Notes and Editorial Reviews
Prize-winning Bach specialist John Butt performs J.S. Bach's famous Das wohltemperierte Klavier for his debut solo recording on Linn. Perhaps best known as director of Dunedin Consort, John Butt has won two Gramophone Awards: the 2007 Baroque Vocal Award for Handel: Messiah and the 2014 ‘Choral' Award for Mozart: Requiem. Dunedin's first instrumental release, Six Brandenburg Concertos, saw John Butt's harpsichord solos singled out for their virtuosity and technical skill. His performance of Das wohltemperierte Klavier benefits from the highly insightful historical knowledge that has shaped his hugely successful work with Dunedin Consort.
The majority of modern recordings of J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered
Clavier are of piano performances, and the few harpsichord versions that come along often attract notice because of their relative scarcity. John Butt's set on Linn warrants attention, not only for being a rarity, but more importantly for the extraordinary quality of his interpretations. An authority on Bach, Butt has written several books on the composer and distinguished himself as an expert on German Baroque music, both as a harpsichordist and conductor. Yet for all of his credentials, his playing of the WTC is far from pedantic or dry. His clear counterpoint, flexible rhythms, brisk tempos, lively ornamentation, and fluid phrasing make the 48 preludes and fugues fully musical and expressive, and at no point does the performance become dry or mechanical. Essential to this set's success is the distinctive character of each piece, which keeps the listener alert to the variety of styles and expressions possible in this compendium of the keyboard art. Butt plays a modern copy of a German harpsichord, and the sound is full and vibrant in the stereo recording, made at St. Martin's, East Woodhay, Hampshire, UK in 2013. Highly recommended.
– All Music Guide (Blair Sanderson) Read less
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title