Many excellent, previous reviews have adumbrated the attractions of Perahia's complete set of the seven Keyboard Concertos on two discs, so I won't belabour the points except to say that the wit and delicacy of these recordings were enough to convince me that I had to move on from my worthy, serviceable but essentially dull Naxos discs and resolve to listen henceforth mainly to Perahia if I wanted to hear this wonderful music on a modern piano.
He manages to steer a mid-course between overt emotional indulgence and the mechanical doggedness I hear from Angela Hewitt. The balance between the small orchestra, underpinned by the quasi-harpsichord-sounding theorbo, and the piano is perfect. His speeds are almost invariably brisk but always lithe and sprung; too many pianists swoon over the slow movements and rob them of their poise and momentum. Discreet re-scoring - some thinning of textures and the replacement of bowing by pizzicato - stops the orchestration sounding soupy and the propulsiveness of Perahia's playing counteracts the accusation that he is too concerned to cultivate pure beauty of sound.
Perahia's pedigree in Bach is flawless: his Goldberg's are among my top three favourite versions and his forays into Bach generally have met with great acclaim. Purists may retreat to their harpsichords and good luck to them; meanwhile the rest of us will bless these recordings as utterly life-enhancing.