Notes and Editorial Reviews
This release confirms Jeremy Denk's growing reputation as a pianist and Bach interpreter of world-class stature. His readings of the A minor, D major, and E minor Partitas abound with intelligence, character, immaculate technical control, and ravishing tonal resources, abetted by the recording's superb production values. Certain movements stand out and linger in the ear long after the music stops.
Denk's thoughtfully differentiated, detached articulation in the A minor's opening Fantasia, for instance, creates a sense of lilt and buoyancy that helps sustain the relaxed tempo, while by contrast the D major Ouverture's introduction is brisker and leaner than the broad and massive treatments that this music often gets. Notice
also how Denk sings out the E minor Gigue by slightly varying each dotted phrase's accentuation and tone color.
My only reservations arise when Denk's expressive devices seem too studied for their own good. For example, he telegraphs each Allemande's harmonic felicities with tiny pauses or ritards, whereas Murray Perahia underlines these moments by way of a more contrapuntally present left hand and careful dynamic scaling. The D major Menuet's changes in voicings on the repeats also broach affectation. Still, these are minor quibbles and should not detract from the impressive totality of Denk's achievement. I hope the remaining Partitas will be forthcoming, along with the Goldberg Variations, which Denk plays superbly in concert.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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