|Available at Amazon:|
J. S. Bach, Goldberg Variations, Murray Perahia, piano (released on October 3, 2000)
Perahia's athletic, dramatic reading makes evident all of the advantages that the modern piano has over the harpsichord, especially in broader ranges of dynamics, color, and articulation. One of the tests of a successful performance of Bach on the piano is whether the sound makes you think of how something would have sounded on the harpsichord -- for example, in the two-manual movements like Variation 8, which perforce are the result of a sort of trickery on the piano. One of the most difficult variations is the penultimate one -- Variation 29, just before the Quodlibet -- a mercurial toccata that Perahia hacks through like a buzzsaw. For all of Perahia's jaw-dropping bravura -- splashier than the always cool Gould -- there is refinement to be admired as well, in the playful embellishments on most of the repeats and the thoughtful understanding of underlying forms, like the giga in Variation 7 and the French overture in Variation 16.
Sony Classical SK/SM 89243