Eleonor Bindman in black and white on stairs

Reviews

From: Fanfare Magazine Reviews Bach: Partitas

“If I had to describe these performances in a single word, that word would be “affectionate.” Bindman clearly loves this music, and she plays it caressingly, as a lover would. … I’d like to point to the aforementioned Sarabande from Partita No. 3, which, under Bindman’s fingers, becomes an absolutely hypnotizing and eloquently grave meditation on the expressive power of 16th-note triplets. This is why we listen to new recordings of music we love—to shine a light on it of which we had not previously been aware.… This release excited my admiration from the moment I started playing it, and that attention has not waned over the course of more than a week. This could be on my Want List at the end of the year.”

Raymond Tuttle
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From: Interlude

“Listening to the recording, I was immediately impressed by Bindman’s relaxed tempos, and the unhurried pace of her interpretation… In Bindman’s recording, ornamentations become what they should be, an emotional emphasis of the moment. And that is certainly the case in her creative treatment of repeats, when the first sounding is simplified while the repeat presents the richly embellished original.”

Hermione Lai
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From: Piano Dao

Bindman’s approach, very sensibly, is to let this amazing music speak for itself. Opting for unhurried tempi, she approaches the dance movements with poise, her playing throughout the cycle an object lesson in perfectly balanced voicing and articulation. …In my review of her last Bach recording I hailed Bindman as delivering, ‘Bach playing of the highest order.’ With these model interpretations she does so again here… these intimately recorded and musically convincing performances strike just the right balance between familiarity and revelation. A superb release.”

Andrew Eales
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From: Atlanta Audio Club

Eleonor Bindman continues to impress with every new display of her keyboard artistry. … I became aware of her prowess as pianist and arranger in her earlier recordings of Tchaikovsky’s Seasons plus the Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin (MSR, 2005) and The Brandenburg Duets with fellow pianist Jenny Lin (Grand Piano, 2018). Now, her complete survey of the Bach Partitas, BWV 825-830, proves the clincher: [she] can do anything! … Bach’s keyboard fingerings, difficult to master on the modern piano, hold no mystery for Bindman. It is a measure of this artist’s combined scholarship and keyboard prowess that we can’t tell where the composer leaves off and the performing artist takes over. Really, this is as fine a survey of the Partitas as I’ve ever been privileged to hear. I am pleased to recommend it.”

Phil Muse
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From: The Arts Desk

If you didn’t know the cello originals, you’d happily accept these as keyboard suites. … spectacular in Bindman’s hands… Fascinating, and fun; Bindman’s scholarly but readable notes seal the deal, and the recording is excellent.

Graham Rickson
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From: American Record Guide

Bindman takes [Bach] quite literally, transcribing in the register he wrote in, mostly, and clearly with enjoyment. Her tempos are sometimes faster than a cellist’s fingers might find practical, but her musical sense is excellent. She observes most of the written repeats.

David W Moore
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From: Whole Note

Bindman maintains the majesty of Bach’s music, via both her transcription and her convincing command of the keyboard. Whether you’re a purist or a Bach devotee, this satisfying 2-CD set is worthy of a thoughtful listen.

Sharna Searle
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From: David Denton

…an ideal way for amateur pianists to explore the music in domestic surroundings. These Cello Suite transcriptions are completely different, Bindman adding sparingly to the texture of the melodic-line, a very conscious decision, having found previous arrangements only convincing her that the Suites didn’t need any ‘improvement’. … Her performances are nicely shaped, and without affectation, tempos always well chosen… The New York engineers offer an ideal clarity, and Bindman’s programme notes are highly informative. 

David Denton
From: Pianodao

Quite simply (and irrespective of the particular novelty factor here) this is Bach playing of the highest order. … Listening to Bindman’s recording, I was immediately struck by the mellifluous beauty and sensitivity of her renditions of these iconic cello works; that she has transcribed them so well and plays them with such assurance, grace and finesse makes this 2CD set an easy choice for my Recording of the Month.

Andrew Eales
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From: Classical Archive

“Prepare to be surprised when you listen to the new 2-CD release of Eleonor Bindman playing her piano arrangements of Bach’s Cello Suites. Ms. Bindman’s arrangements faithfully include the notes you will find in the original Bach, but have become works that are new, unique, and completely satisfying on their own terms.”

