Review: After Bach

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Friday May 18, 2018

From Stereophile Magazine

Recording of June 2018: After Bach
By: Robert Baird

In terms of spirituality, as well as the skill and savvy of his playing, Mehldau clearly understands what makes Bach’s music tick. The pianist’s exacting contrapuntal technique, harmonic density, and often muted but still potent emotionality mirror those of the man he pays tribute to in this recording. The pianist Timo Andres, a Nonesuch label mate, may have summed it up best in his liner note: “There have always been elements of Mehldau’s style that recall Bach, especially his densely woven voicing’“but he’s not striving to imitate or play dress-up. Rather, After Bach surveys their shared ground as keyboardists, improvisers and composers, making implicit parallels explicit.”

[…] It’s always surprising how few engineers know how to properly place microphones around and inside an acoustic piano. Here it’s been done with expert grace and a clear sense of function. The resonances of the instrument are captured in glorious natural detail, as a modern master of the keyboard reproduces the original music and creates his own interpretations, in the process fashioning an album that exposes fascinating new musical angles on Bach’s towering legacy.

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