JS Bach: Partitas Nos 2-4

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WORKS: Partitas Nos 2-4
PERFORMER: Murray Perahia (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 88697282662


Halfway through the last century Dinu Lipatti’s B flat Partita set a dauntingly high bar for all pianists tackling Clavier-Übung Part 1. Among subsequent versions of the complete set, recordings by András Schiff or more recently Angela Hewitt stand out; and now, breaking a three year studio silence, Murray Perahia steps into the fray, his Bach credentials already honed in superlative accounts of the English Suites and Goldbergs. He may have waited the better part of a lifetime to commit himself, but his Partitas radiate a considered maturity as surely as they enjoin boundless insight, playfulness and sovereign judgement. Nothing is overstated, and yet he scarcely sells the music short: one possible exception is the opening bars of the C minor Sinfonia which are a touch penny‑plain (Hewitt is bolder). Perahia’s articulation cuts through the most intricate paragraphs and yet there’s a searching spirituality, too, which counterpoints the Puckish pertinence of his C minor Caprice, the braggadocio of his D major Italian Aria, and the narrative inevitability which invades the sequence starting with the A minor’s Sarabande. Hewitt may be the more stylishly idiomatic by a whisker, but Perahia conveys more substance. Roll on Partitas 1, 5 & 6! Paul Riley