Search This Blog

Monday, April 14, 2014

David Korevaar, Bach, The Six Partitas for Keyboard, Piano Version

Of all the works Bach wrote initially for solo harpsichord, his Six Partitas sound especially well on the piano. David Korevaar (MSR 1461, 2CDs) gives us a new version of the cycle that to me affirms this. Any of Bach's keyboard works sound well on the piano in sensitive hands, granted, but the Partitas have non-contrapuntal as well as contrapuntal elements that manage to sound idiomatic on piano.

Years ago when I was in school in Chicago I had the luck to live very close to a very good used record store. Hyde Park had a large contingent of university students and faculty which in part explained some of the assortment of interesting items for sale there. I found a very old Remington LP release of Partita No. 6, I believe, by pianist Jorg Demus. I loved the tone he coaxed out of the piano already from hearing his Schubert sonatas, and this recording did not disappoint. He was neither quite romantic in his renditions nor did he have the dash and velocity of a Glenn Gould, but there was something just right about it all. Unfortunately Remington was a US budget label of the early '50s and what they pressed their disks on wasn't vinyl, nor slate; it seemed to be a brittle, cookie-like oil-based substance that meant the records wore out quickly. My copy of the Demus had been well-played and parts of the record didn't skip as much as slide forward a minute or two into the performance in ways that exasperated. When I left Chicago it got left behind but I still remember the recording fondly, slides and all.

The new David Korevaar renditions of all six Partitas doesn't quite have the Demus tone. But it does have everything else going for it. He gives us a carefully meticulous reading with lots of spirit. Very idiomatically pianistically, the performances use a fair amount of ornamentation so that they also sound suitably baroque.

The set is rather marvelous and the music, of course, is some of Bach's very best. The multi-movemented, French inspired dance suites sound better than ever in Korevaar's hands.

Highly recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment