During his temporary disability with a thumb infection two or three years ago, Murray Perahia made a particular study of Bach, and at the Royal Festival Hall on Wednesday he gave over the first half of his recital to Scarlatti, Bach and Handel. Three Sonatas by Scarlatti were immaculate but rather tame, although his rapid fingerwork in the A major Sonata, K212, was exquisite.
To Bach's English Suite in F major he brought polished, not to say glossy pianism, but of a generalised, all-purpose character. Neither Handel's Chaconne in G nor Suite in E, ending with the "Harmonious Blacksmith" variations, had much personality. It was all in the manner of treating museum pieces with kid gloves.
But Perahia was in his element after the interval, with Schumann's Kreisleriana. It's a work he's lived with for many years, but his concentration was complete - every phrase was meant, and all the brilliance fully realised as well as the most tender intimacies. You could see him giving extra special attention to the wide-eyed, little right-hand hops in the final number, and they were gorgeous.
After that, Mendelssohn's Andante and Rondo capriccioso took off like a dream, and to prolong the blissful mood, Perahia added two serene Impromptus in E flat and A flat, from Schubert's first set.Reuse content