Sunday, 17 September 2017

Bach - Keyboard Concertos Nos 1,2 & 4 - Perahia/ASMF

Rating: 4/5

Very good piano interpretations

I should say at the outset that the only reason this is not a five-star disc for me is personal taste: although I love to hear Bach's solo works well played on a piano (including Murray Perahia's fabulous recordings) I can't really get on with the concertos on the piano.  I don't know why, there's no real sense in it, but they just don't sound right to me unless they're on a harpsichord.

That said, these recordings are the best I've heard on the piano.  There is a lovely fluency and depth here which even the great Angela Hewitt doesn't match for me – and that's really saying something.  Perahia's magnificent touch and apparently instinctive understanding of Bach shine through and his direction brings similar sensibility from the always excellent Academy of Saint-Martin-In-The Fields.  There's a delightful dancing feel to the outer movements (as there should be) and the slow movements are very beautiful – the Larghetto from the A major Concerto, especially.

So, if you're looking for a piano interpretation of Bach's keyboard concertos, I don't think you can do better than this.  If this is your thing, then ignore my slight, very personal caveats and snap this up.  Even if you're not keen on Bach on the piano, this may well be worth investigating; it's the closest I've come to really enjoying the concertos played on the piano and it may possibly convert me yet.  Recommended.

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