Dantone interpretation is easily one of the best I have heard in recent years, and I consider it among the elite harpsichord recordings of the Goldbergs in the catalogs. His interpretations feature a compelling mix of power/energy, rhythmic lift, sharply etched phrasing, poignant refrains, playful episodes, bleak terrains and totally satisfying conversations from Bach's contrapuntal musical lines. I think it is fair to say that Dantone gives us the full measure of Bach's soundworld in excellent sonics that are crisp as well as well as abundantly rich.
In the 21st century, it's easy to take technology for granted and forget that in the time of Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685, d. 1750), there were no cars, busses, airplanes, TVs, radios, movies, tape recorders, electric lights, or computers. People used candles to light their homes, and horses were the fastest way to get around. There were excellent plays and opinionated theater critics to review them, but no cameras to film the actors and actresses. Recording technology had yet to be invented, so the only way to hear classical musicians was to hear them performing live. Although the classical artists of Bach's time could not be recorded, they left behind their compositions, and today's classical musicians continue to keep them alive.
Who needs another recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations? After all, there have been so many great recordings of the work already – Landowska, Kempff, Gould, Pinnock, and Leonhardt, to name a few – that surely no one needs another recording of the Goldberg. Actually, everyone needs another recording of the Goldbergs provided that it's a recording of a great performance. There's too much in the Goldberg – too much brilliance, too much sorrow, too much humor, too much spirituality – for any one performance, even the best performance, to contain all of it. So long as the performance honors the work's honesty, integrity, and virtuosity, there's always room for another Goldberg on the shelf. This 2001 recording by Andras Schiff belongs on any shelf of great Goldbergs. Schiff has everything it takes – the virtuosity; the integrity; and most importantly, the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual honesty – to turn in a great Goldberg. Indeed, Schiff has already done so in his 1982 Decca recording of the work, a lucid and pellucid performance of tremendous beauty and depth. But as good as the 1982 recording was, the 2001 recording is better.
Zhu Xiao-Mei ranks among the greatest pianists of our times and is one of the most renowned interpreters of J. S. Bach’s music. The Goldberg Variations stood at the beginning of her international career and represent the ‘greatest musical encounter’ of her life. “It is a universal piece of music that knows no frontiers”, this is the message of her extraordinary playing which is being celebrated in concert halls around the world. Her unique interpretation has now been captured on DVD for the fi rst time. The live recording was produced at her critically acclaimed concert at the Leipzig Bach Festival 2014 at J. S. Bach’s final resting place in St. Thomas Church. Michel Mollard’s exquisite documentary “The Return is the Movement of Tao” complements the concert recording. Mollard accompanies the pianist on tour as well as to the reclusiveness of the French Alps and offers profound insights to the mind of a fascinating artist and her vision of the Goldberg Variations.
Renowned for her exquisite interpretations of the keyboard masterpieces of Johann Sebastian Bach, Angela Hewitt has recorded several of his works for Hyperion not just once, but twice. Hewitt's 1999 recording of the Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 was enthusiastically received and reinforced her status as a leading artist with the label. This 2015 recording, like her return visit to Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, shows not so much a change in her overall approach but a thoughtful reappraisal of the finer points of touch, ornamentation, articulation, dynamics, timbre, and phrasing, which the space of 16 years has afforded her.
This is the debut album from the recently formed Russian-Finnish ensemble La Compangnie Pochette.” The group is made up of violinist Minna Pensola, violist Antti Tikkanen, and violin da spalls Segey Malov. For this release, they have chosen the Goldberg Variations, some of J. S. Bach’s most famous works. The three musicians have arranged the entire variations for their unique instrumentation, and this is the premiere recording of this arrangement.