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Partitas 156

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Performer: Murray Perahia
  • Composer: Bach Johann Sebastian
  • Audio CD (Aug. 31 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Canada
  • ASIN: B002C4G3PI
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #45,400 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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This was a gift that arrived to the recipient in a timely fashion. She loves the recording. The price was very reasonable.
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Great sound, great performance. Got it quick too.
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Si les Suites anglaises furent une demi-réussite (manque de tonus), le Bach de Perahia est toujours au moins respectable. Cette fois, c'est plus que ça. À la fois coloré et juste, personnel et savoureux. On est envoûté du début à la fin.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa6d86c00) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6db8f18) out of 5 stars A very good thing, well worth waiting for! Sept. 1 2009
By Mark H - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Apparently, the old adage about all good things coming to those who wait is absolutely true. Since reading last year that pianist Murray Perahia was including Bach's Partita #1 in B-flat major, BWV825, in his 2008/2009 recital schedule, I knew the long wait for a follow-up to Bach: Partitas Nos. 2-4 would soon be over. And I couldn't be more pleased with the present results. Bach: Partitas No. 1, 5 & 6 is the perfect compliment to Perahia's preceding volume of Bach's partita's for solo keyboard. On the new disc, this wonderful interpreter of JS Bach plays with all the thoughtful grace & elegance we've come to expect in all of his recordings of the great master's music. Perahia is technically precise & artistically insightful. His readings of Partitas Nos. 1, 5 & 6 are at the very top level of his extraordinary musical ability. Perahia is also well served by a recorded sound that is pristine in its clarity, very well balanced & vividly present. The artist could not have hoped for a better success in releasing this exceptional compact disc. Kudos to Murray Perahia for another wonderful Bach cd & here's to hours of listening pleasure for those classical music collectors who add Bach: Partitas No. 1, 5 & 6 to their audio library!
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6dbbedc) out of 5 stars Finishing the set in style Sept. 20 2009
By Larry VanDeSande - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Murray Perahia recorded three of the Bach partitas a few years back after recovery from a hand injury -- Bach: Partitas Nos. 2-4 -- and now he's back to finish the set. Again this time, Perahia uses his trademark intelligence, style, technique and beauty of sound to create a recording that can stand with any extant recording of this music. Using the limpid fragility he portrays in Chopin and Mozart, Perhaia travels through Bach's magnificent creations in an almost dream-like trance, giving you Bach's notes, his humanity, and Perahia's singular approach that combine for memorable playing and memorable Bach.

Like he did a few years ago with Partitas 2, 3 and 4, Perhaia shows you Bach's imprint and counterpoint as only he can. While he doesn't portray the prestidigation of Glenn Gould Bach: Partitas Nos. 4, 5, 6 or the manic rush to judgment by the likes of Martha Argerich J.S. Bach: Toccata, Partita, English Suite 2/ Martha Argerich, he wallows in sound while he demonstrates the left hand-right hand counterpoint that all Bach players must master.

Not everyone will enjoy this and you probably know if you don't like this way with Bach. If unsure, listeners with an interest in more mercurial playing, greater reliance on technique, and stricter adherence to counterpoint may be better served elsewhere, either by Gould or in a newer recording from Seattle professor Craig Sheppard J.S. Bach: The Six Keyboard Partitas. Sheppard is a fine player and his recording has deservedly won plaudits everywhere.

However, Perahia is at least as accomplished a player as Sheppard, has consistently demonstrated powerhouse ability across a wider span of composers and styles, and the professor is not close to Perahia as a colorist, image-maker and sound technician. Where Sheppard's playing is perfect, he doesn't project the other possibilities in the scores, nor does he seem interested in portraying the humanity of J.S. Bach in his playing.

Bach was the most intellectual of all the great composers, sometimes composing music strictly as an intellectual exercise for himself (The Art of Fugue, among others) and many players only see this side of him in their music-making. But Bach was also a dogmatic Lutheran, a strict believer in the almighty, and the father of more than 20 children. He even spent a night in jail once in a dispute over music! These qualities grounded Johann Sebastian among the rest of us and made him more of an everyman than most great composers, who tend to stride atop Mt. Olympus. These humanistic qualities must also be available when realizing the art of J.S. Bach and they are on display from Perahia.

Even though I graded this five stars, I have heard other recordings of these three partitas that I find more convincing that offer perhaps greater longlasting enjoyment. For Partita 1, I'd recommend Dubravka Tomsic's fabulous concert on an inexpensive disk Bach: Italian Concerto; Partita BWV 825; Toccata BWV 912. For the Partita 5, I'd recommend Andras Schiff's first recording of the partita in 1984 Andás Schiff Plays Bach. For the titanic Partita 6, you should heard Elena Kuschnerova's concert Elena Kuschnerova.

Nevertheless, this is a magnificent recording of some of the greatest keyboard music on this planet. Every great pianist at some point should record one or more of Bach's partitas, which have rightly been compared to Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas for the way their traverse time, space, emotion and mental processes of the respective composers. Anyone putting out the incredibly low asking price for this recording will not be disappointed, in my opinion, even if Perahia's liquid tone and trance-like approach isn't your cup of tea.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6dc833c) out of 5 stars Bach at its best Sept. 24 2009
By Ivor E. Zetler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Any new release by Murray Perahia should be a cause for celebration. His ventures into the recording studio are relatively infrequent but the results are invariably distinguished. This issue of Bach partitas is no exception; it is a joy from start to finish.

