful job; his playing which corresponds to the oncoming horde is fully effective and chilling. 4

20. Fugue in e - Hell is upon us. The army has entered the village with just one goal in mind, to savagely destroy everyone and everything. They leave no stone unturned. Heads are cut off, babies thrown into a fiery inferno, bodies dismembered. None of this is done out of revenge or to take over the village. The only motivation is the satisfaction of human destruction. I see this fugue as testimony to the arbitrary yet strongly focused nature of killing and mutilation for no other reason than to do it - not a pretty picture of the underside of the human condition. The images that floated in my mind were never stronger than in Schepkin's interpretation. 4

 

Part 5

Donald Satz wrote (September 13, 1999):
In much of Bach's music I find a strong sense of community. It's not the "it takes a village" type, but a community based on the joy of interaction among people with common dreams and experiences. Also prevalent in Bach's music is the theme of the individual trying to cope with life, sometimes succeeding (sometimes not), but always struggling with life's requirements and temptations.

Both of these themes come through in the preludes/fugues in F and F minor:

21. Prelude in F - The island town is having its annual sail boat race. Excitement and the sense of a joined experience are prevalent. The boats begin their race with all crew members working at a quick pace and thorough expertise for their particular functions. Midway through the race, dark clouds and gale-like winds invade the proceedings; there are moments of high anxiety, but the crews are used to these weather conditions and the winds and clouds break long before the end of the race. As usual, Schepkin uncovers all that the piece conveys. 4

22. Fugue in F - The custom each year is to have a town fish-fry and barbecue after the race. The townspeople all look forward to this day: good food, good company, and shared experiences. There are some moments when the talk around the eating tables turns to the short storm during the race; some crew members ponder their sense of invulnerabilty. However, they all go back to feeling joyous and sure of themselves. Schepkin provides a fine sense of community and the trace of doubt of human supremacy. 4

23. Prelude in F minor - A young woman is sitting in her small and dilapidated apartment, her mind focused on her heroin addiction and the resignation she feels at how her life has turned out - a continuous cycle of need for money, prostituting herself to get the money, and using it to buy the drug. She sees no way out, and sees nobody coming to her aid. At one point you can almost feel the heroin entering her bloodstream; it's an uplighting musical moment since it's the only positive feeling the young woman ever has. 4

24. Fugue in F minor - Her regular dealer has been killed. Although not a person of fine character, this dealer had dealt with her fairly within the drug environment: the right dose in return for sex. Now, she is dealing with a variety of dealers, and she has no trust in any of them. She feels totally isolated and helpless. She does fantasize about meeting a nice guy, having children, living a secure middle-class life. Then, she looks at her arms and face in the cracked mirror, and the fantasy evaporates. The mirror tells everything. Schepkin gives us another superb bad-times picture: bleak, with the warmth of human contact/kindness lurking in the shadows but never touching the young woman. 4

 

Part 6

Donald Satz wrote (September 16, 1999):
Taking a break from overrated composers, unappreciated composers, how to define music and is there any point to it, and if there's any point in listening to Cage, I'll move on with two more preludes and fugues from Schepkin's WTC, Book I.

Prelude in F-sharp - Many of the families on a fine Saturday afternoon are gathered at the bandstand for an afternoon of music and food. Serenity is the prevailing atmosphere of the day. The children are playing vigorously but feeling happy and content. Adults are sitting on their blankets, soaking up the Spring sun, and saturated with warmth. There's a playfulness in the music which Schepkin conveys beautifully. 4

Fugue in F-sharp - It's early evening, the concert is over, and Grandpa is relaxing on the veranda. The grandchildren have all come over, and Grandpa will get no rest. That's fine with him. He loves every one of them and is always glad to have their company. They ask him all kinds of questions and get him to play a few games with them. As the children leave for home, he feels a strong sense of continuity. This is what life is all about. Schepkin is superb. The sense of continuity, intimate interaction, and nostalgia is very strong. 4

