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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Toccata in C minor (c1710) [10.31]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

Sonata No.30 in E Op.109 (1820) [19.00]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)

Variations sérieuses Op.54 (1841) [11.43]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)

Nocturne in D flat Op.27 No.2 [6.14]
Nocturne in B Op.32 No.1 [4.49]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)

Romeo and Juliet Suite Op.75 (excerpts) (1937) [18.02]
Navah Perlman (piano)
Rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk in November 1999 DDD
EMI DEBUT SERIES 7243 5 74019 2 0 [70.45]


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Normally record companies are very reluctant to present a mix of composers on a disc, but this EMI Debut series often does just that, and the result is virtually a public recital in the privacy of your own home. This is a fine disc by a promising talent, and no prizes for guessing Miss Perlman’s background. The clarity of her articulation is extremely impressive from the very opening, almost harpsichord sound she produces in Bach’s C minor Toccata, while the fugal strands which conclude the piece (Track 1 : 3’:23") draw the ear naturally in a lucidly cohesive account. The toughest work lies next in this chronologically compiled recital, Beethoven’s Op.109, and the reference to it merely by its opus number puts it in the same league as the late sonatas and string quartets, even though the composer referred to it rather nonchalantly as a ‘new little piece’ in one of his Conversation Books. Navah Perlman’s performance takes no hostages, meets its technical demands head on (Track 3: 01’.18"), especially in the extended variation form of the finale, and plumbs the music’s emotional depths (Track 5 : 01.10") with the freshness of her youthful years. Her love for and commitment to these works motivates her playing, particularly as she sets off down the road of Romantics, starting with Mendelssohn and concluding with the love-soaked Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev, via two exquisitely played Chopin nocturnes.

As Navah Perlman writes, ‘This programme was developed very simply. These are pieces that I love’, and it shows too.

Christopher Fifield

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