N E W R E L E A S E
Nimbus Records Ltd
THE WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER
BOOKS I & II
The genesis of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier was in a set of eleven preludes he wrote for the Clavierbuechlein he assembled for the education of his son Wilhelm Friedmann. He added fugues to the preludes, wrote new pieces, and in 1722 presented a set of 'preludes and fugues in all the tones and semi-tones...for the use of and profit of young musicians who are anxious to learn, as well as for the amusement of those who are already proficient in the art.' These 24 preludes and fugues were much admired and widely used, so Bach was encouraged to compile a second set of '24 new Preludes and Fugues', published in 1742. Both sets were simultaneously abstract music and pedagogical texts.
Bernard Roberts comments: "I am thrilled to have been able to record the Bach 48 Preludes and Fugue: to complement the 32 Beethoven Sonatas that I recorded for Nimbus some years ago. The well-known description of the '48' as the Old Testament and the Beethoven '32' as the New is still apt today, and I enjoy playing them on the piano. Many of the '48' were conceived for the harpsichord, but the clavichord, the organ, a consort of viols, a brass quartet and a choir of heavenly voices would also be just as fitting. So why not play them on the piano?"
In his accompanying note to this new recording Wilfrid Mellers writes: "Today, a few pianists of exceptional intelligence and imagination - among whom I'd place Bernard Roberts - don't need to be maverick geniuses in order to apply to the playing of Bach the historical insights 'modern scholarship' has brought to the music..."
Bernard Roberts is a particularly profound interpreter of both Bach and Beethoven. His recording of the Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas for Nimbus has been given the highest praise throughout the world for its sincere approach and the brilliance of the playing.
"..by the end of each sonata,' wrote Brian Hunt of the Beethoven Sonatas, for the Daily Telegraph, 'one feels one has been given the truth. How rare, for example, to hear a pianist who lets you know exactly where you are in the bar throughout the 'Waldstein's' slow movement. Roberts has a complete grasp of structure and one never feels he is thinking movement by movement."
Recorded at Nimbus' studios in Monmouth over three sessions, spanning the months of July, August and September of 1998, this new Bach set is truly inspirational.
Available now from all good record shops Nimbus 4-CD set (RRP £19.99)