Recordings
J. S. Bach The Well-Tempered Clavier Book One for String Quartet (arr. Kitchen)
Label: Living Archive
Released: May 30, 2017

The renowned Borromeo String Quartet continues its penchant for reinvention in this premiere recording of Bach’s complete Well-Tempered Clavier, Book One arranged for string quartet (by the Borromeo’s own first violinist Nicholas Kitchen). The Well-Tempered Clavier has been an inspiration for every great composer since Bach wrote it nearly 300 years ago, and bringing the complex counterpoint to life in String Quartet form has fascinated composers since Mozart's time. In 2015, Kitchen decided to build on this tradition and pay homage to these great works by transcribing the entire Book One for string quartet for the Borromeo to perform and record. The counterpoint of this great music now comes alive in a new form at the hands of four masterful collaborating musicians.

With the highly-anticipated New York premiere of this set for its Carnegie Hall performance on October 20, 2017, the project dates back to January 2015, when the BSQ was performing in Beijing. The trip was very fulfilling, but while travelling across the city for rehearsals and performances, the group spent much time stuck in traffic. Without the responsibility of driving, first violinist Nicholas Kitchen decided to dive into a project he wanted to pursue for a very long time – arranging the Well-Tempered Clavier Book One for string quartet. These traffic jams, normally a nuisance, instead provided Kitchen with the perfect opportunity to begin creating these transcriptions.

Upon returning from China, the project was temporarily put on hold, not resuming until the BSQ’s annual residency at the Taos School of Music in New Mexico. Determined to complete the transcriptions that summer, Kitchen finished up the last fugue as the Borromeo’s return flight touched down in Boston. Fast forward several months and the Borromeo Quartet is proud to release Book One of the Well-Tempered Clavier, marking the conclusion of a journey of both discovery and rediscovery guided by the timelessly astonishing spirit of J.S. Bach.

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Updated: Nov-16-2017
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