With this disc of Bach keyboard concertos, it seems that Murray Perahia is in the midst of an intense love affair with Bach--not so long ago he presented the world with an impeccably sensitive yet wonderfully energised version of the Goldberg Variations
. Reassuringly, the more recent release is called Volume 1, so presumably there must be a second on the way. Every ornament, every note, every phrase is beautifully moulded, the piano the physical and emotional epicentre of the musical vision. We may get to hear these pieces on harpsichord more than piano these days, but there's nothing to beat the sheer exhilaration of the piano's percussive punch, its pingy bottom register, the uncluttered way it can reveal the sheer athleticism of Bach's linear passagework. Highlights are to be found in every bar but for an appetiser sample the opening movement of the First Concerto (track 1), or the lilting soulfulness of the slow movement of the Second (track 5). The orchestra are as masterly as the soloist and together they make sublime music. This is one purchase you'll never regret. --Harriet Smith
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