Augustness, Austerity, Pain and Suffering: 4 Piano Pieces to Die For

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Augustness, Austerity, the Pain, the Suffering.

Bach, Fugue 4, WTC 1

Bach, Prelude & Fugue № 4, WTC 1. Played by Tatiana Nikolaeva. Fugue starts at 2:50.

Supreme purity. Austere perfection. Flows with a deterministic & unstoppable force. With precision, it slowly drives your brain on a unerring path towards singularity.

Bach, Prelude & Fugue № 4, WTC 1. Played by Kenneth Gilbert. The fugue starts at 2:25.

The one above lacks dynamics in the fugue, partly due to the instrument the harpsichord. But the prelude part is good.

midi file Bach. WTC, Book 1, Fugue 4

Bach, Fugue 8, WTC 1

Bach, Prelude & Fugue № 8, WTC 1. Played by Friedrich Gulda. The fugue starts at 4:34.

midi file Bach. WTC, Book 1, Fugue 8

Best interpreter of Bach's WTC is Wanda Landowska. Best instrument of WTC is Wanda's special Pleyel harpsichord. Also good is Friedrich Gulda in the video above.

Liszt, Transcendental Etude, № 12

Liszt Transcendental Etude № 12

Liszt, Transcendental Etude, № 6

Liszt Transcendental Etude № 6. Played by Claudio Arrau.

Claudio Arrau is also good.

About Bach & Liszt

I've known Bach's WTC since around 1991, and have been listening to his WTC almost every day for many hours for the first few years. Am mostly interested in his fugue works. Through out the past 20 years, i still listen to them, perhaps every month.

I've known Liszt's transcendental etudes also in the early 1990s. Franz Liszt is a fascinating character. My hero of sorts. The type of guy i admire. (for context, i don't care about Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, et al.) I've read increasingly more about Liszt, and discovered he has massive number of piano work. About in 2006, i discovered that a pianist Leslie Howard has recorded the entire Liszt's solo piano works as they exist. 99 CDs so far. Record label is Hyperion. (i bought tens of CDs on of Bach & Liszt in 1990s, but am sorry to say, i downloaded the Leslie Howard's liszt work.) Since i listened to all Liszt's works, they are just incredible. Now, 3656 songs in my lib. 1.7k are Liszt. 354 are Bach.

(I can't find the boxed set of Leslie Howard's complete Liszt work. Please let me know if you do find it.) Here's a list of the titles: Leslie Howard Complete Liszt Titles.