Waiting to listen to the twenty-one tracks in the Delos recording of the Johann Sebastian Bach six partitas for keyboard it came to mind what a great legacy of recordings of this musical edifice there are and what a challenge it is for any but the most gifted of keyboard artists to bring a fresh interpretation to these works.

After listening to the pianist Eleonor Bindman dig deep into each of these technical minefields for not just accuracy but, more significantly, for period appropriate accuracy, sobriety, elegance of execution, unimpeachable choice of ornamentation, and consistent musicality, all the while balancing the elusive art of setting aside one’s ego while imprinting one’s interpretation on the music as conceived by Johann Sebastian Bach, this listener concluded that this performance holds its own with the best of the best  in his memory.

Eleonor Bindman’s accurate and yet carefree execution brings out all the intricacies of the dance-like courantes, allemandes, gigues, sarabands, and passepieds, tempting the listener to put aside critical propriety and just get up and dance to this now joyful, now melancholy, now stately, now down-to-earth celebration of life in melody and rhythm.  

There is emotion, there is energy, and there is the proverbial balance of warm heart and cool brain in Ms. Bindman’ protean playing: a rare combination that separates the merely competent from the truly great.

Rafael de Acha © 2022

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