Anna Larsen | Beginnings: Bach Well-Tempered Clavier I

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Beginnings: Bach Well-Tempered Clavier I

by Anna Larsen

Anna's delicate hands capture the beauty and sophistication of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier. These pieces are the foundation for Western Music and represent the peak of Baroque multi-voiced music.
Genre: Classical: Bach
Release Date: 

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1. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #1 In C, BWV 846 Anna Milan Larsen
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1:34 album only
2. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #1 In C, BWV 846 Anna Milan Larsen
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1:59 album only
3. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #2 In C Minor, BWV 847 Anna Milan Larsen
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1:34 album only
4. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #2 In C Minor, BWV 847 Anna Milan Larsen
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1:52 album only
5. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #3 In C Sharp, BWV 848 Anna Milan Larsen
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1:22 album only
6. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #3 In C Sharp, BWV 848 Anna Milan Larsen
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2:33 album only
7. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #4 In C Sharp Minor, BWV 849 Anna Milan Larsen
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2:35 album only
8. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #4 In C Sharp Minor, BWV 849 Anna Milan Larsen
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9. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #5 In D, BWV 850 Anna Milan Larsen
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1:21 album only
10. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #5 In D, BWV 850 Anna Milan Larsen
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1:59 album only
11. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #6 In D Minor, BWV 851 Anna Milan Larsen
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12. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #6 In D Minor, BWV 851 Anna Milan Larsen
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2:28 album only
13. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #7 In E Flat, BWV 852 Anna Milan Larsen
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14. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #7 In E Flat, BWV 852 Anna Milan Larsen
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15. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #8 In D Sharp Minor, BWV 853 Anna Milan Larsen
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16. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #8 In D Sharp Minor, BWV 853 Anna Milan Larsen
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17. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #9 In E, BWV 854 Anna Milan Larsen
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18. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #9 In E, BWV 854 Anna Milan Larsen
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19. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #10 In E Minor, BWV 855 Anna Milan Larsen
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20. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #10 In E Minor, BWV 855 Anna Milan Larsen
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21. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #11 In F, BWV 856 Anna Milan Larsen
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22. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #11 In F, BWV 856 Anna Milan Larsen
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23. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #12 In F Minor, BWV 857 Anna Milan Larsen
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1:54 album only
24. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #12 In F Minor, BWV 857 Anna Milan Larsen
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4:50 album only
25. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #13 In F Sharp, BWV 858 Anna Milan Larsen
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26. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #13 In F Sharp, BWV 858 Anna Milan Larsen
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27. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #14 In F Sharp Minor, BWV 859 Anna Milan Larsen
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28. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #14 In F Sharp Minor, BWV 859 Anna Milan Larsen
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29. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #15 In G, BWV 860 Anna Milan Larsen
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30. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #15 In G, BWV 860 Anna Milan Larsen
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31. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #16 In G Minor, BWV 861 Anna Milan Larsen
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32. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #16 In G Minor, BWV 861 Anna Milan Larsen
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33. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #17 In A Flat, BWV 862 Anna Milan Larsen
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34. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #17 In A Flat, BWV 862 Anna Milan Larsen
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35. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #18 in G Sharp Minor, BWV 863 Anna Milan Larsen
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36. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #18 in G Sharp Minor, BWV 863 Anna Milan Larsen
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37. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #19 In A, BWV 864 Anna Milan Larsen
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38. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #19 In A, BWV 864 Anna Milan Larsen
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39. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #20 In A Minor, BWV 865 Anna Milan Larsen
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40. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #20 In A Minor, BWV 865 Anna Milan Larsen
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41. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #21 In B Flat, BWV 866 Anna Milan Larsen
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42. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #21 In B Flat, BWV 866 Anna Milan Larsen
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43. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #22 In B Flat Minor, BWV 867 Anna Milan Larsen
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44. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #22 In B Flat Minor, BWV 867 Anna Milan Larsen
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45. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #23 In B, BWV 868 Anna Milan Larsen
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46. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #23 In B, BWV 868 Anna Milan Larsen
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47. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Prelude #24 In B minor, BWV 869 Anna Milan Larsen
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48. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Fugue #24 In B Minor, BWV 869 Anna Milan Larsen
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Anna was born in March of 2000. She started playing piano by ear when she was three and composing when she was five. She began serious study of the Well Tempered Clavier when she was nine and made these recordings when she was ten. The preludes and fugues in the Well Tempered Clavier are among the most precious treasures of the world. Bach wrote that they were for “the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study.” His words have rung through the centuries. All the great composers have thoroughly studied these works. They are the foundation of Western classical music. In these masterpieces, Bach composed a prelude and fugue for each major and minor key completing a set of 24. The prelude is usually in a free form. The fugues are written with anywhere from 2 to 5 voices. In the fugue, a subject, or small theme, is introduced and then varied in contrapuntal style. The fugue also has episodes that provide contrast and connect different sections. The C# minor prelude and fugue is one of Anna's favorites.
Anna began formal lessons at four, first with Fani Liao and then with Sachiko Isihara at the Suzuki School of Newton. When she was eight, she moved to the preparatory school at the New England Conservatory, studying first with Angel Ramon Rivera and now with Professor Hung Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone. In 2008, she received a scholarship from the Lang Lang Foundation. She and her fellow scholars have played exciting collaborative works on the Oprah show, Carnegie Hall in the YouTube symphony orchestra, and Segerstrom Hall in LA. Anna thanks her mentor Lang Lang for all his wonderful support.
Anna has also been recognized in several national competitions for her original compositions. She was born with innate perfect pitch, which is the ability to name any note or any combination of notes. For her, there has always been an unusually strong connection between language arts and music. This musical intuition has allowed her from a very young age to read music and hear it in her head and likewise to hear music in her head and play it on the piano or write it down on paper, the same way we would read and write words, sentences, and ultimately stories. She has studied composition with Alla Cohen at the New England Conservatory since 2008. She recently completed a set of Symphonic Etudes, which she is orchestrating into her first symphony.

