Saturday, May 10, 2008

In Review--Mas Bach

Murray Perahia
Bach Goldberg Variations


I feel too exhausted at the moment to write an actual review of Pianist Murray Perahia's gorgeous interpretation of Bach's Goldberg Variations. However, Perahia takes his listeners through a vast palette of emotions with aplomb while performing the short 32 variations--a Bach masterpiece that was originally composed for his "talented protege Johann Gottlieb Goldberg to play on harpsicord."

The first recording I heard and enjoyed of the variations was by the late Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. Listening to two recordings by Glenn Gould, recorded decades a part, led me to think that I would not enjoy another pianist's recording of this work. However, I find Perahia's version (who has a lot of Bach recordings under his belt), extremely moving and powerful. I borrowed the CD from the library down the street and have listened to several times in the past week.

Since this is a healing music site, I want to add that this music does relax my restless mind and allows me to soak in beauty of human emotions played out on the keys of the piano. But don't just go with my words. Producer Paul Myers wrote the following in the liner notes.

"As the producer of some of Murray Perahia's early recordings, more than twenty years ago, it is hard to describe how heartwarming it is to hear the joy, pathos, audacity, drama, triumph, thoughtful reflection, and breathtaking virtuosity he brings to his deeply musical interpretation of this great work, helping to remind us why music is the most moving of all the arts."

In this case, believe the hype because Paul Myers nails the truth on the head. From start to finish, this musical ride is worth taking and listeners will be enriched from the experience.

I also found this information on Wikipedia which might be of interest to you.

"In 1990, Perahia suffered a cut to his right thumb, which became septic. He took antibiotics for this condition, but they affected his health.[1] In 1992, his career was threatened by a bone abnormality in his hand causing inflammation requiring several years away from the keyboard, and a series of surgeries. During that time, he says, he found solace through studying the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. After being given the all-clear, he produced in the late nineties a series of award-winning recordings of Bach's keyboard works, most notably a cornerstone rendition of the Goldberg variations. This has caused him to be regarded as a latter-day Bach specialist."