Bach: Partitas Nos 1-6, BWV825-830

Reviewed on Fri 31 Jul, 2015

In essence, Igor Levit's self-effacing, fresh approach to these many-faceted suites allows the music to speak for itself. He seems not in the least intimidated by the formidable pianistic legacy of others ... Levit is certainly one to watch.

Igor Levit's account of this music is completely persuasive; an impressive achievement by this comparatively young pianist. In essence, his self-effacing, fresh approach to these many-faceted suites (published in 1731 with a dedication to the infant Crown Prince of Anhalt-Cöthen) allows the music to speak for itself. He seems not in the least intimidated by the formidable pianistic legacy of others (including impressive recent accounts by Perahia and Schiff) and sometimes really does have something new to say (the explosive rolled chords and restless energy of the Scherzo from the Third Partita reveal an almost Schumannesque dimension to this music). If you can't decide whether you prefer your Bach on harpsichord or piano, this release may well sway you towards the latter choice. Recorded sound is excellent, and Levit is certainly one to watch; I wonder how long it will be before he records the Goldberg Variations?
–Chris Achenbach