Harmonia Early Music

Bach, Robert Hill, and the Lute-Harpsichord

American harpsichordist Robert Hill performs J.S. Bach's music on the gut-strung 'lautenwerck,' or lute-harpsichord.

Lute-Harpsichord

Photo: Couresty of the Keith Hill Workshop

A lute-harpsichord built in 2000 by American instrument maker Keith Hill.

Sonatas for Viola da Gamba

Robert Hill is arguably one of world’s finest harpsichordists and interpreters par excellence of Johann Sebastian Bach’s keyboard works. His recent Ars Musici recording with gambist Ekkehard Weber of Bach’s complete viola da gamba sonatas is simply terrific.

There are many recordings available of the sonatas, but none interpreted on the gut-strung version of the harpsichord known as a lautenwerck, or “lute-harpsichord.” Hill’s performance is dynamic, expressive, and full of wit, while Weber’s is the epitome of beautiful gamba playing.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonata in G-major, BWV 1038, Vivace
Ekkerhard Weber, viola da gamba, and Robert Hill, lautenwerck (lute-harpsichord) — Sonatas for Viola da Gamba, BWV 1027-1029 & 1038 (Ars Musici , 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Works for Lute-Harpsichord

At the time of J.S. Bach’s death, an inventory of his possessions noted that he owned two lute-harpsichords, leading historians to suppose that he must have composed for the instrument. And while no examples from the 18th Century survive, modern harpsichord builders have successfully reconstructed them.

Robert Hill has recorded much of Bach’s harpsichord repertoire for the Haenssler Classic label, which includes an entire CD devoted to music that is thought to have been written specifically for the lute-harpsichord. Hill’s performance is a memorable one filled with many lovely surprises.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in D-major, BWV 908, Fantasia
Robert Hill, lautenwerck (lute-harpsichord) — Works for Lute-Harpsichord (Haenssler CLASSIC , 2000)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Goldberg Variations

Much like the collaboration with gambist Ekkehard Weber, Hill’s live recording of a 1993 performance of the Goldberg Variations is unprecedented. What initially began as an inaugural recital to celebrate his appointment as professor at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg, Germany, ended up one of the most interesting recordings of the variations.

After many years of listening to it, I continue to admire Hill’s powerful interpretation, individual style, and courage for releasing an unedited recording of one of the most challenging Bach compositions.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Aria
Robert Hill, harpsichord — Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Music & Arts , 1993)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonata in G-major, BWV 1038, Vivace
Ekkerhard Weber, viola da gamba, and Robert Hill, lautenwerck (lute-harpsichord) — Sonatas for Viola da Gamba, BWV 1027-1029 & 1038 (Ars Musici , 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonata in G-major, BWV 1027, Allegro
Ekkerhard Weber, viola da gamba, and Robert Hill, lautenwerck (lute-harpsichord) — Sonatas for Viola da Gamba, BWV 1027-1029 & 1038 (Ars Musici , 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Johann Sebastian Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in D-major, BWV 908, Fantasia
Robert Hill, lautenwerck (lute-harpsichord) — Works for Lute-Harpsichord (Haenssler CLASSIC , 2000)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Johann Sebastian Bach: Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro in E-flat major, BWV 998, Allegro
Robert Hill, lautenwerck (lute-harpsichord) — Works for Lute-Harpsichord (Haenssler CLASSIC , 2000)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Johann Sebastian Bach: Aria
Robert Hill, harpsichord — Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Music & Arts , 1993)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Johann Sebastian Bach: Ouverture
Robert Hill, harpsichord — Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Music & Arts , 1993)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

View all posts by this author »

  • Camilo

    Whats the name of the intro song??????

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Harmonia Early Music:

More Subscription Options

Follow Us

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Harmonia Early Music

About The Hosts

Search Harmonia Early Music

where to hear harmonia