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Album: Murray Perahia, Brahms: Handel Variations, Rhapsodies, Piano Pieces (Sony Classical)

His latest release finds this premier pianist returning to Brahms for the first time in 20 years – not that great a distance from his long-standing fascination with Bach, as Brahms' "Handel Variations" effects an ingenious bridge between the Baroque and Romantic eras and there are clear formal echoes of Bach's "Goldberg Variations" in its employment of paired groupings.

Perahia deals seamlessly with the many subtle shifts of tempo, cementing the parts into a unified piece of light-spirited musicality that makes for a piquant contrast with the ten autumnal "Piano Pieces" from Brahms' late period, bridged here by the flightier "Two Rhapsodies".

DOWNLOAD THIS Handel Variations; Six Piano Pieces