J S BACH – PARTITAS BWV 825-830, 2 CDs
Release date: 6 May 2022 on the Delos label
Eleonor Bindman, piano
‘Bach playing of the highest order – Andrew Eales/Pianodao.com
Bach’s six keyboard Partitas have long been regarded as one of the most important milestones of the Baroque keyboard repertoire and remain amongst Bach’s most popular works for pianists and listeners alike, with their wealth of invention, drama, intimacy, wit and emotion.
Praised for her musical sense and appreciation of the majesty in Bach’s music, Latvian-American pianist Eleonor Bindman follows her critically-acclaimed recordings of her own transcriptions of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos for piano-four-hands and the Cello Suites for solo piano, with her latest release of the complete keyboard Partitas.
Bach published the six keyboard Partitas himself in 1731 as his “Opus 1,” clearly indicating that he was satisfied with his work. The keyboard Partitas follow a similar template to his English and French Suites, with a succession of popular Baroque dance movements which also appear in all six Partitas. But unlike the French Suites, each begins with a form of Prelude with a different title for each of the six (for example, Sinfonia, Fantasia, Praeambulum and Toccata), demonstrating Bach’s flexibility and personality. With the inclusion of a diverse selection of dance movements, the Partitas are the most varied and cosmopolitan of Bach’s keyboard suites.
Eleonor Bindman’s experience of working with the complex counterpoint of the Brandenburg Concertos, which she transcribed for piano-four-hands, as well as with the expressive possibilities of a single melodic line of the Cello Suites (her most recent transcription for solo piano), results in some fresh interpretive insights in the Partitas – for example, in the choice of pace and tempi to allow listeners the opportunity to enjoy the emotional connotations of rhythm, harmony, counterpoint and ornamentation, and in the creative treatment of repeats.
‘I find the variety of keys and the character (largely implied by the opening movements of course) of each suite gratifying. I also believe that the Partitas, as an oeuvre, include some of Bach’s most diverse, ingenious and intimate writing for the keyboard (aside from the Well-Tempered Clavier to an extent, of course). They deserve a lot more attention than the Goldbergs, in my humble opinion. Rather than a series of exercises in canons, they are in fact a kaleidoscopic representation of Bach’s genius. The incredible sincerity and communicative warmth of the Allemandes from Suites 4 and 6, the jazzy Courante from No. 6, the comical Aria and Burlesca from Partitas 4 and 3, respectively, the scintillating Praeambulum of Partita 5 and the challenging fugues or Capriccio of Partita 2 as endings – these are unique emanations of Bach’s personality. In the Partitas there isn’t a single even semi-boring page. The aforementioned Allemandes are my favourite keyboard playing experiences. Bach doesn’t even try to disguise them into dance form, save for the titles. Playing the Allemande from Partita No. 4 in D major brings me into a state which I can only – inadequately and clumsily – describe as “participating in a revelation of truth.”’
Produced, engineered and edited by Sam Ward Recorded Dececember 20-21, 2020, and January 9-10, 2021 at President Street Studios, Brooklyn, NY
Instrument: Bösendorfer #48862
About Eleonor Bindman
Praised for her “lively, clear-textured and urbane” Bach performances and her ”impressive clarity of purpose and a full grasp of the music’s spirit,” New York-based pianist, chamber musician, arranger and teacher Eleonor Bindman was born in Riga, Latvia, and began studying the piano at the E. Darzins Special Music School at the age of five. After her family emigrated to the United States, she attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York City while studying piano as a full scholarship student at the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center. She received a BA in music from New York University and completed her MA in piano pedagogy at the State University of New York, New Paltz, under the guidance of Vladimir Feltsman.
Ms. Bindman’s recital appearances have included Carnegie Hall, The 92nd Street Y, Merkin Hall and Alice Tully Hall; concerto appearances have included engagements with the National Music Week Orchestra, the Staten Island Symphony, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the New York Youth Symphony, and the Moscow Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra. Classical Archives declared: “Prepare to be surprised” when encountering Ms. Bindman’s vast range of activity.
In the past few years, she has been focusing on the music of J.S. Bach. Her Brandenburg Duets, a new arrangement of the six Brandenburg Concertos for Piano-four-hands, with pianist Jenny Lin, was declared 7 “breathtaking in its sheer precision and vitality” by Pianist Magazine, while the Cello Suites for Piano, an accurate transcription of Bach’s iconic set, made its debut at #7 on the Billboard® Traditional Classical Charts. Both recordings were best-selling releases for Grand Piano Records in 2018 and 2020. A recording of Ms. Bindman’s arrangement of the Orchestral Suites, also for Piano-four-hands, is forthcoming.
For further press information, review copies and interviews, please contact Frances Wilson firstname.lastname@example.org