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Navah Perlman debut/EMI C

Jed Distler

Artistic Quality:

Sound Quality:

Navah Perlman’s debut recital disc reveals the considerable degree to which the 28-year-old pianist has matured in the past decade. Her Bach C minor Toccata, if not so daring and assertive as Argerich plays it, is nimbly articulated and judiciously paced, notably in the long fugue. Perlman paints Op. 109’s fantasia-like first movement with broad, heartfelt brush strokes, although some of her chord playing could be better synchronized between the hands. While the third movement variations are wanting in character and harmonic inflection, the pianist binds them through careful tempo relationships. I enjoyed Perlman’s tight-knit, affectionately phrased Mendelssohn Variations Sérieuses, but wished that her scampering double notes and cascading passages were a shade more effortless and supple.

The two Chopin Nocturnes are inflected with local color and rubato, yet Perlman’s soft-centered rhythm lacks the profile, specificity, and transitional assurance that distinguish Rubinstein, Arrau, and Moravec in these pieces. In the four Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet excerpts, Perlman prettifies the music’s grist, inner fire, and balletic momentum. Reservations notwithstanding, Navah Perlman’s talent is unquestionable, and her musicianship serious. Let’s hope EMI will give her less roomy and reverberant engineering next time.

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Bach, Argerich (DG), Beethoven, Goode (Nonesuch), Mendelssohn, Perahia (Sony)

J.S. BACH - Toccata in C minor BWV 911
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN - Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major Op. 109
FELIX MENDELSSOHN - Variations Sérieuses
SERGEI PROKOFIEV - Romeo & Juliet Suite (excerpts)

    Soloists: Navah Perlman (piano)

  • Record Label: EMI - 74019-2
  • Medium: CD

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