Magazine article Musical Opinion

Murray Perahia Awarded Bach Prize 2014

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Murray Perahia Awarded Bach Prize 2014

Article excerpt

Uplifting performances of two Bach piano concertos by the American pianist Murray Perahia with the Academy Cham ber Orchestra at the Royal Academy of Music's Duke's hall formed the high-points of an award ceremony for the 7th RAM/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize on November 28. There was a sense of eager expectation as HRH the Duchess of Gloucester, RAM Patron, bestowed the award on Perahia. As RAM Principal Sir Jonathan Freeman-Attwood reminded us the award has been received by world famous Bach specialists including Christoph Wolff, Sir John Elliot Gardiner, Andras Schiff, Peter Schreier, John Butt, and the Thomanerchor. He pointed to Murray Perahia's Bach interpretations, such as the Goldberg Variations, Partitas and English Suites, forming part of an immense 73 CD set Sony set to mark 'the first forty years'. Freeman-Attwood noted his appreciation of Sir Ralph Kohn, whose Kohn Foundation continues to support the annual Bach Cantata series now in its 6th year, with concerts projected throughout 2015. Sir Ralph spoke eloquently of Perahia's achievements since his success at the 1972 Leeds Competition and Murray Perahia responded poignantly with gratitude, and praise for the lively interest of the RAM students he was working with: he stressed that performing Bach was more than just music, it was about humanity, as 'every note came from the heart to the heart.'

Indeed this sentiment emerged in the two concertos that ensued. Here Perahia's beautiful piano tone, full and rich, never forced, and with a super pianissimo which glowed incandescently, recalled the great pianists of yore, a Romantic soundworld yet illumin ating Bach's structures, fuelled by a deep awareness of harmony and structure. Every musical detail was pronounced and meaningful. In the Concerto in D BWV, a self-reworking of Bach's Volin Concerto in E, the fast outer movements bubbled and frothed with energy and effervescence. …

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