Murray Perahia - The First 40 Years

67 CDs of his Sony Classical discography - original jacket facsimiles

5 DVD-set; DVDs packed separately

3 performances for the first time on DVD

2 BBC TV-programs previously unreleased

Three "first time on CD" releases

analogue and early digital recordings re-mastered

180-page book with new liner notes, rare photographs and complete discography

very limited edition

SONY CLASSICS 88691912562 [67cds + 5 DVDs: 55:27:00]
It’s been a good year for big classical box sets. Whether you’re a fan of Arthur Rubinstein or Glenn Gould, whether you’re interested in the old Mercury Living Presence heritage or Karajan’s EMI activities in the 1960s, on Toscanini’s complete RCA recordings, you’ll find something to fill your shelves and your ears.
I’ve bought three such sets recently: the 90-CD Yo-Yo Ma: 30 years Outside the Box set; the 42-disc Glenn Gould Complete Bach Collection, and, now, the Murray Perahia, The First 40 Years set. Interestingly, all three are from Sony – a company making a big effort lately to re-release back catalogue in big boxes at bargain prices. The Yo-Yo Ma was released in 2009, but the Gould and the Perahia are new; in fact, they’re out in Europe at the time of writing (October 2012), but not yet in the USA.
Each of these boxes is produced in a similar manner. The CDs are in slim wallet sleeves, with original artwork on them, and either the original backs from LPs in miniature or the flip side, or, for those discs originally released on CD, a track-list that you can actually read. The miniature LP notes require a microscope to read. They’re snugly fitted inside the box, and each of these sets has a hardcover book. The Murray Perahia book is the largest of all, in part because the 5 DVDs in the set are in an actual DVD-sized digipak; in the Glenn Gould set, the 6 DVDs are in the same kind of sleeves as the CDs.
In all of these cases, the books are attractive and informative. They contain essays, photos and information about the discs. The Perahia book, being the largest, has the most text about the discs, reproducing the original liner notes from each release.
Murray Perahia’s repertoire is fairly standard. There’s a lot of Mozart (all the piano concertos), Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Beethoven and Bach. There’s a bit of Bartók, Brahms and Mendelssohn, a disc of Handel and Scarlatti, but that’s about it. Perahia was never an adventurous musician in his recordings. He doesn’t stray from well-worn paths. I’m mostly familiar with his work in the Mozart piano concertos, which are wonderful, but for me the moment of discovery came when he released a recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in 2000. This followed a period when he had had a serious problem with one of his hands, which caused him to stop playing for several years. During this time, he studied Bach closely, and even played the harpsichord - which does not require as much hand strength. His Goldbergs, played on piano, have a unique sound, no doubt influenced by that period of harpsichord playing. After this he recorded a number of other works by Bach – notably the English Suites and Partitas – all for the first time.
There’s a lot of music in this set, all of it familiar, but I’m looking forward to discovering this pianist whose approach is never dull and often interesting. One nice bonus is the 5 DVDs included, one of which features Perahia accompanying Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in Winterreise, from 1990.
It’s true that these big boxed sets can be overwhelming, and they take a long time to listen to but at about $2-3 per disc, they are rich with discoveries, and when the performer is of this quality, there is rarely a dull disc. I’ve been delighted with the Yo-Yo Ma set. While many of his recordings are far from being the best versions of their works, his repertoire is broad, and his playing is always skilled and interesting. As for Glenn Gould, I have known all of his Bach recordings for a long time, and this new set offers a number of un-released recordings, along with several DVDs. I’m looking forward to boxed sets of the recordings of two of my favourite performers: pianist Alfred Brendel, who retired from the stage in 2008, and the late Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who died earlier this year (2012).
While I have many recordings by each of them, these comprehensive sets allow one to fill in the gaps and discover the less well-known recordings that one may have missed.
  Kirk McElhearn
Rich with discoveries … rarely a dull disc.

