J.S. Bach & beyond – A Well-Tempered Conversation

Telerama – ffff
De Standaard *****
Heute Klassiek Empfehlung 10/10


To mark the 300th anniversary of the publication of Book I of The Well-Tempered Clavier, Julien Libeer had the idea of presenting it in an unusual light: here he initiates a dialogue in which Bach’s major-key prelude-and-fugue pairs ‘converse’ with later pieces (in the corresponding minor keys) by composers who, in their own way, have built upon the advances Johann Sebastian made in his foundational undertaking. Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Ligeti, and Schoenberg are all part of the conversation with the Leipzig Cantor in this intricate play of mirrors…

‘Such a Bach experiment succeeds for two reasons. Firstly, Julien Libeer plays Bach and his posthumous partners with supple articulation and mature pianism. Secondly, many aspects unfold from the historical-aesthetic mixture, illustrating how magnificently the Bach cosmos challenged and inspired the later composers.’

— Süddeutsche Zeitung

‘Le parcours proposé par le jeune Belge – sur le somptueux piano du facteur Chris Maene, son compatriote – est très séduisant. Défendues avec une maîtrise des styles qui court sur trois siècles, les confrontations paraissent toujours pertinentes.’

— Le Monde

‘Downright sensational. Not only does the pianist impress with his extraordinarily fine and highly differentiated dynamic touch. Perfect use of the pedal ensures absolute transparency, especially in the fugues; complex harmonic events remain comprehensible at all times. In terms of expression and tempo, Libeer does justice to the 2½ centuries of piano music in all its diversity. An extraordinarily coherent, intelligent programme.’

— Klassik Heute

‘Libeer ingeniously goes through all keys managing to make unusual combinations. A brilliant piano trajectory.’

— Luister

‘We have here a dazzling and varied recital that leaves nothing to be desired, both technically and interpretatively.’

— Pizzicato