J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Goldberg Variations

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Andras Schiff
Individual Works:Goldberg Variations BWV 988
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:ECM
Catalog Number:ECM 1825
Year Released/Recorded:2003
Related Web Site:http://www.ecmrecords.com/ecm/recordings/1825.html
Comments:Jan Hanford said:

Andras Schiff's first recording from 1983 of the Goldberg Variations has always been my favorite performance. I should have known he would be the one to exceed my expectations and record an even greater version. For people who've never heard Bach's music and ask me about an appropriate introduction to it, his earlier recording was my suggestion. Now I will be recommending this one.

His playing is still fluid, subtle, charming, powerful, imaginative, flawless: everything I've always admired in him. But this time it is a concert recording. Amazing! To release a live performance, without the benefit of studio tricks and editing, and have it be on this level of perfection is simply miraculous. He doesn't just play these works, he has become them. His knowledge and intimacy with this music is unmatched. It is an astonishing performance that is one of my favorite recordings of all time.

Peter G. Neaman said:

I have collected recordings of the Goldberg Variations all my life. (Of course, Gould [2], Tureck, Paraiha, etc. Of all of them, this is by far the most astonishingly illuminating. The thinking that went into the differences between the first playing and the repeat along with the overall interpretation of every variation -- and of course the facility and depth of the playing are sublime. (The performance of #26, the "Black Pearl" is the deepest I have ever heard. Finally, and perhaps most telling, this is the only performance I have ever heard where what the crescendo of feeling that has occurred between the initial aria and its repeat at the end (along with extraordinarily poignant differences between the two makes one feel as if all of life has occurred between these two -- Alpha and Omega!

When you hear it, you will recognize how pathetically inadequate are my -- or ANY -- words!

  • Paul G. NeamanFrom the collection of Jan Hanford.
  • Date First Submitted:11/27/2003