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Bach: The English Suites
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This set, comprising all six of Bach's English Suites, is simply brilliant. The music is fabulous and Murray Perahia's playing is quite wonderful.

These six suites are English in name only, conforming largely to the accepted form and order of a suite of dances, providing Bach with a template for his unrivalled contrapuntal skill in which he was utterly at home. The result is a set of pieces with wonderful rhythmic variation and delightful fluency of lines, and these are among Bach's finest keyboard works, in my view. They are inventive, endlessly rewarding and, above all, hugely enjoyable to listen to.

Murray Parahia understands all of this to his core, and has the superb technique to allow it to flow out of him utterly naturally. He often has a delightful lightness of touch which never trivialises but allows the music to dance and glow as it should, and he preserves the music's intellectual weight even in the most toe-tapping movements. Perahia's judgement of rubato and ornamentation is impeccable, with just enough to allow make the music's sense clear without overlaying it with unnecessary interpretive tricks. It is exemplary Bach playing, I think.

Unless you have a rooted objection to Bach on the piano (in which case I'd recommend Christophe Rousset's harpsichord recordings Bach: English Suites, BWV 806 - 811 /Rousset) you cannot possibly go wrong with these two discs. They are superb and very warmly recommended.

[At this level of excellence it is purely a matter of personal taste, but I thought I'd mention that I still marginally prefer Angela Hewitt's interpretations (now in a fantastic box of all her Bach recordings Angela Hewitt plays Bach (Complete Solo Keyboard Recordings).) This is a matter of tiny things, though, and I would be very happy with this set alone.]
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2010
when it comes to the goldbergs, Perahia did an outstanding job, but other recordings are outstanding as well, and then choice is a matter of personal taste and style, some will prefer Gould, or Hewitt, or even Koroliov. But here in the english suites (which are really french musically speaking) he is so far indisputed. The best interpretation in a very high quality recording.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2011
Bach's music is possibly the supreme test of the skill of a pianist. His music must be played with strong understanding of the technical details that surround his music. Yet at the same time, it must not become mechanical or forced. In order for Bach's music to be given a satisfying performance, it must sound very natural and musical. Too many times Bach performers lack one of these essential ingredients. But I am very pleased to say that Perahia does not. He has clearly studied the complex contrapuntal harmonies that are the backbone of the English Suites (and all of Bach's music for that matter). But instead of giving a cold, forced performance, Perahia has seen the potential for music making.

Perahia, who is almost without peers today, has done a staggering job with the English Suites. He has succeeded in giving performances that wonderfully capture the beauty and intimacy of these pieces. In the faster movements, we hear a sure sense of steadiness, but Perahia still takes time for lyric beauty. The slow movements are quite lovely. But it goes far beyond merely being pretty. There is a depth of emotion that words fail me to describe. The inner quality to this music is almost never found elsewhere.

You should by all means buy this album. It will provide hours of listening pleasure. But it will also do much more than that - it will have you thinking deeply about life and its purpose.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2009
Perahia is very very very good at Bach. Lovely easy listening... a joy... great bass and lush piano sound. The warm touch comes to Bach.
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on 16 March 2015
I prefer my Bach keyboard works on the piano. I'm sure he would have used it if he had had one.
Murray Perahia is very good indeed here, unfussy, un-rushed, he allows this wonderful music to
speak for itself. Well recorded too with the piano not overwhelming. I have them on a lot. Good
stuff.
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on 15 June 2015
Just arrived an hour ago.
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