Creative Stuff

The Well Tempered Clavier vol.I

Bach is, of course, the ideal candidate for inventive recreation, and Andrei Vieru’s set of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier Book One (Alpha/Harmonia Mundi 087, *****) scores pretty high on the novelty front. In terms of style, Vieru can switch mood even during the course of a single piece, as  he does in the final fugue where by gradually pushing the tempo he ferries us from relative darkness to blazing light. An avowed enemy of artists who side 'the archivists of art rather than with side itself', he dares to open his cycle with two performances of the First Prelude. He then goes on to repeat the Eighth Prelude after the Twelfth Fugue, and tail the Nineteenth Fugue with a second performance, as if it where a written repeat. All «second» performances are called «variants», which they are (in the subtlest terms), their principal appeal being that we can virtually hear Vieru’s brain tick in time with music. He certainly makes you think.

The Independent

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