Let’s begin with the harpsichord. As for his  Goldberg Variations  recording (2010), Andreas Staier here plays a 2004 copy of a 1734 two-manual instrument made by Hieronymus Albrecht Hass. On this aural evidence, it’s a wonderfully versatile Rolls Royce of a harpsichord, offering a kaleidoscope of colours, stops and registers that the German pianist and harpsichordist exploits to great effect. Take the opening Prelude in C major, for instance, all deep bass and rich middle, evoking an organ in its majestic splendour. Contrast this with the wonderful intimacy of the Prelude in C sharp minor, lute-like in its sound. Pianists are often urged to mimic the orchestra, but this harpsichord is more than up to the chameleon challenge.

Bach

Staier is no stranger to bringing fresh colours to old masterpieces. His Beethoven’s  Diabelli Variations  were packed with ear-opening surprises, his Bach Harpsichord Concertos had an irresistible zeal. And his  Well-Tempered Clavier , Book II doesn’t disappoint. This is a wonderful recording, packed with contrapuntal joy, demonstrating both a composer and...