Heidrun Holtmann Plays JS Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier

Books I And II On 4 CDs

Courtesy of Musicaphon Records

One of German pianist Heidrun Holtmann‘s first recordings was “The Goldberg Variations” by Johann Sebastian Bach, released on a double LP in 1986. Over 30 years later, she’s returned to those roots with another double recording of iconic music by Bach—the 48 preludes and fugues from the “Well Tempered Clavier,” Books I and II.

In the intervening years, Holtmann’s discography has included everything from Mozart and Beethoven to piano music from Israel. Her return to Bach is welcome.

“The 48” present an enormous undertaking for any pianist—Bach explores the 12 major and 12 minor keys in each of the two books, in a seemingly endless variety of soundscapes.

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Holtmann plays the familiar and well-loved pieces with care, subtle but effective expression, and substantial technique. She provides new musical insight into the pieces, and the comprehensive liner notes that accompany the recording complement that understanding.

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