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Heidrun Holtmann brings great pianistic intelligence to Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier / Planet Hugill

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That much Bach's instrumental music lay ignored and had to be re-discovered means that performing traditions have been re-forming round it, giving performers a wide range of options. This quick survey of some recent Bach discs gives a flavour of the possibilities with Bach on the harpsichord, the piano and the grand organ of Notre Dame, as well as the violin. 

Bach's complete preludes and fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier have been recorded on the Musicaphon label by the German pianist Heidrun Holtmann whose discography ranges from Mozart and Beethoven, through Schumann and Chopin to contemporary music. She brings great pianistic intelligence to the pieces, playing with clarity and affection. Her tempos are generally lively and fluent, with a nice dexterity in the fingerwork which brings out the individuality of the notes without quite veering towards the stylised effect that some pianists go for. The faster movements have a nice crisp separation of the notes. The slower ones show an intelligent use of pianistic legato, and some of the darker keys bring out a nice intensity in her playing. Similarly, the pedal is used discreetly. What I very much liked was the sense of very different character that she finds in each piece, rather than being dogmatic she uses an array of different pianistic techniques depending on context.

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