Bach’s monumental collection of Preludes and Fugues in all keys explored new systems of harpsichord tuning which made such an enterprise possible. Described as the pianist’s Old Testament, complemented by the New Testament of Beethoven’s Sonatas, the Preludes and Fugues are heard here played on the harpsichord, the keyboard instrument for which they were most likely written.
"A lot of water has flowed under the authentic bridge since the days of the great Helmut Walcha, who recorded the definitive old-school W- TC for EMI in the early 1960s (inexplicably never transferred to CD). Perhaps it’s a sign of the times but there are currently far more piano recordings available than those that use the instrument which Bach originally intended. For a combination of consummate technique and arresting interpretative focus Bob van Asperen’s late 1980s Virgin recording set the bar at a new high level (561711-2, four discs), although the Canadian Luc Beauséjour is far from overshadowed even in such distinguished company. First and foremost the disruptive rhythmic distortions that some modern players employ in the name of ’interpretation’ are blissfully absent. Another plus point is Beauséjour’s instinct for discovering exactly the right tempo and his restrained use of ornaments. Above all his phrasing is so natural that he convinces you he is gently crescendoing and decrescendoing when clearly this is impossible. It will be fascinating to see how he copes with the more overtly intellectual rigours of Book 2."
"BLESSEDLY STRAIGHTFORWARD: In recent decades, most harpsichord recordings of Bach’s great collection of preludes and fugues have come from players trained in Amsterdam. Those tend to be so filled with rhythmic subtleties, some might say distortions, that the music never builds momentum. In contrast, you can tell as early as the C Minor Prelude that Canadian harpsichordist Luc Beaus‚jour knows how to get the pulse pounding. Thank goodness, this music is fun to listen to again.