The great keyboard virtuoso Murray Perahia signs here - in the company of his wonderful players from Academy of St Martin in the fields - a refined account of three celebrated works by Johann Sebastian Bach, seldom recorded lately. In the A minor Concerto for flute, violin and clavier (BWV 1044), as well as in the Brandenburg Concerto no.5 in D major (BWV 1050), he solos along with two distinguished colleagues from his London ensemble - the violinist Kenneth Sillito (the concert-maestro / leader of the Academy) and the flutist Jaime Martin. Their collaboration yields a valuable rendition of these works, featuring Bach as the robust ancestor of the modern keyboard concerto. Jakob Lindberg's contribution at the theorbo rounds off the needed Baroque atmosphere.
However, in my opinion, the climax of this recording is reached in the famous Italian Concerto in F major (BWV 971) for solo keyboard. It reveals once more the renowned craftsmanship of Perahia, his unmatched poetic touch. A thoughtful and color-oriented pianism is masterly displayed, with meditative inflections and vivid finger-work to shed a fresh (but nut disturbing) light on these evergreens. Perahia's approach aims at revealing a truly meditative realm (see, for instance, the soaring central movement - Andante) and subtly contrasting it with a witty playfulness (in the outer movements) based on a impressive musical knowledge. The excellent recorded sound is favored (besides Perahia's stunning mastery) by use of a concert grand capable of an amazing palette of nuances.
All in all, an outstanding, valuable and aristocratic rendition in Bach's recordings catalogue!