I think the comparisons between pedalling and church acoustics are not apt. For one thing, the church acoustics are a fixed element of the sound and not one that changes from note to note. And more importantly there's a big difference between the sound of the sustaining of a note and of the reverb of a note in a room.
Barring the muddiest of acoustic settings, the reverb will not interfere much with the clarity of counterpoint — you can hear when a note stops, even if there's an ethereal lingering of it in the air afterwards. But if you press the pedal, there is no chance for counterpoint to be made clear until you lift the pedal. If Bach wants a note to end after a beat and a half, and you hold the pedal down for two beats, you have lost that relationship, and notes of the same voice will overlap in exactly the same way as notes of different voices overlap.
For Bach music that his very counterpoint-focused — fugues and inventions, etc., you really cannot use pedal for anything more than light "glue" — very brief pedalling, and if that really starts to become audible, it (in my experience) always sounds terrible. The Dinnerstein video above may be rather legato (too much for my tastes, but it works), but that's all in the fingers, I don't really detect any pedalling, so if it's there it's very subtle.
For the less contrapuntal music, the pedalling can have some very interesting effects. I prefer the first prelude without pedal, but it still sounds nice with pedal. The Gould example above creates some wonderful effects with the pedal and has convinced me to experiment a bit more with pedal in the suites and toccatas.
Last edited by Jun-Dai; 10/16/21 04:47 PM.