Prelude in F-sharp minor - There's a prison break taking place - through the sewerage pipe, 4 miles of swamp, then 50 miles to the Gulf where a fishing boat is hopefully waiting. These five prisoners have spent months planning their escape and a temporary bond has been established among them. But, confidence is low as they make their way through the pipe; each one knows that they are proverbial losers and that things usually don't go their way. Schepkin does well in conveying the sense of bonding, danger, and panic. But, I would have preferred a more omaura. 3

Fugue in F-sharp minor - They've been lost in the swamp for four days. Food and drinking water are dangerously low. The have an assortment of injuries which renders their forward motion negligible. Hope is running out, and all of them are lying on the ground, all energy a past reflection. They never get up. This is dispiriting music, the "all is lost" type. And Schepkin gets it just right. 4

As you've probably noticed, I find many extremes of emotions in the WTC. They range from the heights of life fulfilled and shared to the absolute bottom of the barrel, physically and emotionally. Usually, when I hear these extremes in music, it's very upfront and over-the-top. Not with Bach. His subtlety, shading, and nobility does not allow for highly overt posturings. The listener has to dig deep into the music to reap the rewards, and the rate of return can be exponential.

 

Part 7

Donald Satz wrote (September 18, 1999):
This post covers the preludes/fugues in G and G minor:

Prelude in G - The prevailing mood of this prelude is a sense of galloping speed as the first manned flight to Mars lifts off. The ship and its crew are flying upwards through the Earth's atmosphere, and the feeling of turbulance at unbelievable speed is pulsating through the crew members' bodies. Suddenly, they feel as if they are tumbling downward, but its only the sensation of the Earth's atmosphere letting go. Another winner for Schepkin, as he conveys a great sense of speed, wonder, and release from the atmosphere. 4

Fugue in G - Beyond the confines of the Earth's grasp, the ship floats quickly through space in an effortless manner. The crew is relieved and feeling very calm. They go about their appointed functions. Time has passed and the ship is beginning to get sucked into Mar's atmosphere. Excitement is bountiful as the journey continues. Again, Schepkin is spot-on. 4

Prelude in G minor - The German troops are retreating from the Russian front. Not many weeks ago, they thought that victory was theirs. Now, any thoughts of victory have been replaced by the survival instinct. The retreat is a slow one as they trudge through the deep snow with the wind whipping into their bodies. There is a strong element of sadness which Schepkin captures perfectly. 4

Fugue in G minor - A large, confused, and grieved crowd has collected at the railway station to meet the first trainloads of soldiers, dead and alive, from the Russian front. No one knows if loved ones are alive, injured, dead, or even on the trains at all. The giddly optimism of a few years ago at the certainty of defeating all enemies and taking their rightful place as the head of all nations is a dead thought now. Where did it all go wrong? What terrors are ahead of them? The trains, sounding so powerful and final, arrive at the station. Another 4.

 

Part 8

Donald Satz wrote (September 21, 1999):
In this post, I cover the preludes/fugues in A-flat and G-sharp minor. These pieces convey to me the ending of WWII in 1945. Although I wasn't even born by that time, the stories I heard from relatives, books I read, and newsreels watched did provide me with relatively vivid images of that period.

Prelude in A-flat - I remmeber newsreel footage of the end of the war being announced and the joyful bedlam of thousands of folks in the major American cities such as New York. They looked so happy and exuberant, everyone hugging, kissing, and having a great time. I can imagine this prelude being played in conjunction with the visual footage. Schepkin's performance brings out all those emotions I assign to the piece. 4

Fugue in A-flat - Although I don't know this as a fact, I assume that Soviet citizens were not as elated as their American counterparts, since the Soviet Union endured so much damage from the German invasion. I see this prelude as a relatively subdued relief from war, with citizens feeling very torn as to how to respond to the news of the war's end. There's regret at what's been lost but also a quiet optimism as the future begins. This is one beautiful piece of music; different emotions just keep penetrating me, and Schepkin does it proud. 4.

