Bach: Partita No. 1 in B flat, BWV 825; Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827; Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Nonesuch
WORKS: Partita No. 1 in B flat, BWV 825; Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827; Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830
PERFORMER: Richard Goode (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 7559-79698-2
The virtues of Richard Goode’s 1999 release devoted to Bach’s Second, Fourth and Fifth Partitas (reviewed June 1999) similarly manifest themselves in Nos 1, 3 and 6. As with Piotr Anderszewski’s recent traversals of these works for Virgin (reviewed in January), Goode spins out the introspective movements as a sensitive vocalist might shape an aria from one of Bach’s oratorios or Passions, while finding more rhythmic fibre in quicker, more vehement music (the Third Partita’s Scherzo and Gigue exemplify the latter). Goode takes full advantage of the concert grand’s capacity for tonal variety and dynamics without ever exceeding boundaries of style and taste. Note, for instance, how he allows bass notes to resonate unabashedly at the apex of a crescendo (No. 1’s Allemande is a case in point), or how he binds the sections of the Sixth Partita’s Toccata into a fluid, flexible and emotionally fulfilling whole. For musical and technical mastery in harmonious accord, look no further than No. 3’s Sarabande, where Goode clarifies the music’s melodic and accompanimental components in perfect perspective and ravishing hues. He may not match the individuality of András Schiff’s contrapuntal acumen (nor Glenn Gould’s), yet he avoids their quirks. On the whole Goode achieves a happy medium between Anderszewski’s lyrical bent and Angela Hewitt’s dance-oriented vigour. Max Wilcox’s first-rate production values and Michael Steinberg’s excellent notes further support this release’s recommendation. Jed Distler

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