Johann Sebastian Bach - Keyboard Concertos 1, 2, & 4

MUSiC, Album. October 29, 2011 by Jason.

Johann Sebastian Bach with Academy of St. Martin in the Fields & Murray Perahia - Keyboard Concertos 1, 2 and 4 (Murray Perahia) [2001] [Album]
Original Release / Sony Classical / SK89245 / CD
FLAC / Lossless / Log (100%) / Cue
MP3 / 320
MP3 / V0 (VBR)
Genre: Baroque classical

Review - 15 seconds into the first keyboard concerto, Murray Perahia's piano bubbles up, and from that moment on the recording is one of the most glorious pieces of classical music I've heard. Every second is a shivering jolt of ecstasy. While the first keyboard concerto is easily my favorite, the other two are stellar as well. I don't really have the vocabulary or the knowledge to talk about classical music in any real depth—I'll just leave off here and let the music say the rest.

These concertos, although probably derived from earlier material written by Bach, represent a new departure in the form of the keyboard concerto. The most important innovation was the freeing of the left hand from its usual task of doubling the bass line of the continuo, thereby allowing the solo keyboard a much more florid contrapuntal line. A second keyboard instrument, or -- as in the present performance -- a large bass lute known as the theorbo, was added to the continuo to take over the job of doubling the bass and filling in the figured-bass harmonies. The result was a concerto featuring much greater flexibility and independence for the solo keyboard instrument.

These performances, featuring Murray Perahia as both soloist and conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, take full advantage of this freedom. The playing is filled with energy, and displays Perahia's usual combination of precision, careful attention to phrasing, and great musical sensibility. He has great sensitivity to the character of the music, and the playing is very musical and alive. In short, it is just what we have come to expect from Perahia.

To those not afflicted [by baroque performance on modern piano], I can certainly recommend this disk. Although it may not have quite the same sparkle as the Mozart piano concertos Perahia recorded for CBS in the late 1970s with the English Chamber Orchestra, the playing is first-rate all around, and the collaboration between orchestra and soloist, as might be expected when the soloist is also the conductor, is seamless. The recorded sound is good if not perfect. --Marvin Segal


Concerto No.1 in D Minor
I. Allegro [0:07:12.40]
II. Adagio [0:06:07.29]
III. Allegro [0:07:22.80]

Concerto No.2 in E Major
I. [0:08:00.17]
II. Siciliano [0:04:56.36]
III. Allegro [0:06:04.66]

Concerto No.4 in A Major
I. Allegro [0:04:01.86]
II. Larghetto [0:04:52.26]
III. Allegro ma non tanto [0:04:24.60]

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