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Partitas BWV 825-830
Played by Zhu Xiao-Mei

K-1

J.S. Bach: 6 Partitas

Partitas BWV 825-830 [16:55, 20:19, 15:46, 27:03, 17:29, 27:16]

Zhu Xiao-Mei (Piano)

Mandala

Sep 1999

2-CD / TT: 124:48

Recorded at Saint-Pierre de la Villette.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Partitas by Zhu

Michael Grover wrote (March 5, 2002):
A while back, Brad wrote a glowing review of the Goldberg Variations as performed by Zhu Xiao-Mei on the piano. Has anyone heard her set of the 6 partitas?

What other sets of the partitas would be your first recommendation, on any instrument? I know Scott Ross on harpsichord has also been recommended.

Thanks,

Kirk McElhearn wrote (March 6, 2002):
Michael Grover wrote:
< What other sets of the partitas would be your first recommendation, on any instrument? I know Scott Ross on harpsichord has also been recommended. >
Edward Parmentier, on harpsichord, hands down. With a special mention for Richard Troeger's clavichord recording. And Wolfgang Rübsam on piano.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (March 6, 2002):
< What other sets of the partitas would be your first recommendation, on any instrument? I know Scott Ross on harpsichord has also been recommended. >
Confirmed, Scott Ross.

Donald Satz wrote (March 7, 2002):
[To Kirk McElhearn] I also think very highly of Rübsam's piano versions. My strongest affection is for Gould's performances.

Grzegorz Lodyga wrote (March 7, 2002):
[To Michael Grover] I have Rosalyn Tureck and Glenn Gould. Both are excellent and both on piano.
You can read Don Satz's reviews on: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NonVocal/IndexNonVocal2.htm
It helps, I supose.

 

Zhu Xiao-Mei Partitas on piano

Jim Morrison wrote (August 7, 2002):
Ah yes, what I good day off it's been.

Thanks for the help with the Bouman question. Turns out he's had a career! Who know?

Also, just got in the monthly shipment from Berkshire and boy oh boy what a treasure was in it: Zhu Xiao-Mei's 2000 release of the Bach Partitas on piano, Mandala label, distributed by Harmonia Mundi. I don't know if it's still available elsewhere, but if you're a fan of these works, or simply a fan of first-rate piano music, I suggest you run over to the Berkshire site and try to order a set. I haven't heard her Goldberg's, though I know Brad raved about them a while back, but this recording reminds me a bit of Gould's live Goldbergs, such intensity, such concentration, and yet such life, variety and flow. Music-making with a 'fantastical' quality, a bit like Pletnev's Scarlatti and CPE Bach, but with more warmth and, let's face it, better music to work with.

I am a major Gould fan, and I also like Hewitt and Tureck's Partitas, but I can already see that this set is going to give those three players a serious run for the money.

Not to be missed! in other words.

Also picked an interesting three disc set called Early Music of the Netherlands. Liner notes are in English, but the texts of the Latin songs are not translated into English, but into Dutch! Go figure. There are no English translations of the songs.

Verlet's WTC and Goldbergs are also over at Berkshire just waiting for someone to grab them.

William D. Kasimer wrote (August 7, 2002):
< Also, just got in the monthly shipment from Berkshire and boy oh boy what a treasure was in it: Zhu Xiao-Mei's 2000 release of the Bach Partitas on piano, Mandala label, distributed by Harmonia Mundi. I don't know if it's still available elsewhere, but if you're a fan of these works, or simply a fan of first-rate piano music, I suggest you run over to the Berkshire site and try to order a set. >
Thanks. I already have Martins and Schepkin, but I've already put this one in my shopping cart, which is very, very full...

< Verlet's WTC and Goldbergs are also over at Berkshire just waiting for someone to grab them. >
Been there, done that :-).

Hantai's Goldbergs are there, too, on Opus 111 - HIGHLY recommended, perhaps my favorite harpsichord version.

