J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings


Main Performer
or Conductor:
Joanna MacGregor
Soloists:Joanna MacGregor
Individual Works:J S Bach - Art of Fugue, Conlon Nancarrow - Three Canons for Ursula, Studies for Player piano 3c,6,11
BWV 1080
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Collins
Catalog Number:70432
Year Released/Recorded:1996
Comments:Andrew Smith said:

I was amazed to find this performance not listed here already. I have several recordings of the Art of Fugue performed in different ways, but for me this is the most magical. MacGreggor mainly adopts slow tempos and a contemplative style, which comes across extremely well and is highly listenable-to. These are actually quite special discs, and the use of the modern piano needs no apology. Highly recommended.

Corin Stuart said:

I'm afraid I can't agree. Though there is charm in this recording at times the playing is clumsy and coherence is lost. Though a great fan of Joanna MacGregor, I'm afraid these CDs' main attraction is the fame and beauty of the soloist and the inclusion of the Nancarrow canons.

Jan Hanford said:

I find the above comment to be offensive and sexist. To not enjoy a performance is understandable. To disagree with other people's opinion of it is acceptable. But to say that the performer's beauty is one of the only attractions to a recording is simply obnoxious. No one would make that kind of sexist, simple-minded statement about a male musician.

I found the performance of Bach's Art of Fugue anything but clumsy and incoherent. The slow tempos were indeed magical and contemplative which is such a rare quality in piano recordings these days.

However, I did have a problem with the inclusion Nancarrow canons. Truly awful music. Why anyone would include ugly music like that on a cd of Bach is a mystery to me.

So, while I can't recommend the Nancarrow, I do recommend the Bach.

Michael Traylor said:

The Canon all Decima was so achingly beautiful that I had to stop what I was doing to listen. It is hard for me to believe that this is the same music that Glenn Gould recorded. Joanna MacGregor definitely makes this music her own. As for the Nancarrow, I found it to be fascinating. I am trying to find more recordings of his music. If I may be permitted a plug, this disk can be purchased from Miss MacGregor's SoundCircus website. She has other recordings available there as well.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Andrew Smith
  • Corin Stuart
  • Michael Traylor
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:09/06/2004