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English Suites 136 Original recording remastered

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Performer: Murray Perahia
  • Composer: Bach Johann Sebastian
  • Audio CD (Feb. 24 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Music Canada
  • ASIN: B0001ENYN0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #51,380 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Prelude
2. Allemande
3. Courante I
4. Courante II Avec Deux Doubles
5. Sarabande
6. Bourree I
7. Bourree II
8. Gigue
9. Prelude
10. Allemande
11. Courante
12. Sarabande
13. Gavotte I
14. Gavotte II (Ou La Musette)
15. Gigue
16. Prelude. Allegro
17. Allemande
18. Courante
19. Sarabande - IVa. Double
20. Gavotte I
See all 26 tracks on this disc

Product Description


Why hasn't Murray Perahia recorded Bach before? The pianist imbues the quicker movements with more excitement and rhythmic drive than Andras Schiff, and greater coloristic and emotional range than Glenn Gould, although Mieczyslaw Horszowski dances more in the third suite. Perahia views the sarabandes from a monumental angle and brings out their harmonic felicities through his masterful weighing of contrapuntal lines and inner dynamics. The superb sound serves both pianist and composer to the fullest. In sum, a wonderful disc that bodes well for future Perahia Bach releases. We hope. --Jed Distler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Perahia has made it his highest mission to play the music of Bach, as it seems. He always keeps returning to the composer, after having flirted with composers from the Romantic era. Yet I don't know if he's entirely right here. I wouldn't deny for a moment that Perahia's Bach shows great understanding of the music as well as a perfectly polished sound. But somehow it appears to me that these qualities are much better suited to the aforementioned Romantic composers. In Schubert, Chopin or Schumann Perahia has few equals. When playing Bach, he's surely excellent, but he enters Glenn Gould's territory here. Who seems, to me, nearly unbeatable. Gould's style and personality were unique, and so are his Bach recordings. Gould can be revolutionary, shocking, intimidating. He can infuriate you with his playing, but even then he grabs your attention. While Perahia is, at least in Bach, rather pleasant and gentleman-like. These may very well be the most profound, fair recordings of the English Suites available, but it's just not the real thing (a.k.a. Gould). If you like your Bach relaxed and melodical, then by all means get this. It won't disappoint for a moment. But it could do so for those seeking adventure and new discoveries. As for myself, I strongly prefer Gould, but it's simply undeniable that Perahia plays this music very well. To return to the main subject of this paragraph, however: there is so much more music that he plays well, without having an unbeatable rival. So he might focus on other terrain a little more.
For what we have here, I have a lot of praise but also some remarks. I mentioned Perahia's extremely polished sound already: his Bach always sounds like a box of delicious chocolates.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a54d948) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a4015c4) out of 5 stars Exquisite Playing Of These Bach Piano Pieces By Noted American Pianist Murray Perahia Aug. 22 2007
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In the liner notes to his 1998 recording of the "Bach English Suites Nos. 1, 3, 6", distinguished American pianist Murray Perahia makes these observations about the complex harmonic structures which are Bach's counterpoint in these piano pieces, "These structures are not merely clever abstractions: Through the frustration or fulfillment of different musical goals, through the deceiving and delaying of musical expectations, an emotional ebb and flow is created that is never satisfied until the piece is finished. The structure guides the emotions, without which there can be no music. Thus the heart and the mind are united. Bach's genius is to evoke timeless and true human emotions, through the purity and spirituality of his writing - which, ultimately, stands apart from any specific instrumental environment." Having said this, Perahia is indeed a superb guide to these scores, since his playing is elegant, refined, and thoughtful, without the added hubris of excessive emotion. Instead, through his own brilliant technique, he subtly emphasizes the complex harmonic progressions inherent in these scores, whether they are, for example, the prelude that begins the English Suite No. 1 in A Major, or a simple folk melody like the Gigue which closes English Suite No. 6 in D Minor. This is indeed, some of the best piano performances of Bach's pieces that I have heard in a recent recording, made at the classic Swiss recital hall at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, which was also the venue of some of the great Beaux Arts Trio and the very last pianist Claudio Arrau recordings made by Philips in the 1980s. While I'm not sure that this is indeed a definitive recording of these pieces, I do think that they are quite exceptional and worthy acquisitions for fans of Perahia's recordings and Bach's solo works for the piano.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99fd7870) out of 5 stars Sparkling and beautiful Feb. 6 2008
By Brian Clever - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For the last twenty years I was a huge fan of Glenn Gould to the point
that I believed that when it came to Bach, Gould's was the only opinion
that mattered. After having recently been shown that this was not
necessarily the case I pursued a few other recordings of the English
Suites, including Perahia's and Hewitt's.

