Photo - Frank Horvat
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
My experience with many recordings of the Well-Tempered Clavier has made it possible to experience each book in one sitting, so long as the performances are both sufficiently varied and work as a cohesive whole. And there’s the rub: it’s extraordinarily difficult to fulfill those two conditions on a recording.
But some performers are getting closer to achieving this tremendous feat. Andrei Vieru’s account of the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I is a few preludes and fugues short of miraculous. (...)
I have not heard such an approach to the Well-Tempered Clavier in more than twenty years of listening. Landowska and Martin Galling (both harpsichord performances) come close, but there is something in the Vieru that neither of them has. (...)
I have not heard a Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I quite like this one — it is the most exciting performance I have heard in a long time.
Rob Haskins in Classical Listening (Two Decades of Reviews from the American Record Guide)
Vieru is this music completely. Whatever he does, it works out magnificently. Pick any variation, and the man is living it. His rhythmic pulse and vitality are the best I've heard in any version of the Goldbergs.
The Romanian pianist Andrei Vieru is also a prodigy of French esprit, in whom finesse vies with profundity. His "Éloge de la vanité" provides a dazzling demonstration. (...) "If merit entered into the designs of Providence, then the Lord would not move in mysterious ways", he drolly observes. This conception might lead to a ponderous Jansenism, but it invariably turns to a joyous ferocity, an uninhibited celebration of distributive injustice. No one else still dares insult human misery so wittily, so eruditely, and so subtly.
Marianne (on "The Praise of Vanity")
In his brilliant, impertinent essay, divided into some sixty entries, he has said all that needs to be said about the issue of vanity. Very clearly, after Benjamin Fondane, Gherasim Luca, Eugène Ionesco, Paul Celan, and their like, the Romanians of France still have something to teach us. (...) This is not a book, it is a companion, of the kind we love for their presence, their warmth, their solace. In a word: their temperament.
Le Figaro (on "The Praise of Vanity")
The Joyous Ecclesiastes
What a delight to read a book of such a dazzling intelligence, unfolding in a language with a purity worthy of that of a Cioran! One has to wonder if it is at all possible, perhaps, that the Romanian writers could be our last major prose wordsmiths.