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Bach: Ouvres Pour Clavier (Keyboard Works)

Bach / Knox,Hank
Release Date: 08/27/2013 
Label:  Early-music.com   Catalog #: 7775   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hank Knox
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BACH Toccata in e, BWV 914. Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in d, BWV 903 . Fantasy in d, BWV 906. The Musical Offering: Ricercar a 3. Overture in the French Style, BWV 831 Hank Knox (hpd) EARLY-MUSIC.COM (57:03)

Read more /> The keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach are surely some of the most recorded in history, so when one receives a disc accompanied by a sheet of PR, the immediate response is to see how this may differ from the veritable forest of recordings out there. This is especially the case with a new release of an artist, in this case harpsichordist Hank Knox, whose work is expected to correspond to a road tour along with the disc. Knox is no stranger to the field, having collaborated with some of the main figures of the early music repertory, such as Max von Egmont, Roger Norrington, Trevor Pinnock, and Andrew Parrott. Moreover, he has also participated in numerous other recordings on some impressive labels, so it is somewhat of a surprise when a home-grown, apparently Internet-generated label is used. I confess never to have heard of Early-Music.com, though the context is a recital (in advance of the tour) at Montréal University, where Knox teaches.

All hyperbole generated by the publicist aside, the disc contains pieces that display some of Bach’s most inventive counterpoint. Many works are from the 1735 Clavierübungen , a collection that has become a staple of keyboardists everywhere. I counted about 70 discs, ranging from Glenn Gould (it seems that this collection was one of his favorites) to Helga Sommer on EMG Classics from this year, so there is no shortage of interpretations. Add another 50 or so for the Toccata and well over 100 for the Chromatic Fantasy , and one has a cornucopia of versions from which to choose, most of which are perfectly acceptable. This disc simply adds to the abundance, and one finds it a bit difficult to find unique exceptional qualities or nuances that would set it apart.

Knox’s playing is certainly quite good, though he could have taken more advantage of changes in the registration of the instrument (that is, using more stops), and sometimes the sound is too reverberant, but the performances are certainly robust. The tempos are all quite deliberate, which makes the music speak, perhaps a bit cautiously but adroitly. While if one needs another copy of any of the works, this will suit admirably, but it will be one of a choice of many competitors of equal excellence. The choice therefore will be mainly an individual one.

FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

Toccata in E minor, BWV 914 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hank Knox (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Weimar, Germany 
Venue:  Église Saint-Augustin, Saint-Augustin-de 
Length: 7 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hank Knox (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Venue:  Église Saint-Augustin, Saint-Augustin-de 
Length: 10 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 906 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hank Knox (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Église Saint-Augustin, Saint-Augustin-de 
Length: 5 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Musikalisches Opfer, BWV 1079: Ricercar a 3 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hank Knox (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 05/1747-07/1747; Germany 
Venue:  Église Saint-Augustin, Saint-Augustin-de 
Length: 5 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Overture in the French style in B minor, BWV 831 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hank Knox (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Église Saint-Augustin, Saint-Augustin-de 
Length: 18 Minutes 17 Secs. 

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