Perahia expertly conveys the varying moods of Bach's compositions. His approach is non eccentric and he has the ability to clearly articulate the music's various melodic strands. The pianism is alert, vivid and elegant. As with with the previous Perahia/Bach releases, the piano tone is warm, clear and realistic. Strongly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6dc8708) out of 5 stars Fugues and other gems Oct. 21 2011
By Bahij Bawarshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Many have spoken of Murray Perahia's piano touch and technique playing Bach, but it's enlightening to know what he himself thinks about Bach's music and how to interpret it. In a 2008 interview with the British paper `The Telegraph', he said that after much study of the scores, he became obsessed with Bach's music. I give the following excerpts from the article (Perahia's words in quotes):

Perahia is adamant that the music can be transmitted on an instrument of our day. "I think the pursuit of authenticity is fine," he says. "There's nothing against it, but it's not the only way."
"It took me many years to find my voice in Bach," he admits. It is crucial "not to imitate a harpsichord, to play freely and yet not romantically, because that's not part of the spirit of the music."
"What fascinates me is the structure underneath a piece."
This is structure not in a dry sense, as Perahia explains, but in the understanding of the way harmony, counterpoint and the simple action of one note leading to another contribute to the larger picture.

In this volume, as in all his other Bach recordings, Perahia certainly does not imitate a harpsichord, which I take was a reference to the staccato style of piano playing. The music seems to flow so effortlessly, one remains oblivious to the difficulty of mastering the pieces, in particular the intricate fugues, where the understanding of structure (as above) informs Perahia's performances. In Bach's hands almost any melody or rhythm could become a candidate for fugal development -- and the partitas here feature three wonderful examples of fugal music that Perahia plays with fine control and great relish. These we hear in the Gigues of Partitas Nos. 5 and 6 and in the central section of the latter's opening Toccata.

In reality, Perahia delivers something to woo Bach lovers on every track of the disc. Among my personal favorites are the beautiful Sarabande and the joyful Minuet of Partita No. 1. Besides the breathtaking fugal Gigue of No. 5, the Preambulum with its bubbly rhythms stands out. Sometimes I listen to the Toccata of Partita No. 6 as a self-contained piece of magnificent keyboard music. There follows a very fine Allemande, beautifully played by Perahia as he brings out both its melodic line and supreme poise. And who would have thought that a gigue (jig) rhythm could have formed the basis for such an imposing finale to the partita and the entire disc?

Perahia's touch at the keyboard, the quality of the concert Steinway he played, and Sony's recording technology all must have contributed to the polished and pleasing piano sound that this disc offers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6dc86b4) out of 5 stars Perahia's Bach scales the heights even more than usual July 6 2011
By Andrew R. Barnard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Murray Perahia has been gifted with a rare sense of graceful lyricism that is especially well suited to Bach's music. Owning all of his solo Bach albums, I've been pleased with all of them, namely the Goldbergs, the two English Suites discs, and the two Partita discs, of which this is one. While each one of them has been successful, it's the Partita discs that I have found to be the best. Having reviewed the disc that contained the Partitas Nos. 2, 3, and 4 very favorably, I am pleased to say that this one supersedes even that effort, as wonderful as it was. While there are performers who can play Bach with more excitement and fire (Gould in particular), Perahia has his own unique approach that tends to have the listener sitting back in serious reflection. It's a deeply religious approach, one that fills the Partitas with the same spiritual intensity that we expect from Bach's sacred choral works. Simply put, Perahia makes these lovely works life changing.

The 1st Partita contains light, almost dainty pieces. This is music that would be suited to a royal court in Bach's day. While it's very easy going, there is a sense of nobility that is also present. Perahia takes advantage of his soft touch, making this partita come across without any stress or struggle. He's relaxed and poised, but, at the same time, highly musical, giving us exquisite phrasing that is rich in tone.

The 5th Partita is even more light spirited than the 1st. In fact, there are very few pieces in the entire piano repertoire that capture the same pure joy that the opening Praeambulum does. And Perahia's nimble fingers deftly capture the spirit; he almost floats. But his playing in the Sarabande is every bit as remarkable. Here he manages to squeeze out such an enormous amount of beauty that it leaves me with a lump in my throat. The sheer delight of the playing is a rare treat for my ears.

The 6th Partita is a much different story than the 1st and 5th, but not in a bad way. It is incredibly soul searching, filled with yearning passion and melancholy. But one must never forget that this is still Bach. Perahia certainly doesn't; he fills this music with a strong sense of spirituality. To put it in different words, he combines the sadness with a faith and trust in God that prevents the music from becoming gloomy or discouraging. What this means is that the listener will go away feeling deeply touched, but, more than anything else, inspired to continue on with life. But this will not happen without the listener searching himself and giving some very serious thoughts to the meaning and purpose of his life. This kind of music making simply goes beyond words. It's life changing.

All music lovers interested in hearing Bach given interpretations that focus on the inner quality of his music have got to check out Perahia's work. And this disc is the very height of Perahia's efforts.

Highly recommended.