Partitas (BWV 825-830)
B flat, BWV 825
A minor, BWV 827
E minor, BWV 830
Piotr Anderszewski (piano)
Recorded at Studio de la Fondation Tibor Varga, Sion between 23-25 February 2001
CD No: VIRGIN CLASSICS 5 45526 2 Duration: Reviewed: December 2002
Anderszewski Illuminates Bach Partitas
Reviewed by Ying Chang
This is a revealing CD either as a guide to these three Partitas and as an example of modern fashion in playing Bachs keyboard music.
Piotr Anderszewski is Polish-Hungarian and a versatile pianist. He displays a preference for highly structured works, whether Beethovens Diabelli Variations [VIRGIN 5 45468 2] or music by Bach or Webern. For this Bach recording, I was expecting both polish and intellect. I was pleased also to find sensitivity to colour and lyricism. Indeed I am reminded of Dinu Lipattis famous recording of the B flat Partita in Anderszewskis combination of suppleness and virtuosity. It is ironic that current Bach style regarding his being played on a piano, and as also shown by recent recordings of Murray Perahia, represents years of struggle through the blandness of the authenticity movement, and yet this was already prevalent in the forties and fifties.
Anderszewskis Bach is light, deft and, without any doubt, witty listen to the Allemande of the E minor Partita 6 or the Courante from the A minor. There are also times of quiet emotion the Sarabande of the E minor for example. This is Bach whose intellectual certainty and consequent emotional tranquillity are very evident. It goes without saying that Anderszewskis technique is always in command of the music.
If I have one criticism though, it is that Anderszewskis intellectuality at times make the simpler movements forbidding like a clever but difficult friend; sometimes the overall emotional temperature is cooler than it need be. In the B flat minor Partita, for example, the fast tempi for the Gigue, Allemande and Courante suit the former which emerges as highly virtuosic, almost etude-like much better than the latter two. These are, to coin a phrase, renditions of cool romanticism that are both interesting and thought-provoking.
The recording is excellent and natural and ideally suited to the repertoire. A CD, then, that is eminently recommendable.