Last Sunday I had one of the great musical afternoons—one of the great afternoons, period—of my life, listening, at Chicago’s Symphony Center (across from the Art Institute), to pianist Andras Schiff play Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, in its entirety (and entirely from memory), a performance that lasted nearly three hours and could’ve kept going, as far as I was concerned, for three days.
Johann Sebastian Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier (1722 [Book I], 1742 [Book II])
Book II, Prelude and Fugue No. 16 in G minor, BMV 885
Sheng Cai (piano), live, Boston, 2010
Books I and II, Sviatoslav Richter (piano), recording, 1970s
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If there is anyone who owes everything to Bach, it is God. Without Bach, God would be a third-rate character.