Thursday, March 14, 2013

Walter Carlos - Switched on Bach

In 1968 Switched on Bach turned the world of classical music on its ear as Wendy (Then Walter. He would later become Wendy, and one of the more famous transgendered people in the world) Carlos proved beyond any doubt that analog Moog synthesizers are not only capable of performing Bach impeccably, they're the ideal instrument for it.

Before I launch into a full review of this album, I just want to expose the doubt I experienced when deciding whether or not to go with Wendy or Walter for the name of the artist on this album. I finally decided on Walter because that's what the artist was known as when this album was originally pressed. So yeah, no disrespect to Wendy.

Anyway, this album is transformative for a number of reasons. First of all, Walter Carlos actually contacted Robert Moog and asked him to create new subsystems just to give the Moog the ability to perform Bach correctly. Carlos clearly put a lot of work into the voicing of every single piece. The best selections from the album come on the A-side with "Air on a G String" and the two-part inventions. Even so, Carlos is known for his/her masterful interpretation of the Brandenburg Concerti, and the 3rd which closes out this album is no exception. You have to look far and wide to find Bach performed more ably and originally.

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