Anderszewski Illuminates Bach Partitas

0 of 5 stars

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

Reviewed by: Ying Chang

Reviewed: December 2002
5 45526 2

This is a revealing CD either as a guide to these three Partitas and as an example of modern fashion in playing Bach’s keyboard music.

Piotr Anderszewski is Polish-Hungarian and a versatile pianist. He displays a preference for ’highly structured’ works, whether Beethoven’s 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 Lipatti’s famous recording of the B flat Partita in Anderszewski’s 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.

Anderszewski’s 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 Anderszewski’s technique is always in command of the music.

If I have one criticism though, it is that Anderszewski’s 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.

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