J.S. Bach: Solo Piano Music
Today, there is no doubt that Johann Sebastian Bach took Baroque music to its sublime zenith. That was not always clear to his contemporaries. They regarded Bach’s demanding fugues as approaching theoretical music: highly elaborate, but on the border of unplayability. Just how much Bach was ahead of his time can be gauged by the fact his ‘piano’ music (in the Baroque period, all keyboard instruments were termed ‘clavier’) engaged the greatest among his successors: Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Debussy and Shostakovich. All of them (and many others) dealt with Bach’s music in some of their most significant compositions, the preludes and fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier here forming the pivotal point. Up to today, Bach’s music for keyboard instruments has proven to be an inexhaustible source of musical abundance, but it is still open to the most differing interpretational approaches.
Four pianists perform Bach on this album. They stand for different periods in interpretational history, beginning with the ‘New Objectivity’ of Carl Seeman, born in 1910, up to the highly virtuoso art of Konstantin Lifschitz, born in 1976 and also taught by Alfred Brendel. The four personalities of the pianists on this album merge with Bach’s music, giving a notion of why it is accorded universal magnitude.