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Perahia Plays Bach

Murray Perahia , Bach Johann Sebastian Audio CD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 14.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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1. I. Allegro
2. II. Adagio Ma Non Tanto E Dolce
3. III. Tempo Di Alla Breve
4. I. Allegro
5. II. Affetuoso
6. III. Allegro
7. I. Allegro
8. II. Andante
9. III. Presto

Product Description

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After playing and conducting Bach's concertos for solo keyboard, Perahia now turns his attention to a pair of similarly scored concertos which involve a couple of excellent colleagues. Except for instrument purists who insist on harpsichords and other period instruments, no Bach lover is likely to have any trouble with the sound of these performances. They are lucidly and expressively played, and every important line is clearly audible. After his rather aggessive approach to the solo concertos, Perahia and his colleagues sound surprisingly sedate in these performances, which are lovely but occasionally seem a bit deficient in excitement and drive. The "Italian Concerto," without the orchestra, is similarly mellow. If it suits your interests, this is a highly pleasing disc, quite well recorded, although there should have been more than 55:24 of music on it. --Leslie Gerber

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful if nonstandard rendition of Bach Dec 12 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
The centerpiece of this CD is Perahia's performance of the Fifth Brandenburg. Perahia bites into it like what it is--the first piano concerto. True, he doesn't play it on a harpsichord and disregards almost everything the past 20 years or so of musical scholarship have told us about period performance. On the other hand, Beethoven, Chopin, and the rest of the 19th century composers played Bach with their own hands, and they probably played him like this. The result wasn't the exact sound Bach had in mind when he put pen to paper, but it was the sound that inspired the great keyboard literature of that century. To listen to Perahia play this is to hear the granddaddy of piano concertos anew. Anyone who loves Bach already has a couple Brandenburg recordings; this is a nice compliment to them. Anyone who loves 19th century piano music deserves a taste of this, too. Then Perahia throws in the triple concerto, which just doesn't get recorded enough, and the Italian concerto, which any Bach lover is going to already know well. Sound quality and engineering are impeccable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A dazzling performance. Nov. 9 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Bravissimo! Perahia's dazzling performance culminates in the cadenza in the first movement of the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto. This superb recording stands in stark contrast with the boring antiquarian stuff of the "historically informed" performance fad that may have prevented an entire generation of music fans from enjoying an important pianistic tradition connected with this concerto. I do not know of any recording of this concerto played on a modern piano since the legendary mono recording by Edwin Fischer made in the 1950s. The Triple Concerto and the Italian Concerto also give splendid testimony of exquisitely shaded modern piano performances. Highly recommended.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The emperor's new clothes... Oct. 30 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
There was a time when people still bothered to argue about the interpretation of early music. About instruments, tempi and character. Today, there is really no need anymore. The record market is flooded with cds of period instrument performances. There is hardly a label that would release a recording of for example a piece by Bach, Handel or even Mozart with a "modern" ensemble or orchestra. So, here we have something unique. Perahia has recorded quite a bit of Bach by now and I have been thinking that it still is nice with some contrasts in the classical cd catalogue. Though, after listening to this cd of concertos and the Italian concerto I was very dissapointed. Listening to this disc I feel embaressed. The 5th Brandenburg concerto is played in a way that is almost funny and amusing in a pathetic way. This is how the chamber orchestras played in the 50s!
The fact that the "emperor's new clothes" effect has made the critics hail Perahia for his Bach recordings is no excuse for putting out something as disturbing as this. The tempi, the sound and the character of each movement is just so wrong. OK, it is personal what you like but let's face it: the old stubborn tradition of playing this music in this manner can be compared to a sinking ship. Some people are still desperately hanging on to it. Still ignoring the true colours and intentions of past masters. Perahia is a wonderful pianist but he should stick to Schubert, Chopin and the repertoire that he can handle.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dazzling performance. Nov. 9 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Bravissimo! Perahia's dazzling performance culminates in the cadenza in the first movement of the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto. This superb recording stands in stark contrast with the boring antiquarian stuff of the "historically informed" performance fad that may have prevented an entire generation of music fans from enjoying an important pianistic tradition connected with this concerto. I do not know of any recording of this concerto played on a modern piano since the legendary mono recording by Edwin Fischer made in the 1950s. The Triple Concerto and the Italian Concerto also give splendid testimony of exquisitely shaded modern piano performances. Highly recommended.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just about as good as it gets... July 19 2005
By R. G. W. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Exquisite. Just forget academic hang-ups about period versus modern instruments etc - and listen to the music - and the sheer musicianship - which is sublime on this disc. Bach often arranged for different instruments quite freely, like most good composers, so he would most-likely have thoroughly enjoyed his work played on a piano instead of a harpsichord - and it is such enjoyment to let this music wash-over you wherever you are - driving, relaxing, whatever.

Perahia is at his usual level of perfection, energy and enthusiasm, and for me, the smooth and subtle playing of Kenneth Sillito's violin - and especially Jaime Martin's flute - is the real bonus - beautifully and sensitively crafted phrasing throughout both the Brandenburg 5th and the Concerto for flute, violin and clavier.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful if nonstandard rendition of Bach Dec 12 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The centerpiece of this CD is Perahia's performance of the Fifth Brandenburg. Perahia bites into it like what it is--the first piano concerto. True, he doesn't play it on a harpsichord and disregards almost everything the past 20 years or so of musical scholarship have told us about period performance. On the other hand, Beethoven, Chopin, and the rest of the 19th century composers played Bach with their own hands, and they probably played him like this. The result wasn't the exact sound Bach had in mind when he put pen to paper, but it was the sound that inspired the great keyboard literature of that century. To listen to Perahia play this is to hear the granddaddy of piano concertos anew. Anyone who loves Bach already has a couple Brandenburg recordings; this is a nice compliment to them. Anyone who loves 19th century piano music deserves a taste of this, too. Then Perahia throws in the triple concerto, which just doesn't get recorded enough, and the Italian concerto, which any Bach lover is going to already know well. Sound quality and engineering are impeccable.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Performance, Selection and Sonics Aug. 17 2008
By Grizelda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I won't reiterate what others have said (although I concur), but felt someone needed to mention what an outstanding disk this is sonically. It's absolutely one of the finest quality recordings I've heard. After purchasing first noticed that there exists an SACD version of this disk (which I would have bought), but can't imagine what could be improved on this DSD based recording.

I think this would also be a fine gift for clasical newbies as it contains some of Bachs most immediately pleasing works - but like all Bach your pleasure only increases with multiple listenings (rather than the boredom which can occur over time with much highly touted "Light" classical music.)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murray Perahia - a refined rendition of Bach's three masterpieces Sept. 19 2010
By P. Adrian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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!
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