Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny; Alice in Wonderland; Jeremy Denk/ Academy of St Martin in the Fields – review

Jeremy Denk
The Guardian

The American pianist Jeremy Denk made a mark internationally with his recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in 2013, played on a modern Steinway. He has also made a name for himself as a stimulating writer on music, in the New Yorker and elsewhere. Last Monday he made his debut with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, performing two Bach keyboard concertos, originally written respectively for oboe and oboe d’amore. In the E major the writing is dense, florid, heavily ornamented, while the A major is airy and transparent. Each has a melancholy, minor-key slow movement. Denk and the Academy players, with sparkling virtuosity, held all in precipitous balance. When it comes to letting the music breathe, Bach is the master – with scissors and pace.

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