Prelude in G-sharp minor - It's just minutes before the American planes drop their atomic loads on two Japanese cities. Children are playing in the streets, having no idea of the horror to engulf them, but the music pays homage, ever so subtlely, to impending disaster. This is one of Schepkin's best performances. 4

Fugue in G-sharp minor - The bombing has ended and the fires have lost their force. Survivors are in a state of shock; the music is totally bleak and closed. We switch to the office of President Truman who's sitting alone. Initially, he has a subdued but good feeling of the decision he has made, but he also thinks of all the Japanese citizens that have been obliterated or left to suffer. The music continues to switch from the survivors to Truman and ends in quiet misery. Again, top marks to Schepkin. 4

 

Part 9

Donald Satz wrote (September 22, 1999):
Here come the preludes/fugues in A and A minor and the fortune teller:

Prelude in A - It's a day in the life of a female fortune teller who is a recent arrival to town. Folks keep visiting her, paying their money, and leaving contented. The music is relatively quiet and quite mellow, but tinged with a little sadness which represents the gullible quality of humans. Schepkin engages in some great part-playing and fully conveys the emotions of the prelude. 4

Fugue in A - The workday is over. Our fortune teller counts out the monies collected for the day in a gleeful and fast manner; Schepkin is great - you can almost feel the cash and coin being flicked off her hands and fingers. After counting it once, she does it again and again; she's getting a real rush out of this. Finally, she's had her full and skips merrily to the bank to make her daily deposit. 4

Prelude in A minor - The car chase is on. The police have a warrant for her arrest for Fraud and passing bad checks. She's a few miles ahead of them, but they're closing in fast. They get their woman. Schepkin takes me on a wild ride. 4

Fugue in A minor - Our fortune teller has been given a 3 year prison term. Life is not good for her in prison. Did I mention that she was a real knockout? - petite, with a face of serenity. She's usually absorbed in warding off the other females who are attracted to her. So far, she's been able to keep her distance, but it's all tiring her out. And she stops trying. Schepkin does an excellent job of conveying the bleakness we can bring on to ourselves and the cessation of hope. 4

 

Part 10

Donald Satz wrote (September 27, 1999):
I'm getting to the finish line, and this last post covers the preludes/fugues in B-flat, B-flat minor, B, and B minor:

Prelude in B-flat - Our hero is trying to cross the border between Mexico and the United States in the San Diego area, specifically by swimming out from the Mexican side of the Pacific Ocean beyond the border fencing extending from the shoreline. He's swimming fast, then running for his life while the Border Patrol agents are in hot pursuit. They don't catch him. The scene switches to the halls of Congress where our politicians are debating revisions to current immigration policies; the pols are heatedly voicing their opinions, continuously yammering their messages to the tv cameras. Schepkin is great here. The chase is done perfectly, and I could almost hear the politicians going on and on. 4

Fugue in B-flat - This is a truely *happy* piece of music. Our hero, after 8 months of work in the U.S., has crossed the border again back into Mexico to be reunited with his wife and three children. He's missed them so much and prays that he will never have to leave again. But, he has his doubts; nothing seems to change. I was a little surprised that Schepkin could be a happy player, but he's spot-on. 4

Prelude in B-flat minor - In a slow-motion fashion, our hero is crossing the border again in the same way as before. But, the sea is choppy this time with a significant under-toe. He's not really intimate with the ocean and gets caught up in an under-toe he can't cope with.He is further and further out to sea, losing all his sense of direction, stamina and breathing capacity. He sinks to his death. Schepkin gives us the bad news as convincingly as I've heard. 4

Fugue in B-flat minor - Two years have passed. Our hero's wife still looks for sight of him every day. She knows he's strong and devoted to her and the children. He will come back; he must. And, still, the politicians keep debating, displaying no awareness that their postures and the postures of those before them are responsible for daily deaths of illegal immigrants and Border Patrol agents. The plight of loved ones isn't even a blip on the screen. Superb interpretation by Schepkin - I was really mad and frustrated by the end of the fugue. 4

I've taken a few liberties in my descriptions, but I am very familiar with Border business in California. If you're at a border fence, you see hundreds of childrens' eyes staring at you through the fence links. It's an eerie feeling and a bad one. I've also known a Border Patrol agent killed on the job. Bach and Schepkin must be very effective - They've got me feeling morose now. I'll play that happy fugue again.

