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Thread: Well-Tempered Clavier

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    Default Well-Tempered Clavier

    How do you compare the 2 books of the Well-Tempered Clavier? The music in B2 is more complex, which is understandable coming 22 years after the first, but I think B1 is more accessible and is a better introduction to his solo keyboard music.

    Any other thoughts?

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    I have always considered Book 2 to be more accessible. Some of that may be because the pieces are contemporaneous, so when I get the hang of one I have a pathway into the rest. I have suspected though, that Book 1 is particularly the victim of performance by people who think they have access to Bach's innermost thoughts about how the music should be played. And that he was a fuddy-duddy.

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    Although Bk. 2 has the more complex music, I've always considered both books equally accessible and enjoyable. It's a great day when I have the time to listen to both books in one sitting. That still leaves the issue of which performer to listen to, but that's a very pleasant decision to make.

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    Good timing for this thread! I just bought Richter's WTC set yesterday, and I'm now listening.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonata View Post
    Good timing for this thread! I just bought Richter's WTC set yesterday, and I'm now listening.
    Excellent rep as a Russianized WTC. If you also listen to Yudina's, you may be able to isolate the Russian School influence from the individual persona influence. It will be whatever is in common interpretively between them.
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    Although Bk. 2 has the more complex music, I've always considered both books equally accessible and enjoyable. It's a great day when I have the time to listen to both books in one sitting. That still leaves the issue of which performer to listen to, but that's a very pleasant decision to make.
    I couldn't agree more.

    Book 1 can be very complex sometimes. BWV 869 is probably the best exemple of a complex fugue :



    However, Book 2 can sometimes be very accessible :


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    Member Jonathan Wrachford's Avatar
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    I don't want to disappoint you, but I really don't have a preference! I love both, but there are pieces in both books that make me wish I could play them.

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