The subject of keys is an unavoidable one for anyone who concerns himself with Johann Sebastian Bach. It does not matter if most of them are white, as with the modern piano, or black, as with many harpsichords. It makes no difference if they bring a variety of strings to life by means of a complicated hammer mechanism or breathe into hundreds of pipes through kilometre-long tubes. The musical patriarch of Leipzig was a “key man,” regardless of how much he enjoyed playing the viola here and there or singing with his numerous children. He composed for the harpsichord and improvised on the organ; arranged and transcribed, exploiting the possibilities of the instruments of his time to the utmost and … who knows? If he had had a modern concert grand at his disposal – maybe it would have sounded just like this new recording featuring Babette Hierholzer.
The days of ideological trench-warfare between the defenders of historical performance practice and ’traditional’ music-making are fortunately over. Pianist Babette Hierholzer plays a colourful, luminous and swinging Bach – as if the old master had just handed it to her before the ink was dry.
"Her playing has this wonderful crystalline transparency which is hard and feather-light at the same time, revelling in bliss; at the same time, not one note is lacking in interpretative power."
Piano News - April 2007