In my humble opinion, this one even surpasses the Gould set. I can't
stand the Hewitt set as it sounds to me like she read most of the parts
in the studio and she noticably gets fatigued in many of the ornamentations.

Perahia gives Bach even more life than I thought possible, sparkling
and beautiful. The modern piano and studio also help to put this
recording over the top for me. If you are still skeptical, download
the Gavotte II from Suite No. 6 or the Courante from Suite No. 3. These
are good examples of how the entire set is played by Perahia.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a2ba234) out of 5 stars Magnificent Bach on a Modern Piano! March 2 2000
By Russel E. Higgins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I would urge any music lover with a perceptive interest in Bach's keyboard music to buy the two CD's of the English Suites by Murray Perahia. It is difficult to conceive how these suites can be played any more beautifully and sensitively. I am one of those who believes that Bach sounds wonderful on a modern piano, and have collected recordings by Gould, Horszowki, Schiff, and Richter. Each of these magnificent pianists bring a special magical quality to the music. Murray Perahia's interpretation of the English Suites, however, is even more magical to me than any others. His tempos and rhythms are perfect for the music. Technically, he is capable of playing the most complex figurations with grace and style. (Listen to his amazing trills which are relaxed and perfectly realized.) Most importantly, his playing contains a profound human quality that transcends all the technical difficulties of the music. Like all great artists, he makes the most difficult figuarations appear to be easy and graceful to play. I urge any lover of Bach music to buy this CD as soon as possible. I am certain you will want to buy the second volume (English Suites #2, #4, and #5), and also his magnificent Handel-Scarlatti album. Then do as I did --- buy Murray Perahia's new "Songs without Words" album and listen to the magic he works with Bach's chorale-preludes, and with Mendelssohn and Schubert, all in magnificent sound from Sony. I'm certain these recordings will brighten up your days!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a4aa6cc) out of 5 stars Expressive purpose Jan. 31 2006
By GLC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Murray Perahia's exploration of the Bach English Suites is fully fleshed out in this sumptuous recording. Perahia displays every facet and nuance of Bach's harmonically rich and melodically joyful Suites on the one instrument which can delve into the profound aural potential of the Baroque master's keyboard compositions: the piano. With ample skill and profoundly beautiful technique, Perahia gives each new idea life and instrumental vivacity. Bass passages spring out with the power of the plucked string of the cello; treble passages entwine themselves with the harmonic urge below; each idea penned by the worthy composer is realised with its own colour and character by Perahia, as though played by an ensemble of skillful musicians. Every vocal line tugs at the spirit, replete with intention. A powerful, subtle and much appreciated recording. Thankyou, J.S. Bach. Thankyou, Murray Perahia.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a4aa510) out of 5 stars very good indeed, but try Ivo Pogorelich's version and you won't regret it Oct. 6 2009
By Walter Prodanov - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
These are immensely satisfying performances and I agree with others who find these more pleasing than Gould's. But I still think the absolute king in this field is Ivo Pogorelich. I believe Ivo recorded only 2nd and 3rd suite. One listen may spoil you forever. Not to detract anything from Perahia's inspired reading; I thoroughly enjoy most of his records and concerts, but since Amazon reviews have one of the purposes to lead you to other revelations, try Ivo's renditions. It may haunt you forever.