While I value historically informed performance practices, I also love
hearing more idiosyncratic practices. On The WTC, my favorite is still
Schiff, but I also love Hewitt, Gould and Richter. I look forward to
hearing many more (and have a secret dream to play them myself someday...)
When I first heard Barenboim's Book I I heard the pieces in ways I never
had before, and truly enjoyed them. He brings out emphases and intertwining
that others don't. Yes, there are times when I almost think I'm hearing
Chopin -- but what's so bad about that? Chopin himself loved Bach and
the connection is not such a stretch. I think Bach's genius is large
enough to supply grist for many mills, even the ones that go against the
grain. It's still Bach, solo Dei gratia!
On a related note, I heard Hewitt's Chopin Nocturnes, and was amused
(and surprised) to hear that she takes more liberty with Chopin than
Barenboim takes with Bach! The very first track is the C sharp minor,
where she adds some arpeggios that I, for one, have never heard before.
Mind you, it all sounds very elegant and good... But still...
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