Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to convince me of the greatness of Gould's recording of WTC Book 1.
You see, as a Bach fan, I want a copy of the WTC. Right now in shops locally, I can obtain Gould (Bk. 1), Kirkpatrick (Bk. 1) and Tureck (DG Bk. 1 and 2). I don't want the last two because of the instrument and price, respectively. I know that a lot of people rave about Gould's recording of this work. But a few days ago, I sampled the first prelude - it went 'plop plop plop ploP PLOP Plop plop plop'. A little later I sampled Schiff and I could easily hear the lovely 'Ave Maria' tune. I have also listened to harpsichord and clavichord...no "plopping" there. Is this why many people complain Gould of being "mechanical" and "cold"?
I wouldn't want to try to convince anyone that my opinion of Gould's WTC is the one that others should hold or adopt, particularly for a body of music that is compelling in so many different types of interpretation. There are folks who find Gould not very musical, but I'm not one of them. If you don't like how Gould plays the Prelude in C major, perhaps you won't care much for his other performances of the set.
I gather you're not a fan of the fortepiano; that's fine. As for Tureck's DG complete set, yes the price is quite high, but this set is probably the most compelling classical music performance I have ever heard. So as far as I'm concerned, the cost means nothing. And don't forget her other sets on BBC Legends. Of course, if you don't take well to Tureck (and plenty don't), you'll feel like a big-time loser.
These are hard times, and WTC acquisition decisions are difficult. If you offer up some of your basic musical preferences, I could possibly provide you with decent insights. Some potential considerations:
1. Any problem with historical recordings with sub-par sound; that's Tureck's DG situation.
2. In the sound spectrum from very dry to wet, what's your preference?
3. Prefer rounded or sharp contours.
4. Prefer exuberant or reflective interpreations.
5. Do you want Bach's dark side prominently displayed?
6. How about Bach heard as "Papa Bach"?
7. Is detail important to you or are you more concerned with musical sweep?
8. Harpsichord okay?
9. Lean or full textures.
I own many dozens of WTC sets, and it's clear to me that no one artist can give you everything that's great about Bach's music.