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J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II
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  • J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
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  • J.S. Bach: French Suites
Total price: £56.22
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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (9 Jan. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Delphian Records
  • ASIN: B006LYJE2E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,176 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Prelude & Fugue No. 1 in C Major, BWV870
  2. Prelude & Fugue No. 2 in C Minor, BWV871
  3. Prelude & Fugue No. 3 in C Sharp Major, BWV872
  4. Prelude & Fugue No. 4 in C Sharp Minor, BWV873
  5. Prelude & Fugue No. 5 in D Major, BWV874
  6. Prelude & Fugue No. 6 in D Minor, BWV875
  7. Prelude & Fugue No. 7 in E Flat Major, BWV876
  8. Prelude & Fugue No. 8 in E Flat Minor, BWV877
  9. Prelude & Fugue No. 9 in E Major, BWV878
  10. Prelude & Fugue No. 10 in E Minor, BWV879
  11. Prelude & Fugue No. 11 in F Major, BWV880
  12. Prelude & Fugue No. 12 in F Minor, BWV881
  13. Prelude & Fugue No. 13 in F Sharp Major, BWV882
  14. Prelude & Fugue No. 14 in F Sharp Minor, BWV883
  15. Prelude & Fugue No. 15 in G Major, BWV884
  16. Prelude & Fugue No. 16 in G Minor, BWV885
  17. Prelude & Fugue No. 17 in a Flat Major, BWV886
  18. Prelude & Fugue No. 18 in G Sharp Minor, BWV887
  19. Prelude & Fugue No. 19 in a Major, BWV888
  20. Prelude & Fugue No. 20 in a Minor, BWV889
  21. Prelude & Fugue No. 21 in B Flat Major, BWV890
  22. Prelude & Fugue No. 22 in B Flat Minor, BWV891
  23. Prelude & Fugue No. 23 in B Major, BWV892
  24. Prelude & Fugue No. 24 in B Minor, BWV893

Product description

Product Description

A recognised authority in twentieth-century and contemporary music, Peter Hill turns for the first time on disc to another of his lifelong preoccupations: the music of J.S. Bach. On this new recording, Hill brings his customary scholarly acumen and crystalline musical intelligence to bear on Book Two of the 48 music of unsurpassed inventiveness.


Mentioning all the high spots would require too many words. Hill s lyrical way with the preludes is a consistent joy, and the gentle, unobtrusive control of tempo makes some of them sound like baroque improvisations. He can play with delicacy and humility. Each fugue is so carefully voiced, each entry so perfectly weighted. It s easy to feel slightly oppressed and overwhelmed by this magisterial work; Hill makes it approachable without underplaying the compositional mastery...this is essential listening. --TheArtsDesk.com

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have become accustomed to so much anonymous pianism these days when superb technique is taken for granted but the players' relationship to the music is opaque at best and here we have pianism of such striking individuality, personality and lack of showiness that my faith in contemporary pianism is all but restored. Indeed Peter Hill's reputation is significantly as a magisterial performer of contemporary music so it comes as a bit of a surprise to find him devoting his virtuoso technique and fertile mind to Bach's '48'. Well, no contradictions here for this Bach is limpid and virile by turn, the resources of the piano (pedal, dynamics, etc) used throughout with exemplary taste and refinement. The part playing is a model of clarity, the fugues imbued with a wonderful musicality and mercifully without archaic notions of the subjects constantly having to draw attention to themselves. It is the 'rightness' of it all which makes the strongest impression. Superb recording (from Cardiff University) - a testament to the skills of the producer/engineer, Paul Baxter. This to my mind is destined to become one of the great Bach recordings of all time to rank alongside Fischer, Tureck and Gould.
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Format: Audio CD
The Scotsman
Kenneth Walton
Rating: *****
BRITISH pianist Peter Hill is better-known for his championship of contemporary music, but as this delightful presentation of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II reveals, he has an equal penchant for earlier styles. Hill's approach is to capture the engaging balance between the crisp clarity of the music and its innate lyrical soul. He makes no apologies for the expressive potential of the piano, but simply uses that to harness the universality of the music, from its pre-echoes of early classicism to sparks of undeniable romantic mood-painting. Never once, though, does it sell out Bach's stylistic integrity.

The Guardian
Andrew Clements
Rating: ****
Peter Hill's eminence as a Messiaen scholar and as an outstanding interpreter of his piano music has tended to overshadow his qualities as a pianist in a much wider range of repertoire. But JS Bach is also a special interest of Hill's, and this account of the less often performed half of the 48 Preludes and Fugues underlines what a fine and typically unflashy pianist he is. Every performance here is quite audibly the product of careful consideration; every musical decision, whether over tempi, phrasing, or dynamics, seems utterly logical. Yet there's nothing didactic about the results, just a wonderfully natural unfolding of these pieces, in which Hill is never ashamed to make full use of the tonal resources of the modern piano. The crystalline quality of his quiet playing is a regular pleasure. With luck this is the first in a series of Bach recordings from Hill, and let's hope Book I of the 48 follows soon.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great performance. Nothing fancy 13 July 2014
By William Sonstrom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great performance. Nothing fancy, not trying to make any points, just really good solid Bach. Moderate tempi, nice touch, slightly detached, but not too much. Expressive, but in subtle way. Very enjoyable listening. Also great tool for students of the WTC, like I am.

PS - I own Gould, Hewitt, Barenboim, Schiff, Jarrett, Richter, and Tureck recording of the WTC. Plus a few more. All have high and low points. Overall, Hill is one of the best. I also have Book I by him - equally good.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING -- A REFERENCE RECORDING 20 Oct. 2012
By Nikos A. Salingaros - Published on Amazon.com
Simply the best recording of WTC-II since Roger Woodward's. Interpretatively as well as sonically, it really surpasses our old favorite classics (by great-name pianists both living and dead). As with Woodward's, it has excellent sound though with distinct aural perspective, a very different interpretation, equally penetrating intellectually, and altogether thoroughly enjoyable. Hill's experience with Messiaen has evidently helped him to plumb the depths of Bach.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the land of the blind 24 Nov. 2015
By The Truth™ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Almost all pianists approach these works as concert pieces, as part of the tradition that began in Beethoven's time, where the fugue subjects were highlighted for the supposed benefit of the audience. I happen to detest such an approach, and therefore find Peter Hill's take on the Well-Tempered Clavier a breath of fresh air.

His approach to balancing the voices is about something like focus on long lines and shaping the music in expressive ways. It's neither completely homogenous like the harpsichord, nor about highlighting fugue subjects. So we're on the right track here. I like the harpsichord, but a pianist shouldn't compete with the harpsichord in producing contrapuntal clarity, so he is left with expressiveness for the most part.

Sometimes I do wish Peter Hill trusted the polyphony more and highlighted melody less, as in the C major prelude. Sometimes I feel his rubato decreases the power of the music instead of increasing it (C major prelude again). Sometimes I think he is too slow, as in the C sharp minor prelude, sometimes I think he is too fast, as in the F minor fugue. I'm also not always a fan of his articulation. He is no Glenn Gould, thank goodness, but sometimes I wish he didn't sabotage the beauty of a phrase by applying unnecessary staccato, as near the end of the F minor fugue.

Nevertheless, it is of course sophisticated playing, and considering the shortage of this sort of renderings, this recording is truly a must for anyone who is interested in this work being played on the piano.
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