Perahia Plays Handel and Scarlatti Import
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While performances of Scarlatti sonatas on the piano remain as popular as ever, Handel's keyboard music is rarely so performed, perhaps an acknowledgement both that it does not show its composer at his best, and that it does not respond so well to being taken away from the harpsichord for which it was intended. Murray Perahia's surprising venture into this baroque repertoire, however, is a resounding success. His Handel is by turns warm, eloquent and grand, and as sparklingly clear as any harpsichord performance. Virtuosity is also well to the fore in the famous "Harmonious Blacksmith" variations. The Scarlatti sonatas are nevertheless what the disc will probably be remembered for most; the wide-ranging expressiveness of these quirky and eclectic little masterpieces has always benefited from good pianistic interpretation, but Perahia--while not grabbing the music's every moment as Mikhail Pletnev's highly regarded two-disc alternative does--scores high marks for his responsiveness to the many moods of this music, of which poetry and poise are the ones his highly cultured and faultlessly voiced playing serves best. You may not think you like harpsichord music on the piano, but the sheer refinement of a musician like Perahia is hard to resist. --Lindsay Kemp
Top Customer Reviews
I was fortunate enough to see Murray Perahia perform a number of these pieces in Oxford during the period leading up this recording. Handel's Chaconne in particular stuck in my mind after the concert as it had a profound affect on me. I am not one moved to tears often but the tears flowed in the concert and they still flow when I listen to this recording.
The "Harmonious Blacksmith" is another astonishing piece on piano.
In fact the whole album is astonishing. The playing is precise and clear at all times, as baroque music should be, but Mr Perahia manages to avoid a mechanical approach, injecting humanity into the music without sentimentality.
I could waffle on for ages but all you need to know is that this album is truly breathtaking and should be in every music lovers collection.
Heck buy two copies so you can keep one in the car permanently ;-)
Just a pity Handel and Scarlatti couldn't hear it!
It would be superfluous to add yet another detailed encomium to the many previous reviews extolling the virtues of Perahia's playing in this award-winning CD. Even if you think you are allergic to hearing this music played on anything other than a harpsichord, you should try his rendition while considering it as a different art-form, just as Stokowski orchestrated Bach or Beecham re-touched Handel's "Messiah". Perahia exploits all the tonal, dynamic and expressive range of the grand piano without allowing his interpretation to become soupy or indulgent: this is clean, clear, rigorous period-style playing without too much in the way of agogic distortion or Romantic swooning.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fine music and some characteristically lovely playing, but the latter is marred once or twice too often by the music running away with Mr.Perahia. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Harry Callahan
I purchased this CD mainly for the Handel. For some reason Scarlatti's music doesn't appeal to me. If you like Handel played on piano, these are superb interpretations, and the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Robert
Another classic gem with Murray Perahia in superb form, as usual. Loved it!Published 14 months ago by Merry Carol Hendel
Wonderful pianism, great programme, very fine recording quality. Can't recommend the CD enough.Published 23 months ago by lofty
Like the other reviewers I thoroughly enjoyed this Cd.
This music can seem rather formidable but this was just right, enough Handel and the right amount of Scarlatti. Read more
I have many recordings made by Perahia over the years. All are brilliant but his Handel/Scarlatti interpretations are truly exceptional. Read morePublished on 16 Jan. 2012 by Gerry 'M'
A wonderful light hand with some playful tunes have provided me with hours of good listening
The Harmonious Blacksmith a particular favourite.
Others have commented that this is great music excellently played. I agree, but just wanted to add that it is also hugely enjoyable. Read morePublished on 12 Feb. 2004 by Graham Phillips