Related Reviews
Classical.net
'Butt's performance is magisterial...'
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International Record Review
IRR Outstanding: ‘John Butt's Olympian traversal is destined to be remembered…as a significant and enduring musical landmark. Be under no illusions – this is a colossal and revelatory feat, and a major addition both to the current Bach discography and to contemporary performance scholarship.’
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Limelight
5 Stars
Editor's Choice: 'The basics of familiar gesture are utterly unexpected but also feel instinctively right.'
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Early Music Review
'The overall effect is exhilarating and Butt's formidable technique means that one is made very aware of the keyboard virtuosity for which Bach was known, just as much as for the compositional complexity of the fugues.'
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MusicWeb International
'I am in awe of Butt's keyboard prowess.'
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All About Jazz
'Butt's playing is reverent, precise and accurate.'
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BBC Music Magazine
4 Stars
'[John Butt's] account of Bach's 48 preludes and fugues is illuminating and thought provoking.'
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Klassiekezaken
'Een heel spannende uitvoering dus, gespeeld op een fraai instrument en ook nog eens schitterend opgenomen.' / 'A very exciting performance therefore, played on a beautiful instrument and another included magnificent.'
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Gramophone
'Butt offers plenty of food for thought, along with his own extensive annotations discussing both the music and issues of performance practice.'
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CD Choice
'John Butt makes the best case for this music on a harpsichord.'
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The Times
4 Stars
'John Butt has the scholarly credentials to rethink how the 48 preludes and fugues should be performed, and the nimble fingers to translate his theories into impeccable clear readings on the harpsichord.'
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Taipei Times
'...supreme incisiveness and clarity...'
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The Herald Scotland
'...there is brawn, wit and chutzpah behind pretty much everything [Butt] does.'
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The Guardian
'assertive and muscular'
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McAlister Matheson Music
'I gained especial pleasure from Book II which came alive under Butt’s fingers, musically varied and not in the least dry or academic. Recommended!'
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The Scotsman
4 Stars
‘Butt’s infectious interpretations are as dazzling as they are intellectually challenging…a box of heavenly delights.’
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John Butt - Bach WTC - AllMusic


30 November 2014
AllMusic
Blair Sanderson
5 Stars

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.


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