Bach: Piano Concertos BWV1056, 1055, 1052
Maria João Pires (piano)
Michel Corboz / Gulbenkian Orchestra (Erato)
(scroll down for English review)
Erato has just released a mega box-set of just the Early Music portion of conductor Michel Corboz’s recorded legacy that belongs to the Erato or Warner back catalogue. I came to this disc of Bach keyboard/piano concertos for Corboz but ultimately it was Pires that amazed me.
First of all I took credit of putting two smaller concertos in front of the BWV1052, whose length is the sum of those two. Pires’ tone production confirmed my new-found belief that Glenn Gould had the wrong notion of how a harpsichord sounds, and therefore had been disfiguring not just Bach, but also the modern piano by his “clavi-piano” approach. Pires avoided the pitfall of playing in super-staccato which was the common flaw of pianist seeking to emulate the harpsichord without proper study. Nor did Pires take advantage of the sustaining pedal to create a super-legato out on Bach’s phrases. Technique aside, it’s simply beautiful, reposeful, and life-affirming.