Barry Lenson
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From: Classics Today

“Her skillfully wrought arrangements… [treat] the solo cello lines straight, and… you get Bach’s text served up with sensitivity and taste… Bindman’s well-considered tempos address the music’s dance origins. …her Preludes and Sarabandes sing out well”

Jed Distler
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From: Cross-Eyed Pianist Bach Cello Suites

The Six Solo Cello Suites are some of the most celebrated and much-loved works in the classical repertoire, and they continue to fascinate and inspire performers and audiences alike. In this brand new transcription for solo piano, Eleonor Bindman pays tribute to this music’s enduring allure. … The transcription offers scope for some adventurous interpretation, particularly in the wonderfully playful pairs of Minuets, Bourrées and Gavottes. … Like the works included in her ‘Stepping Stones to Bach’, Eleonor has provided pianists with yet more repertoire to explore, and her elegantly, meticulous transcriptions shine a new light on this wonderful music while also remaining true to the original.

Frances Wilson
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From: A Piano Teacher Writes

Given her experience in both playing and transcribing Bach, these [Stepping Stones to Bach] arrangements are excellent, retaining a clear sense of the original while offering early to intermediate pianists the opportunity to play interesting and imaginative stand-alone pieces.”

Frances Wilson
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From: Piano News

“Eleonor Bindman has done a wonderful job for many musicians with her “Brandenburg Duets” project: a transcription of Bach’s Concertos Bach for 4 hands… The result is playfully as fresh and new as authentic and convincing. Balanced in sound, perfectly attuned to each other, the version reveals new sides to these works, and the pianists equally do justice to the solos as well as the tutti with four hands, so that it would be a real pleasure for Bach. The hope is to see the transcription published by 2020 in musical form – it would be a stroke of luck for the four-hand repertoire and its lovers. A wonderful recording.”

From: Kulturnews

“Do you really need a new edition of more than 1000 original compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach? Certainly – but only if it is as brilliant as Eleonor Bindman’s new transcription for four-hand piano of the famous “Brandenburg Concertos”. The Latvian-American pianist has succeeded in writing a version that focuses on the polyphony of the six concertos. The result is the “Brandenburg Duets”, which Bindman recorded together with pianist Jenny Lin. The recordings are as successful as the arrangements themselves. The two pianists are remarkably precise, literally melting together, yet pleasantly relaxed and with unmistakable joy in playing. The original character of the compositions remains, while at the same time they acquire new facets through the sound of the modern piano.”

Sal
From: IAWM Journal

“Bindman’s transcription of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos is a significant accomplishment. It reflects Bach’s writing more than Reger’s romanticized arrangement by preserving the interaction between the varied soloists of the original pieces and by reserving the force of the piano’s bass for interpretive impact. Bindman also achieves her goal of making both piano parts equally engaging to play. Debuting The Brandenburg Duets through this exceptional recording, rather than through a published score, not only exhibits the insightfulness of Bindman’s decisions in preparing the arrangement, but also serves as an excellent vehicle to promote this much-needed contemporary transcription.”

Krystal J. F. Grant
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From: American Record Guide

“Only pianists of the highest caliber could deliver these performances. Nothing I heard in these arrangements seemed out of place, and the phrasing and dynamic shaping of the lines were exceptional.… complete and very musical. It will give you a fresh look at some of Bach’s greatest works in piano arrangements that work quite well.”

James Harrington
From: Simone Dinnerstein

“I really enjoyed listening…the transcriptions are marvelous.”

Simone Dinnerstein
From: The Classical Post

“a recording…that will stand the test of time. … Through every key stroke, Bindman and Lin display a seamless and harmonious partnership and pour all their passion, vitality, and joy into each of the six concertos for piano four-hands. Overall, Bindman and Lin harken a world defined by powerful and imaginative nuance.”

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From: Pianist Magazine

“What Bindman and Lin achieve as a dual partnership… is breathtaking in its sheer precision and vitality.… Created well in time before the 300th anniversary of the Brandenburg Concertos, the young talents of the piano world will now dive into what could eventually be standard repertoire for piano duos.”

Donald Hunt
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From: Fanfare Magazine

Bindman’s transcriptions have a clarity and a cleanliness that Reger’s lack, although Bindman’s and Lin’s playing no doubt also is a contributing factor.… I can’t say that I enjoyed hearing this any less than I enjoy hearing Bach’s originals. … I will be interested to see if the appearance of Bindman’s transcriptions in print will attract other musicians.… I think they can help us to hear these familiar works in new ways, and to gain a new understanding of them. For those reasons, I think they are valid, and Bindman and Lin make a great case for them.”

