John Butt - Bach WTC - The Scotsman

Any new recording of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier - the entire two books of 48 preludes and fugues - would have to have something special to distinguish it from all those that have gone before. John Butt's new solo release on Linn is certainly one that makes you sit up surprised and stimulated. The characterisation he applies to these pieces is mostly revelatory, positively stylish, and only occasionally a little questionable, such as the highly affected rubato of the very first C major prelude. But when it comes to the likes of his bright, fresh perspective on the C sharp minor Prelude and Fugue of Book 1, or the French-like flamboyance of the same key Prelude in Book 2, Butt's infectious interpretations are as dazzling as they are intellectually challenging. He approaches this mammoth, multi-flavoured collection as if it were a box of heavenly delights.

The Scotsman
16 November 2014