Anna hopes to leave behind many original, enduring, and inspiring master compositions for both musicians and non-musicians to enjoy in generations to come. Anna will continue growing as a composer, recording artist, and concert pianist of the Lang Lang foundation. Outside of music, Anna loves swimming, skating, reading, writing and drawing cartoons.


Reviews


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Mark D. LaDue

Remarkable Beginnings
The celebrated pianist Sviatoslav Richter once remarked that it does no harm to listen to Bach from time to time, even if only from a hygienic standpoint. But which sort of Bach performance makes for a healthy listening experience? The dry and academic one that strives to make a Steinway sound like a Ruckers? The romantic or virtuosic ones that can blur the lines and harmonies with excessive speed and use of the pedal? Or perhaps the modern one including a sing-along? Fortunately, these are not the only choices. Anna Larsen's Beginnings offers the listener an interpretation of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier that runs from light and playful to somber and melancholy. Her choice of tempi and articulations as well as her thoughtful use of pedal make Bach a joy to hear. An album like this is surely what Richter had in mind when he spoke.

It's apparent that a great deal of thought and effort went into recording the performances on this album. I found the sonority of the piano used for these recordings to be just perfect for the music of Bach - neither too bright nor too rich, but at the same time neither thin nor harsh. The audio quality of the CDs is simply outstanding with scarcely a hiss or an extraneous noise. The microphones were ideally situated to allow every note to speak and every voice to be heard, a very important consideration when recording the music of Bach. Among Anna Larsen's best performances on these CDs are the C Minor, D Minor, F Minor, and A Minor Preludes and Fugues. The A Minor Fugue is breathtaking, and I consider it to be among the very best performances that I've ever heard. This one track alone is worth the price of the entire CD set.

A couple of years ago our family heard Anna Larsen perform at a piano recital in New York City. Ever since then I've been listening to her perform classical music as well as her own original compositions on her YouTube channel (LarsenPiano). Thus when I saw that she had recorded the first book of Bach's magnum opus, I had to get her CDs as soon as they became available. I'm glad I did because the quality of the CDs and her performances is remarkable. I highly recommend Anna Larsen's Beginnings to everyone who loves the music of Bach and wants to hear a refreshingly beautiful performance of his Well-Tempered Clavier.