Raymond Tuttle
From: Stretto

Like many of Bach’s cycles, such as the “Goldberg Variations” or the “Wohltemperierte Klavier”, the Brandenburg concerti also form a masterful anthology and demonstration of all imaginable possibilities that were inherent to a particular musical form. Each of these six concertos demands a different combination of soloists among the brass players, the strings, the reed players and the woodwinds, the four groups of the then “Stadtpfeifer”. All this can be heard here on piano, albeit with twenty fingers. … With an equal collaboration between the two instrumentalists, using the full potential of the modern piano, to convey the unique writing and character of each concerto, the six concertos by both pianists Eleanor Bindman and Jenny Lin were arranged ( 1-3-5-6-4-2), that they create a fascinating listening series. Because Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti were never intended to be performed as a continuous series, their order is of little importance. You should not miss this version. It is very original and very, very special. Highly recommended.”

Michael Dutrieue
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From: WFMT Chicago

Eleonor Bindman’s new transcription of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos highlights their polyphony, imagining how Bach might have distributed the score if he had created four-part inventions for piano duet.”

Lisa Flynn's New Release Picks
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From: David Denton

…pianists are going to greatly enjoy Eleonor Bindman’s new piano duo arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Brandenburg Concertos. … excellently recorded and immaculately balanced recordings…”

David Denton
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From: GetClassical

“…an interesting audible vitality of blending and differentiating voices…[Bindman] achieves a full and interesting sounding score… [The Brandenburg Duets] adds greatly to the two-piano repertoire, which thrives as a four-hand performance –no orchestra necessary.”

Ilona Oltuski
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From: Music for Several Instruments

“Eleonor Bindman’s arrangement is outstanding…Bindman and Jenny Lin really lean in to this freedom, swinging when Bach allows, and never staid or boring when things get more thoughtful or academic. … Though she may have started with purely pedagogical reasons for bringing this music to four hands and a piano keyboard… Bindman and Lin are obviously having too much fun here for it to be just that. And that makes it even more pleasurable for us to listen to.”

Dean Frey
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From: Bangor Daily News

Bindman’s playing was at once languid and lyrical, as in the Prelude, and then powerful and moody, as in the Musical Moments. Even the silences were rich with emotion. … Bindman’s playing is art, practiced for years, until it finally becomes internalized, a natural part of the performer. It is true that hearing Bindman play is like hearing a nightingale sing, but what she plays is not the mindless instinctive song of a bird, but the expression of the heart and mind and soul of a human being.”

Helen York
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From: The Staten Island Advance

Gershwin’s Concerto in F featured distinctive playing by piano soloist Eleonor Bindman. She displayed fine technique in those sections of the concerto that required accuracy and strength. Especially delightful was her command of the blues idiom that lies at the core of the second movement, which was to me the highlight of the evening.”

Patrick Gardner
From: The Staten Island Advance

Ms. Bindman received a tremendous response from the audience as she returned for three curtain calls.”

Laura Orella
From: The Poughkeepsie Journal

…a strong pianist who attacks her work with great vitality and emotion. She is extremely expressive and mesmerizes her audience with her flair and technique.”

Barbara Hauptman
From: The New York Times

In Bach’s Partita #6 , her staccato bass lines and singing treble made for a reading that was lively, clear-textured and urbane, with an appealing hint of the harpsichord’s lighter timbre… She conveyed Schumann’s shifting world of tension, humor, gracefulness and fire with impressive clarity of purpose and a full grasp of the music’s spirit.”

Alan Kozinn
From: The New York Times

…Fortunately, this was followed after intermission by some Gershwin transcriptions performed by the concert pianist Eleonor Bindman, whom Mr. Charlap introduced as a high school classmate. Ms. Bindman brought a light precision to “Liza” – which had served as a showcase for the quicksilver brushwork of Mr. Washington in the concert’s first half – and then paired off with Mr. Rosenthal on “Three Preludes for Piano.” From offstage, Mr. Charlap seemed to be reinforcing a silent point: that even the orchestrated Gershwin is jazzy, with syncopation fluttering in the music’s DNA…”

Nate Chinen
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From: The Birmingham News

Ms. Bindman brought a natural flair to her playing of J.S. Bach’s Italian Concerto… A wisdom, appropriate for this exciting piece, came out in Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, with which Ms. Bindman had fun.”

Frederick Kaimann
From: The New Music Connoisseur

…the Breton Ramble, which closed the concert, shows Mr. Hickey’s great interest in Irish music and his skill in taking one or two good ideas, developing them and “choreographing” them into a forceful climax. Only a pianist of exceptional skill and experience can do justice to such a venture and even the already quite accomplished Eleonor Bindman went beyond herself to make this folksy showpiece a brilliant choice for a finale. Ms. Bindman chose to emphasize Dolmen’s rich harmonic palette rather than it’s ghostly outlines, producing a lovely effect.”

Barry L. Cohen
From: Atlanta Audio Society

You will certainly never tire of the recording by Eleonor Bindman [who] cultivates a beautifully centered full tone as she conveys to us the essential character of each of these charming pieces.