Prelude in B - Matt and Nadine are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in the company of their family. It's an intimate and satisfying evening with much verbal reflection that each of them feels. Another winner for Schepkin. 4

Fugue in B - Matt and Nadine's 10th grandchild, a boy, has just been born. The whole family has gathered for the circumcision. It's an atmosphere of subdued joy, full satisfaction, and love. Matt and Nadine look at everyone and smile at one another; it's all come from them. 4

Prelude in B minor - Matt and Nadine die within two months of one another. The funerals are well-attended. Close family members feel like the anchors of their lives have been snatched away; the younger grandchildren want to play with their grandparents. Schepkin's very good at funerals. 4

Fugue in B minor - Six months later, the youngest grandchild of Matt and Nadine dies of lukemia. Another funeral is at hand. But, this one is all wrong. The parents can't believe it's happening - is this something which can be endured? 4

I've enjoyed this review mainly because it required that I push all the daily crap out of my mind and concentrate on nothing but Bach. Doing just that, I have emerged form the process with a higher appreciation of the WTC and Bach's genius than ever. The images I provided are my own, and I wouldn't expect nor want anyone else to possess them. But, their existence within me is a condition I hope everyone else experiences with the music they love most. In a few situations I had to go to a 2nd best image with the strongest one not being appropriate for the list. Still, every image was vivid and I could still see and feel them as I was listening and writing at the same time. But, the music is now silent, and I need to attend to mundane matters such as dinner and taking the trash to the street corner. Bach, then trash. Life is a blast.

I almost forgot - the verdict on Schepkin. I've had a great and rewarding time with Schepkin. Buy him and also buy his recording of Bach's Partitas.

 

Feedback to the Reviews

Felix Delbruck wrote (September 6, 1999):
Don Satz gave his conceptions of Bach's WTI, vol I, preludes + fugues nos 1 - 4.

I'm interested to see that you view the WTI so much in 'romantic', narrative terms. Cortot, I think, did a lot of that sort of thing, eg with the Chopin preludes, and Tausig saw the Barcarolle as the meeting of two lovers (being able to pinpoint the kiss down to the very chord). Looking at my score again, I can sort of see where your ideas are coming from. It's just that I would never have pinpointed the moods with such concrete precision. Did these images solidify over years of listening, or were they inspired by particular interpretations? When I listen to the last few minutes of Rachmaninoff's recording of his 3rd concerto, I can't help thinking of two lovers parting as one of them hurries to get on a train that is about to leave (and does so in the last octave flourish).

Donald Satz wrote (September 6, 1999):
Felix Delbrueck wrote:
< I'm interested to see that you view the WTI so much in 'romantic' narrative terms. I can sort of see where your ideas are coming from. It's just that I would never have pinpointed the moods with such concrete precision. Did these images solidify over years of listening, or were they inspired by particular interpretations? >
A combination of both, but mainly through particular interpretations. Also, when I'm playing/listening to a piece of music in my mind, I tend to come up with the interpretation that I like best. It's mostly a case of closing my eyes and letting the music envelop me; *if* I like the piece and the performance, various images which lead to a life episode will just come to my awareness. This always happens with many Bach works. That's why I am convinced that Bach was a composer of great emotional depth, for me anyways.

I view the WTC in romantic terms? I never thought of it that way, but maybe I'm a romantic at heart. One thing I do know; the images I conjure up are often associated with power, speed, doom, nostalgia, and pathos. It's a tough world. That's a prime reason I try to be positive.

Aaron J. Rabushka wrote (September 6, 1999):
Anyone who picks out strong emotions from WTC has gotten past the theory and into the music. We can dicker (bicor?) back and forth as to what these emotions are, but they are certainly there. Along with (rather than instead of) some of the most dashingly accomplished counterpoint anywhere.