PERAHIA, MURRAY The First 40 Years. Sony 67cds and 5 DVD very limited edition
Contents List
Bach, J S:
English Suites Nos. 1-6, BWV806-811
Goldberg Variations, BWV988
Keyboard Concertos Nos. 1-7 BWV1052-1058
Academy of St Martin of the Fields
Concerto for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord in A minor, BWV1044
Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV1050
Italian Concerto, BWV971
Partitas Nos. 1-6, BWV825-830
Piano Sonata, BB 88, Sz. 80
Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 74, Op. 20
Piano Suite, BB 70, Sz. 62, Op. 14
Out of Doors, Sz. 81, BB89
Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, BB 115, Sz. 110
Sir Georg Solti (piano), Evelyn Glennie, David Corkhill (percussion)
Piano Sonata No. 4 in E flat major, Op. 7
Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22
Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10 No. 3
Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 'Appassionata'
Quintet in E flat major for piano and winds, Op.16
Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5 (complete)
Concertgebouw Orchestra/Bernard Haitink
Variations (32) on an Original Theme in C minor, WoO 80
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2 No. 1
Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 2 No. 2
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2 No. 3
String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major, Op. 127
trans. for string orchestra Murray Perahia
Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101
Piano Sonata No. 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 'March Funebre'
Piano Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14 No. 1
Piano Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 14 No. 2
Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale'
Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25
Members of the Amadeus Quartet
Variations on a theme by Haydn for two pianos, Op. 56b 'St Anthony Variations'
Sir Georg Solti (piano)
Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5
Rhapsody in E flat major, Op. 119 No. 4
Capriccio in B minor, Op. 76 No. 2
Intermezzo in E flat minor, Op. 118 No. 6
Rhapsody in B minor, Op. 79 No. 1
Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24
Rhapsodies (2), Op. 79
Klavierstücke (6), Op. 118
Klavierstücke (4), Op. 119
Eight Pieces for clarinet, viola and piano, Op. 83
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35 'Marche funčbre'
Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58
24 Preludes, Op. 28
Prelude Op. 45 in C sharp minor (No. 25)
Prelude Op. posth. in A flat major (No. 26)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11
New York Philharmonic/Zubin Mehta
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Zubin Mehta
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Zubin Mehta
Ballades Nos. 1-4
12 Études, Op. 10
12 Études, Op. 25
Franck, C:
Prélude, Choral et Fugue, M21
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Sir Colin Davis
Keyboard Suite, HWV 430 in E major 'The Harmonious Blacksmith'
Keyboard Suite, HWV 435 (Chaconne) in G major
Keyboard Suite, HWV 428 in D minor
Keyboard Suite, HWV 427 in F major
Hungarian Rhapsody, S244 No. 12 in C sharp minor
Consolation, S. 172 No. 3 in D flat major
Mephisto Waltz No. 1
Sonetto 104 del Petrarca (Années de pčlerinage II, S. 161 No. 5)
Two Concert Studies, S145/R6: Gnomenreigen; Waldesrauschen
Au bord d'une source (Années de pčlerinage I, S. 160 No. 4)
Rhapsodie espagnole, S254
Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25
Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40
Piano Sonata in E major, Op. 6
Prelude and Fugue for piano in E minor, Op. 35 No. 1
Variations sérieuses in D minor Op. 54
Rondo capriccioso in E major, Op. 14
Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K491
Piano Concerto No. 14 in E flat major, K449
Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K467 'Elvira Madigan'
Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major, K271 "Jeunehomme"
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466
Piano Concerto No. 11 in F major, K413
Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K595
Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K414
Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major, K482
Piano Concerto No. 8 in C major, K246 "Lützow"
Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K453
Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major, K456
Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K503
Piano Concerto No. 5 in D major, K175
Piano Concerto No. 15 in B flat major, K450
Piano Concerto No. 16 in D major, K451
Three Piano Concertos, K107
Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K537 'Coronation'
Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in D major, K382
Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in A major, K386
Piano Concerto No. 19 in F major, K459
Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K488
Piano Concerto No. 6 in B flat major, K238
Piano Concerto No. 13 in C major, K415
Piano Concerto No. 1 in F major, K37
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, K39
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D major, K40
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, K41
Piano Concerto No. 19 in F major, K459
Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K488
Quintet for Piano and Winds in E flat, K452
Sonata for 2 pianos in D major, K448
Radu Lupu (piano)
Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra No. 10 in E flat, K365
Radu Lupu (piano)
Concerto for Three Pianos and Orchestra/K242
arr. for two pianos by the composer
Radu Lupu (piano)
Fantasia in F minor for a mechanical organ, K608
Radu Lupu (piano)
Andante and Variations in G for Piano Duet, K501
Radu Lupu (piano)
Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K310
Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K331 'Alla Turca'
Piano Sonata No. 15 in F major, K533/494
Clarinet Trio in E flat major, K498 "Kegelstatt-Trio"
Étude-Tableau, Op. 33 No. 2 in C major
Scarlatti, D:
Keyboard Sonata K491 in D major
Keyboard Sonata K27 in B minor
Keyboard Sonata K247 in C sharp minor
Keyboard Sonata K29 in D major
Keyboard Sonata K537 in A major
Schröter, J S:
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major
4 Impromptus, D899
4 Impromptus, D935
Fantasie in F minor for piano duet, D940
Radu Lupu (piano)
Fantasie in C major, D760 'Wanderer'
Fantasie in C major, D605a 'Grazer'
Piano Sonata No. 20 in A major, D959
Winterreise D911
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Piano Sonata No. 19 in C minor, D958
Piano Sonata No. 20 in A major, D959
Piano Sonata No. 21 in B flat major, D960
Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6
Fantasiestücke, Op. 12
Études symphoniques, Op. 13
Papillons, Op. 2
Lieder (5), Op. 40
Sir Peter Pears (tenor)
Gedichte (6) und Requiem, Op. 90
Sir Peter Pears (tenor)
Liederkreis, Op. 39
Sir Peter Pears (tenor)
Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Sir Colin Davis
Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 11
Kreisleriana, Op. 16
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
Berliner Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado
Introduction and Allegro appassionato in G major, Op. 92
Berliner Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado
Introduction and Allegro Op. 134
Berliner Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado
Märchenerzählungen (4) for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, Op. 132
Harold Wright (clarinet), Boris Kroyt (viola)
Piano Sonata No. 1 'Fantasy Sonata'