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Well Tempered Clavier Book II BWV 870-893
Ralph Kirkpatrick (Harpsichord)
Ralph’s Kirkpatrick’s Well Temepered Clavier Book II

K-8

J.S. Bach: Das Wohltemprierte Klavier, Teil II BWV 870-893

WTC 2: 24 Preludes & Fugues BWV 870-893

Ralph Kirkpatrick (Clavichord)

Archiv Produktion

May-Jun 1967

2-CD / TT: 135:09

Recorded at Studio Dr. Thienhaus & Studio "Windrose", Hamburg, Germany. 1st recording of WTC 2 by R. Kirkpatrick.
Review: Ralph’s Kirkpatrick’s Well Temepered Clavier Book II
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Donald Satz wrote (May 14, 2001):
A short number of weeks ago, I reviewed Ralph Kirkpatrick's performances on clavichord of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier Book I and found them highly rewarding and worthy of acquisition. Kirkpatrick's Book II, also on clavichord, has now been released and is the subject of this review. The set is on DG with a catalog number of 289 463 623-2.

As with Book I, Kirkpatrick delivers well nuanced and expressive readings with fine lyricism and depth. His clavichord has a crisp and tangy flavor which, combined with excellent accenting and phrasing, provides a distinctive and rewarding listening experience. Kirkpatrick also has a superb sense of rhythmic flow and pulse.

Here are some highlights of the set:

Prelude & Fugue in C sharp major - Kirkpatrick's Adagio in the Prelude is very fast and initially sounded rushed; however, he quickly had me totally convinced of his approach as I was drawn into the momentum and drive of the reading. The Allegro is exciting with a high degree of lyricism. In the Fugue, Kirkpatrick's urgency, tension, poetry, and playfulness results in a performance which surpasses most of the alternatives.

Fugue in C sharp minor - This piece usually conjures up images for me of cataclysmic upheavals. Gould and Gulda have been my standards with their blistering performances; Kirkpatrick is in this camp and equally effective. Given that I generally don't find the clavichord an excellent match for powerful and fast music, I am particularly impressed with Kirkpatrick's reading. He keeps the 'heat on' from start to finish.

Fugue in D major - Kirkpatrick invests this reflective and uplifting music with a compelling nobility and rhythmic flow.

Prelude in E major - Kirkpatrick brings an exquisite and delicate touch to this joyful and uplifting Prelude.

Prelude in F minor - The majestic Prelude has a wide palate of colors and emotions which Kirkpatrick conveys as effectively as any other version including the Gulda and Tureck readings. Kirkpatrick's three note sighs are particularly stunning.

Fugue in G major - Gulda's version is my standard for the G major; his slow pacing and staccato delivery wins my heart. Kirkpatrick, although quicker than Gulda, provides a delicate touch which blends beautifully with the music's drama and urgency.

Any negatives? Sometimes, Kirkpatrick is very quick with a little loss of lyricism. This is not a serious problem as he always maintains a strong pulse. Also, I do feel that his set is stronger in the first half of Book II.

Don's Conclusions: Kirkpatrick's Book II is a fine achievement, and the use of the clavichord throughout is unusual and distinctive. His performances compare well with those on clavichord by Robert Levin on his very rewarding Hänssler set. Although I do prefer the performances by Tureck and Gulda, Kirkpatrick provides a fine alternative. My recommendation for those wanting at least a few versions of the WTC is to make sure you count Kirkpatrick as one of them. I do not recommend the set as an only version; for that scenario, Gulda and particularly Tureck are recommended.

 

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

Ralph Kirkpatrick: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 from Kirkpatrick | Ralph’s Kirkpatrick’s Well Temepered Clavier Book II

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Last update: ýOctober 7, 2006 ý23:30:15