Jim Morrison wrote (August 7, 2002):
[To William D. Kasimer] I haven't heard the Martins or the Schepkin, so I can't comment. Rubsam, however, is another piano version that I enoy, when I'm in the mood to hear Rubsam. ;-)

Zhu Xiao-Mei has a website that looks like it hasn't been updated in years at: http://membres.lycos.fr/chevrard/us.htm

Berkshire still has her set for sell, which can also be found at Deadalus at: http://www.daedalus-books.com/shoppingcart/item.cfm?ID=26346&DT=music&Src=spec

One thing I'd like to clarify is that when I compared her to Pletnev I should have added that she sounds less affected or mannered and willful than he does sometimes. There's such easy flow to her work, such ease. Seriously. Fantastically rich, yet poised work.

Here's Brad review of her goldbergs: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings/message/2021

'Natural and organic' Brad stresses in that review. I agree.

By the way, love those Hantai Goldbergs. One of my favorites. Another one not to be missed.

Donald Satz wrote (August 7, 2002):
[To Jim Morrison] Remembering back quite a few months, her Partitas received more favorable reviews than her Goldberg Variations. I'll likely acquire her Partitas at some point.

Jim Morrison wrote (August 8, 2002):
[To Donald Satz] I've been listening to her Partitas some more and they really are good. The Gould comparrison perhaps was overstated. Her tone is so much, oh, 'warmer' and more traditional 'beautiful' than his. Also, she's taking much more repeats, though not as many as Tureck or Rubsam.

One odd thing about her recording is the order in which they are presented. Disc one is the three partitas in a major key, but in the order 4, 1, 5.

Disc two is the minor partitas in the order 2, 3, 6.

Wonder why she put 4 as the the first partita? Because of the French Ouverture prelude? I haven't checked the timings of each partita, but each disc is a little over 60 minutes long, so I don't imagine it was a space problem. Maybe she wanted to begin the set with an ouverture. But such a position would be countered by the make-up of the Goldberg variations, which as we know, has a French Ouverture right in the middle of the thing, breaking it apart in two sections, which I find a kind of correlation in the Ouverture of the Fourth Partita, you know, the second half of both the Goldbergs and the Partitas starting with an ouverture.

Jim
(who at this moment, would say her album sounds more like a mix of Hewitt and Pletnev than anything else; I should pull out my Perahia Bach discs and compare them)

Jim Morrison wrote (August 9, 2002):
One last word on this set.

Here's a link to a very positive review that resonates with what I'm hearing in the music: http://classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=2319

 

Partitas BWV 825-830: Details
Recordings:
1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019
Comparative Review:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
Reviews of Individual Recordings:
Partitas - P. Anderszewski [McElhearn] | Partitas - P. Anderszewski [Satz] | Partitas - L. Corolan & I. Kipnis | Partitas - F. Kempf | Partitas - E. Feller 1 | Partitas - E. Parmentier | Partitas - A. Rangell | GV & Partitas - K. Richter | Partitas - B. Roberts | Partitas - S. Ross | Partitas - C. Rousset | Partitas - S. Sager | Partitas - C. Sheppard [Morrison] | Partitas - C. Sheppard [Satz] | Partitas - J.L. Steuerman | Partitas - M. Suzuki [McElhearn] | Partitas - M. Suzuki [Henderson] | Partitas - C. Tiberghien | Partitas - R. Troeger | Partitas - B. Verlet | Partitas - K. Weiss | Rübsam - Part 2 | Rübsam - Part 3
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Part 4 | MD: Partita No. 1 in B flat major BWV 825
Discussions of Individual Recordings:
Partitas - P. Anderszewski | Partitas - V. Dondysh | Partitas - played R. Goode
|
Partitas - R. Kirkpatrick | Partitas - A. Rangell | Partitas - S. Ross | Partitas - A. Schiff | Partitas - M. Suzuki | Partitas - B. Verlet | Partitas - K. Weiss | Partitas - R. Woolley | Partitas - Z. Xiao-Mei

Zhu Xiao-Mei: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Zhu plays the Goldbergs
Discussions of Instrumental Recordings:
Partitas BWV 825-830 - played by Zhu Xiao-Mei

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Last update: July 12, 2010 21:06:33