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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 6 June 2017
Cd arrived in good condition
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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.
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on 5 November 2011
Murray Perahia is a pianist who thrives in the music of Bach, with all its beauty, grandeur, and poetry. Here he is joined by the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields to conduct some of Bach's keyboard concerti from the piano. He's turned out to be a fine director who pulls some lovely sounds out of the famed orchestra that I don't think I've heard the likes of in any of their recordings with Marriner. Not Marriner isn't worth admiring--far from it--but Perahia makes music making so easy that Marriner can sound stodgy in comparison. Lyricism flows forth effortlessly from both Perahia and ASMF that is a wonder to behold. Everything is done with a marked intimacy, the kind of material that sounds like a carry-over from chamber music. Perhaps Perahia's main secret as a conductor is simply that his love for his music is contagious, allowing his partners to catch his creative vision. Everything is as light as a feather and Perahia's dashing spirit is full of vitality.

But, despite its charms, the one setback to this album, if you can call it that, is that darker side of Bach is never touched on. Gracefulness certainly reigns to a large degree in Bach, but what about the richness, the somberness that leads to resignation? I know you can bring these qualities out in Bach; Perahia's own solo recordings of the composer prove this, especially those wonderful Goldbergs and Partitas. And in the concerti field, there is always Perahia's later recording with ASMF of Bach's Triple and 5th Brandenburg concerti, where Perahia sees reflection and resignation in a powerful way. But here, Perahia opts instead for pure loveliness, making everything without a care in the world.

Perhaps you think that this different approach doesn't sound all that bad. You're right on. I certainly find it refreshing and delightful to hear. It's simply that when compared to Perahia's other Bach efforts it doesn't quite have the same emotional effect. I'm not going to try to take away from what Perahia has to offer though, because it does provide ravishing material. I'm going to continue to listen to it for the breathtaking beauty and joyful spirits it has to offer. It certainly is a treat.
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on 25 February 2004
I have been a long time fan of the Pinnock/English Concert Archiv recording on authentic instruments. However I picked this disc up as part of the Murray Perahia Bach Boxed set and I think I am now sold completely on Bach played on the Piano.
The production is superb, but would be worth little without as fine a performance of baroque music as I have heard. Murray Perahia has caught the sparkling quality of the music and lays it out for us all to hear. Bach himslef would have loved it.
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on 26 April 2001
The recent record of Goldberg's by Perahia is a real summit of an excellent career. It was hard to suppose that Perahia could make a new excellent Bach version in a new record. However StMartiners and Perahia reach again this type of incandescence that a few marvellous artists can do. It doesn't matter if you have different versions of these concerts: you must buy and hear this one. From the first chord to the last a great pleasure. I've got the disk four days ago and I have listened to it ten times yet, and I am not tired, on the contrary. Three hurras for Perahia and StMartiners
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on 8 May 2005
I can only agree with all the other reviews. The performance of each concerto is absolutely breathtaking, and the execution by Murray Perahia can only be described as perfect. The clarity of each note is truly amazing, especially the ornaments. The crescendos and diminuendos achievable on the piano add to the drama of each movement, a facility not available on the keyboard of Bach's day; I am sure he would have been more than satisfied with Perahia's playing. Whenever I need a boost to my day, I put this CD on. A thoroughly recommended set of recordings, to which should be added the other CD with the remaining concertos.
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on 1 December 2013
I know that J S Bach famously hated the piano, but they weren't the monsters we have today and the early models were up against the mature technology of industrial strength harpsichords and military grade organs. To me the combination of strings and piano performing these peerless works is highly attractive. Perahia has got the phrasing and the inferred dynamics just right (in my opinion; I'm sure some will disagree)
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on 11 January 2013
This disk feels special. It very skillfully played with not note wrong, beautiful, and at times powerful emotional. And the darker side isn't brought out? What about the 1st movement of the No.1, which seems pretty dark at times!
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on 5 November 2016
I'm a Perahia nut, so am surprised to find myself dissing this. I just can't take the cloying sound of modern piano AND modern strings, especially when doubling the same line.
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on 18 December 2002
I can only agree with Harriet Smith's excellent review of this splendid disc, and that of the reviewer below. The good news is that the second volume is as marvellous as this one. Murray Perahia: has he ever put a foot (or finger) wrong?
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