WORKS: English Suite No. 6 in D minor, BWV 811
PERFORMER: Piotr Anderszewski (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: ACD 025a (distr. Discovery)
In the final recital stage of the Leeds Piano Competition in 1990, Piotr Anderszewski walked out after playing the first two movements of Webern’s Variations. His performance of the complete three movements here has an intensity and a sense of shape I have never heard equalled. He plays the outer movements, especially, as if they really mean something. The music speaks.
Nor is Anderszewski inhibited by academic priggishness surrounding JS Bach, whose music he treats as a living thing. He sometimes connects cadences with repeated sections by means of discreet flourishes, and in the second Gavotte, he puts the right hand up one octave for variety. Above all, he clearly enjoys himself, bringing tremendous momentum to the Prelude, subtle inflections to the Allemande, opening up his tone excitingly in the repeat of the Sarabande, and delivering the Gigue with a sweeping sense of line.
Even more impressive, if it’s possible, is his imaginative vision in Beethoven’s penultimate sonata. In the Adagio he commands a luminous resonance, almost dissolving attacks, while he brings electrifying dynamic contrasts and perfect rhythmic control to the second movement. The opening movement is rapt and gently radiant and, in the last, Anderszewski achieves an ineffable sense of growth and fruition.
The disc has waited two years to find a British distributor. Buy it (at mid-price) while you can.