Richard Goode

Bach: Partitas Nos. 1, 3 & 6

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Richard Goode is known to be an excellent musical interpreter, and the performance of these Bach partitas is an example of his skill. He balances just the right amount of dynamic shading and freedoms with tempos to make these partitas come alive on the piano, but not sound overly dramatic. Most of the movements are so complex that keeping the musical lines clear and separate provides enough drama. Goode makes it obvious which lines are important and where each is going, even in the third and first partitas, where he uses fewer dynamic colorings. His touch is not too light and not too heavy, giving the sense that his performance would sound well on the harpsichord, although most of the dynamic coloring would be lost. The album starts with the least-known of the partitas, No. 3 in A minor, with its unusual movements (a Sarabande without the usual emphasis on the second beat; a "Burlesca" instead of a minuet; a "Giga" that is really a fugue). He takes a breather with the somewhat technically easier No. 1 in B flat major, then finishes with the tricky -- both technically and musically -- No. 6 in E minor. The sound quality of the recording gives the piano an intimate feel and although the performance is personal, overall it does not sound introverted. The liner notes give an accurate, movement by movement description of Goode's interpretation of Bach's intentions. In short, this is a good (no pun intended) introduction to Bach's partitas for keyboard.

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