Robert Hugill and Frances Wilson attended Kimiko Ishizaka's performance of the entire Well-Tempered Clavier, Book One, at the 1901 Arts Club in London.
Ishizaka seems to have a very firm touch with great strength, she did not shy away from volume when it was called for. But she also had a very poetic touch, and seemed to have a wide variety of colours at her finger tips. She combined this with a wonderful feeling for the structure of Bach's pieces, bringing enormous clarity to the fugues and bringing out the architectonic feeling of them.
This was an evening of contrasts, because innately Ishizaka seems a very intense, poetic player and her rendering of some of the preludes was intensely moving and not a little romantic. But her command of structure in the fugues went beyond impressive, she was able to bring poetry to the fugues without blurring their structure. Some of the minor key fugues in particular were most glorious in their intensity. She was also open to the other-worldly and mysterious aspects of Bach's art, bringing out the strange intense worlds which some of the fugues go into.
Ms Ishizaka eschewed the pedal throughout, though not through any wish to present a historically authentic performance. Rather, she did not need it: her superior legato technique created some exquisite cantabile playing, especially in the slow movements, while sprightly passagework and lively tempi gave the suggestion of the harpsichord in the rapid movements. Her sense of counterpoint was well-defined in the Fugues, with clear lines and distinct voices.