In his very favorable review of the Musical Offering, colleague Dan Davis noted how Savall's unique arrangement of the movements augments the performance's overall impact by forming a structurally sound symmetrical "arch" from beginning to end. Here Savall similarly rethinks the structural possibilities of the work, though his organizational choices function primarily as a means to enrich the impression of the fugues' varied sonorities and contrapuntal textures. Tempos also are generally very reserved, reminiscent of Davis' description of those in the Musical Offering as "startling in their slowness".
This new version by the greatly-gifted young Hungarian pianist Zoltan Kocsis, again vindicates the contention that The Art of Fugue makes its best effect as a keyboard work, even if on a modern piano. For Kocsis Bach's intellectual and technical demands seem to pose no problems: his exposition of the polyphonic conversation, whether, two, three or four participants are involved, is always admirably lucid and enables each voice to have its say. This is no doubt helped by the rather dry quality of the Hungaroton/ Philips recording on LP (the CD is appreciably fuller and brighter), and by Kocsis's very discreet use of the sustaining pedal.
This cd contains a rendition of a live concert given november of last year (2012) to commemorate the 200 year anniversary of the "Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde" in Vienna. Mr. Harnoncourt conducts, according to the textbook and some online research that I did, a massively expanded Concentus Musicus Wien, the Singverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna and soloists Roberta Invernizzi, Werner Gura and Gerald Finley.