I have to say that I disagree a little with Charles Rosen (extremely respectfully - I'm definitely an admirer of his playing). It's very interesting to read what he says - I used to play a number of preludes and fugues on the organ when I was much younger, but have actually recently been going back to the WTC to learn some more on the piano; so have been listening a lot again recently.
A few thoughts in relation to what he says:
- yes, Bach of course often dovetails the entrance of a subject with the end of a previous phrase; but I don't think it follows that this is an attempt to 'hide' the subject. Look for example at the language of the countersubjects, which leave lots of space for the subjects (melodically/rhythmically/otherwise) - I take it that Bach of all people could hide a subject much more successfully than claimed, if this is what he's really trying to do. Plus of course I don't think all entrances of the subject are equal; then there are the false entrances of subjects, etc. etc. etc.
- of course pianists have a variety of options open to them which aren't open to harpsichordists (etc.) to voice an entry...and yes Gould (alongside countless others) will often bring out the entrance of a subject; but he chooses his moments. Richter too in his recording. Some he makes very obvious; others less so.
For sure Rosen doesn't mention Gould, and one reason I wouldn't personally link those comments to Gould is that it sells him way short IMHO here, in talking about performances 'in which the theme is consistently emphasized to the detriment of the other voices'. I don't know of many pianists who would argue - whether particular fans of Gould or not - that he emphasises the theme 'to the detriment of the other voices'. I would say that one of the miracles of Gould's playing pianistically speaking, and one which I don't think many detractors of his would deny (though of course there may be many other aspects of his artistry on which they're less than keen), is his ability to articulate and phrase a number of contrapuntal lines simultaneously, i.e. not just the subject (take e.g. the 5 voice B flat minor fugue from book 1; which I would say also gives the lie to any idea that Gould just hammers out all entries of the subject...some he makes very obvious here; others far less so - listen e.g. to the delicacy of the stretto at the end).
Just a few thoughts scribbled in a rush. I love Gould in Bach (the WTC and other stuff which I think feels very different in ways, e.g. the partitas). I also like Charles Rosen! On a slight tangent: I sometimes feel like the 'Ur' Gould is actually possibly the Byrd/Gibbons stuff, even more so than Bach. And just one last thought: I think so much of the magic of Bach is that there are so many ways to play it; and that however personal, idiosyncratic, (in-)authentic or whatever the playing, it still always sounds like Bach...
I've never heard that, and it wouldn't make sense to in most Bach, where individual parts move between the hands. On the one hand, knowing how much he loved the studio as an instrument in itself, I guess it wouldn't be totally surprising if he tried it to see how it sounded; but on the other, I actually think it would - on balance - be harder to do, and to get it sounding musical, than just to play the thing down..!