Donald Satz wrote (September 8, 1999):
Aaron Rabushka wrote:
< Anyone who picks out strong emotions from WTC has gotten past the theory and into the music. >
Nah, I just bypassed the theory. Actually, I was immersed in music theory as a youngster, and had nothing but disdain for it. I guess it's still in me somewhere.

Although I've enjoyed presenting this thread, I will be slowing down the pace a little. Frankly, the time I'm spending on reading the scores, listening many times to Schepkin, and listening to alternatives(Gould, Schiff, Hewitt,Jarrett, Aldwell, Martins, and Horszowski) is cutting dearly into my listening to other recordings. As usual, the planning takes much more time than the writing.

Wes Thompson wrote (September 11, 1999):
Donald Satz wrote:
< Frankly, the time I'm spending on reading the scores, listening many times to Schepkin, and listening to alternatives(Gould, Schiff, Hewitt,Jarrett, Aldwell, Martins, and Horszowski) is cutting dearly into my listening to other recordings. >
Don - not to extend your endeavor, but have you (or any of the rest of you folks) heard Julia Cload's WTC? Her piano playing on the Haydn sonatas is (in my estimation) compelling - and just beautiful. Also, has anyone listened to Samuil Feinberg's WTC lately? I hear every note sings.

Donald Satz wrote (September 11, 1999):
Wes Thompson wrote:
< Don - not to extend your endeavor, but have you (or any of the rest of you) heard Julia Cload's WTC? >
I haven't heard Cload or Feinberg. It's amazing how many recordings you can buy, watch a big dent being made in your budget, and then have to admit that you only have a small percentage of all worthy classical recordings. My wife thinks I have "everything", and nothing I say seems to alter her view. She just can't believe that there is so much of a musical type she knows to be of low general popularity.

Anyways, I'll certainly keep both Cload and Feinberg in mind, particularly Feinberg.

Michael Stein wrote (September 15, 1999):
Wes asks about the Feinberg WTC, saying he hears every note sings.

I agree - there is a devotional quality to the playing. I am enjoying the Schepkin disk very much, but Feinberg's has a lock on my affections forever.

There were two releases of Feinberg's recording. One, on RussianDIsc, was inexpensive. Be warned: Book II, Prelude #13 starts off at annoyingly low level. At some point a probably lazy engineer realized this and turned up the volume to match the rest of the recording. I don't know if the other laalso contains this problem. Does anyone know of the other recording, and whether it is free from this defect?

Wes Crone wrote (September 15, 1999):
Actually, I've never even heard Feinberg’s performance and I never commented on it. You must have read someone else's post. However, if the post you read was extremely witty and overflowing with intelligence then I'll be glad to take credit for it! I think I may go check out the Feinberg, now, havin heard the praise you have for it!

 

Well Tempered Clavier Book I BWV 846-869: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
WTC I - D. Barenboim [D. Satz] | WTC I - D. Barenboim [P. Bright] | WTC I - T. Fellner | WTC I - E. Fischer | WTC I - M. Horszowski | WTC I - C. Jaccottet | WTC I - R. Kirkpatrick | WTC I - T. Koopman | WTC I - W. Landowska | WTC I - R. Levin | WTC I - O. Mustonen | WTC I - S. Richter | WTC I - S. Schepkin
Well Tempered Clavier Book II BWV 870-893: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9
WTC II - D. Barenboim [P. Bright] | WTC II - G. Cooper | WTC II - F. Gulda | WTC II - A. Hewitt | WTC II - R. Kirkpatrick | WTC II - J. Middleton
Well Tempered Clavier Books I&II BWV 846-893: WTC I&II - B.v. Asperen, S. Ross & G. Wilson | WTC I&II - E. Crochet | WTC I&II - O. Dantone | WTC I&II S. Feinberg | WTC II&II - T. Nikolayeva | WTC II&II - L. Thiry [N. Halliday] | WTC I&II - Z. Ruzickova

Sergey Schepkin: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
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Schepkin’s Well Tempered Clavier, Book I (10 Parts) | Three Goldbergs

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Last update: ýOctober 2, 2006 ý18:02:56