J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Goldberg Variations

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Gerard Fallour, Stephen Paulello
Soloists:Gerard Fallour
Stephen Paulello
Individual Works:Goldberg Variations [variations Goldberg] BWV 988
Version for two pianos by Joseph Rheinberger, revised by Max Reger
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Assai
Catalog Number:222062
Year Released/Recorded:2000
Total Playing Time:70:10
Comments:Patrick Vanhoucke said:

This version of the Goldberg Variations is an adaptation for two pianos by Joseph Rheinberger (1883) and re-adapted by Max Reger (1903). Although the Variations were certainly intended to be played on a specific instrument (the harpsichord), this version for two pianos is very energetic and full of emotion.

"... by way of an introduction to his adaptation of Bach's Goldberg Variations for two pianos, Joseph Rheinberger (1839-1901) wrote as follows: 'The Goldberg Variations - an Aria followed by thirty Variations - are among the most important keyboard works Bach wrote. If, up until now, this sublime work has been viewed from a theoretical angle more than played, it is precisely because it was written for a two-manual keyboard instrument, an instrument that has been virtually forgotten for quite some time. May this fervent adaptation for two pianos contribute to familiarising musicians and music-lovers with this gem of authentic Hausmusik." (booklet, p. 10)

For those who know Wilhelm Kempff's recording from 1969 (Deutsche Grammophon 439 978-2): Kempff began his study of the Goldberg Variations with Rheinberger's two-piano version.

Jan Hanford said:

Max Reger's transcriptions of Bach for two pianos are wonderful and I am delighted to recommend this recording. In this case, he has revised and slightly reworked an adaptation made in 1883 by Joseph Rheinberger.

To me, the most interesting aspect of this adaptation is the lack of ornamentation. It is really interesting to hear the aria without trills and mordents. Reduced to its essence, I found it even more lovely. The adaptation by Rheinberger does contain emblishment, rather than just transcribing the variations. I found it appropriate, interesting and, most importantly, very enjoyable. The sound to two pianos is not at all overwhelming and the performance still contains many nuances of interpretation, now shared between these two outstanding performers.

This is a gorgeous recording of a fascinating adaptation and I'm excited to have it in my collection.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Patrick Vanhoucke
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:08/10/2001