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German-born Japanese pianist Kimiko Ishizaka has already recorded a well- received Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1. Here, she offers the sophisticated Art of Fugue in an interpretation of high intellect and clear resonance with Bach’s intricacies as well as architecture. This is concentrated, reverent playing, and Ishizaka obviously sees the big picture; the earlier half of the piece is notably severe. Yet there is a vital spark present throughout.

Although on modern piano, Ishizaka appears to use no pedal. She offers her own completion of the final piece. While performances usually stop at the very moment Bach did (a highly poignant gesture), Ishizaka’s completion is masterly and intelligent, sculpting the piece to a robust climax. Fascinating.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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