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Murray Perahia Plays Handel & Scarlatti

4.9 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 4, 1997
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Frequently Bought Together

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Editorial Reviews

No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: PERAHIA,MURRAY
Title: PLAYS HANDEL/SCARLATTI
Street Release Date: 03/04/1997
Domestic
Genre: CLASSICAL ARTISTS
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 4, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 69 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000029UB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,925 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
With this excellent release, Murray Perahia extends his recorded repertoire into the Baroque, exhibiting his usual thoughtfulness and sensitivity.
These are all more or less familiar works by now, having been recorded by the likes of Richter, Gould, Jarrett, Gilbert, and others. The Handel Suites have perhaps not quite the sophistication of the French and English Suites of J. S. Bach, but these charming essays are certainly worthy of repeated attention and do allow a wide range of interpretations.
Perahia has a cultivated and elegant tone, and generally takes a relaxed approach to the material, with an occasional tendency to rush at the codas. His interpretations emphasise the melodic over the rhythmic, and his fine technique seems at times to make the rough places smooth. Richter has a very different view of these pieces and brings out a rough and craggy side of these works which is not hinted at here.
The second half of the program consists of seven sonatas by Scarlatti. It begins with one of the best known of the 550 or so in Kirkpatrick's catalog. Kk. 491 is nicely played, with a good sense of the contrasts and lines.
A less familiar minor-key sonata, Kk. 27, is for me the high point of the recital. It is played with a lovely legato, subtle shading and measured dynamics. Perahia uses decrescendo to great effect here. The harmonic complexity of this piece seems to foreshadow Beethoven. This is one of the most subtle and interesting of Scarlatti's works.
Kk. 29 is given a very lively reading, even a little rushed, and could be presented with more contrast between the sections. In Kk. 206, Perahia employs a gentle, singing tone to good effect.
The intelligent sequence in which these sonatas are presented enhances the pleasure of listening. Overall this is a brilliant and very enjoyable foray into the Baroque from one of the masters. Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
After spending about two weeks scouring for this CD, i finally managed to grab the only copy available from my local Tower Records store before deciding to order from Amazon.com as a last resort. I took this for a listen one night to perhaps have a little light soothing music before going to sleep, and it turned out that this CD kept me awake all night long.
In the opening Prelude (track 1) of Handel's Suite No. 5, the left hand comes in with just an ordinary single melodic line, but it is when the right hand comes in that the magic and enchantment begins, with the Allemande (track 2), Courante (track 3) and Air (track 4) following shortly. And it is at this point where I was captivated by not only Murray Perahia's playing but the shape and flow of the music. I knew that more was to come, and indeed, the Chaconne in G (track 5) blew me away totally, with breathtaking lyricism, beautiful contrapuntal weavings, flawless technique, controlled structural balance and startling virtuosity. All i could do was stare at my stereo while the CD spins and worship the sublimity of sound that was emanating from the speakers. This is baroque as I have never heard before.
By the end of the 8-minute Chaconne I found myself at a total loss for words. And this is only the 5th track out of 22. I'm finding it hard to describe in words the section with the bass octaves and running right-hand passages. Just take a listen to it and you'll see what I mean. I'll be searching for the Chaconne score the moment I have free time to spare. Needless to say the following tracks are equally brilliant. Unforgettable are the Air from Suite No. 3 (track 10) and Allegro from Suite No. 2 (track 13), my personal favourites alongside the Chaconne.
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Format: Audio CD
Over the years I have compiled a list of pianists I want to be sure to hear in concert before I die. At the top of the list of remaining pianists yet unheard is Murray Perahia. He is, for me, possibly the most talented, most musical, most elegant pianist before the public. What, I asked myself, do I have to add to the sixteen reviews of this disc thus far submitted? Well, probably nothing startling. But I felt I needed to add my praise and a few comments about this essential disc.

The first, I suppose, is that I feel this disc IS essential. For anyone interested in baroque keyboard music this release (along with the other Bach and Handel discs Perahia has made) shows us how a modern pianist, using modern techniques and performance practices, has much to say about this so-familiar music. Of course, Perahia has a perfected technique. His left hand is possibly the best I've ever heard. Just listen to the incredibly fast runs, inflected on the fly, in some of the fast movements presented here (as in the presto variation of the 'Harmonious Blacksmith,' for instance). Nobody else has as fluid a legato or rounded tone as Perahia. His feather-light staccatos at breakneck speed are breathtaking. In the G minor Chaconne of Handel the left hand octaves ring out like a 16-foot organ pedal stop. And on and on. All of this is the service of elegance, grace and rich yet crystalline sonority. When drama is called for, it's there.

The extensive, admiring booklet notes, written by the late, great harpsichordist (and no mean pianist himself) Igor Kipnis, capture what is unique about Perahia.

This disc belongs on every musiclover's shelf.

Scott Morrison
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