Classical CD Reviews

MURRAY PERAHIA AND THE ACADEMY OF ST. MARTIN IN

THE FIELDS

Bach Keyboard Concertos 3, 5, 6, 8 (Sony)

Following up his magnificent recording of the Goldberg Variations, pianist Murray Perahia gives his final installment of Bach's tuneful keyboard concertos.

Conducting from the piano bench, he easily meets Bach's many challenges. It is hard enough to play the many notes with ease; it takes a true artist to create a cogent musical line, subtly alter the dynamics and nuances of repeated passages while maintaining classical poise, and make a modern piano sound almost as light and clear as the smaller instrument Bach employed.

Perahia does it all. His fingers virtually dance over the keys in the zippy allegros, seemingly re-creating the joy and freshness that Bach experienced at the point of creation. When the music grows slower and more profound, he accesses a different level of spirituality, touching deeply with the writing's lyrical beauty. Such are the distinctions of genius. Jason Serinus

Murray Perahia performs a solo recital in Meany Hall at 8 p.m. Sat., April 9.

NOEL COWARD

A Room With a View

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

(Naxos)

No묠Coward was dubbed "The Master" for his abilities as a playwright, lyricist, arranger, director, singer-actor, short-story writer, and attempted novelist. His genius especially shone in his performances of musical comedy. Here, his quintessentially English, intentionally mannered vocalism, at times proffered with a slight curl of the lip, underscores pretense.

Room contains all of Coward's recordings from 1928-1931; Mad Dogs extends through January 1936. The singer is occasionally joined by the inimitable Gertrude Lawrence, for whom he wrote many of his greatest songs. If you ever have a need to feel just a little bit superior, Coward is the man to turn to. Jason Serinus

MAGGIE TEYTE

The Singers: Maggie Teyte

(Decca)

Dubbed l'Exquise by her teacher Jean de Reszke (Caruso's predecessor at the Met), lyric soprano Maggie Teyte (1888-1976) debuted at age 18 in a series of concerts conducted by her lifelong friend, composer Reynaldo Hahn. One of two Englishwomen coached by Debussy for the role of Melisande, Teyte's famed downward portamenti, lyric purity on high, and voice filled with tenderness and sadness were perfect for the "impressionist" repertoire.

This wonderful reissue restores long unavailable recordings from 1932 and 1937, the latter from a live broadcast. Teyte's charm in "Tu N'Es Pas Beau . . . Je T'Adore" from Offenbach's La Perichole proves incomparable, her drop into chest voice on the word "brigand" revelatory. Hahn's "Si Mes Vers Avaient des Ailes," Faur駳 "Apr賠un R궥," and Coward's "I'll Follow My Secret Heart," are equally memorable. Jason Serinus

 
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