Available tomorrow, April 10, is British harpsichordist and conductor’s new recording on Deutsche Grammophon, J S BACH The Well-Tempered Clavier I.
Trevor Pinnock is a pioneer of the early music movement. As founder and former leader of The English Concert he enjoys a longstanding relationship with Archiv Produktion and Deutsche Grammophon. Among his celebrated recordings are Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, Handel’s Messiah and Concerti Grossi, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, The Harmonious Blacksmith, Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Partitas.
For this recording, Pinnock performs on a favourite instrument – a copy of a harpsichord by the Franco-German builder Henri Hemsch tuned to the low pitch prevalent in Köthen during Bach’s time there and which, Pinnock says, “has a unique voice which combines a singing quality with enough clarity to allow Bach’s part-writing to shine”.
Throughout his interpretations Pinnock remains true to his core principles: favouring musicality and inspiration above musical orthodoxy. Achieving an exceptional reputation as a conductor, chamber musician and harpsichordist he has received enthusiastic critical acclaim. With his first recording of The Well-Tempered Clavier (Book 1) Pinnock explores the summit of Bach’s intellectual and contrapuntal mastery.
“My journey with the Well-Tempered Clavier has been life-long. I first encountered it at about 12 years old when someone gave me a pink- and gold-bound volume, the old Czerny edition, which we now know to be notoriously unreliable. This gave me hours of discovery.
A few years later, I heard all the preludes and fugues played on the piano on the radio, and I was hooked. In my twenties I myself recorded some preludes and fugues for radio broadcast, and I knew then that one day I would play them all. The mountain seemed insurmountable, however, and Bach a formidable and severe task master – how could I possibly delve into the density of some of those fugues, let alone understand them?”
“So, although I subsequently performed various others of the preludes and fugues, any plan to record all of them was repeatedly postponed by increments of ten years until quite recently, when I decided I could put it off no longer. Now they will be a central part of me for the rest of my life.”